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Celebrate for a Cause

Celebrate for a Cause

This Dussehra, Let’s Defeat Classroom Hunger

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The festive season has gathered momentum and it is now time to celebrate the victory of good over evil on Dussehra. Also known as Vijayadashami, Dussehra commemorates the victory of Lord Ram over the ten-headed demon king Ravana and of Goddess Durga over the asura Mahishasura.

If there is one lesson that history has taught us, it is that good always trumps evil, eventually. One evil that Akshaya Patra is trying to defeat is that of classroom hunger. Why is classroom hunger an evil, you ask? Here’s why:

Robs children of concentration
An empty stomach is a menace that gnaws at the mind and eats away at its ability to focus. In school, children need a full stomach to be able to pay attention in class and excel in academics. Classroom hunger pangs reduce the ability to concentrate, affecting children’s academic performance. This results in lower scores, affecting the academic along with children, which hampers their long-term educational prospects.

Health Issues – Lack of proper nutrition
Classroom hunger also means skewed nutrition levels of children. A well-balanced diet is of paramount importance, especially during childhood, when the child is in his or her formative years. Lack of proper nutrition and balanced diet during childhood results in health problems and also has long-term effects on the physical, mental and psychological well-being of the kids.

High drop-out rate
Classroom hunger often results in children dropping out of school to assist their families financially. Thus, young children are not only robbed of their childhood, but they are also burdened with responsibilities. A byproduct of this evil is that it encourages gender inequality, as young girls are forced to stay at home since their brothers are thought more deserving of an education. Worse still, they are married off to ease the financial strain on the family.

Behavioral issues
Classroom hunger also frequently results in behavioural issues among children. These include constant irritability and volatile behaviour. Various studies prove that childhood hunger causes anxiety, depression, internalising behaviour and leads to them experiencing more stressful life events. Hunger is also known to lead to issues with self-control and problematic interpersonal skills.

On this auspicious day, let us join hands and fight this evil together. Let us ensure that no child goes hungry; that he or she triumphs in life with good education.

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Celebrate for a Cause

Golden Days of Innocent Childhood Revelries

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Festival season is upon us and joy and merriment are flying thick in the air! Perhaps the pleasures of celebrating festivals are experienced best as a child. Here are five reasons why festival memories of childhood are always etched in gold:

1. Yummy special treats
Festivals mean food. Family members, particularly mothers, labour all day concocting delicious sweetmeats and special treats for the occasion. Meddling in the kitchen as a child is routine, as the tempting aromas waft out. Once prepared, the family gathers to eat together and the spotlight is often on the young ones, as elders gear up to feed the children. Gorging on these delicacies, particularly sweets, without cares like diet-consciousness which creep into the adult psyche over time, is an incomparable feeling!

2. Ganging up with the cousins
Festivals are a time for family get-togethers and this means ganging up with cousins and having a blast with them! Playing all day long with siblings and cousins – be it catch-and-cook, hide-and-seek, hopscotch, or bursting crackers, the carefree revelries add to the magic of childhood. Running around while the elders are busy catching up and having their animated conversations adds to the festive cheer in the house!

3. Receiving gifts
Who doesn’t like receiving gifts? We all do! But receiving gifts as a child is a very, very special affair. Be it that new toy that one coveted, a board game that one has wanted for long, the shiny new shoes or a gift of cash to add to the piggy bank, festival time begets all this! Covered in bright, sparkly gift-wrapping paper, these presents are remembered for a long time to come!

4. Wearing brand new clothes
Festival shopping is an eagerly-awaited event. Heading out with parents for buying brand new clothes is a blissful activity! Sifting through the new stock of clothes to choose what is best causes much distress, but once one finds the perfect frock or a t-shirt that is sure to be the new favourite, the mood turns bright indeed! Wearing these brand new clothes on the day of the festival and clicking a ton of pictures with family and friends cements the wonderful memories in time.

5. Holiday time
One of the best things about festivals is that they bring in the holidays! Whether it is a day’s holiday or a long one of two weeks, festivals mean a break from school. One can sleep for as long as one wants and watch all their favourite cartoons on television. Lazing around, playing games throughout the day, going on a family vacation for a few days – all this is permissible and doable during the festival holidays!

A time for merriment, games, devotion and lots of sweet and savoury treats – festival time is one to make wonderful memories, sharing food and drink with loved ones and getting pampered as a child. You can do your bit to add festive cheer to the lives of children across India and help them feed one wholesome, nutritious meal a day to keep them in school. Donate now!

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Celebrate for a CauseFood and Education

Every Milestone has a Story

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Children embody all that is good and noble about mankind. For a nation to make significant strides, it is imperative that its children are well-educated and well-nourished.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, through its mid-day meal programme for school children, has ensured that millions of children across India are provided with healthy, wholesome mid-day meals, so that children do not drop out of school due to hunger. Recently, the Foundation, which feeds over 1.6 million children across 10 states in India in 13,210 schools, celebrated having served 2 billion meals since its inception, in the presence of Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Honourable President of India.

They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Akshaya Patra’s journey too had humble beginnings in the year 2000, when the organisation started serving mid-day meals to 1,500 children in five schools in Bengaluru. In the years since, the Foundation, in partnership with state and central governments and with the help of generous benefactors, established its presence across the country. It now provides nutritious mid-day meals, cooked in its centralised and decentralised kitchens under extremely hygienic conditions, to school children in 10 states in India – Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Chhattisgarh.

Throughout the years, Akshaya Patra has shown much innovation and has been the topic of numerous case studies. Its state-of-the-art kitchens, many of which are ISO-certified, have also been covered as part of lengthy documentaries by the international media. The year 2012 was a very special one for Akshaya Patra, as it served its 1 billionth meal and was ranked 23rd among the top 100 NGOs in the world, by The Global Journal. In just four years since, the Foundation has reached yet another significant milestone of serving 2 billion meals. The organisation has its goal of feeding 5 million children by 2020 firmly in sight, as it pursues to expand its presence across the country. To view images of President of India commemorating 2 billion meals, click here.

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Celebrate for a CauseEngage With Us

A birthday return gift

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Happy birthday, dear reader!

So where’s the party going to be? We simply love birthdays! There’s such an air of excitement – of the gifts you will receive, the heartfelt wishes that make your day, the big or small bash you’d share with your loved ones – each moment of the day is special. This year, we’d like to make a small suggestion to make your day a little extra special.

Give a return gift to a child who is #HungryForSchool.

There are millions of children in India who do not go to school, as they work to earn their daily meal. At Akshaya Patra, we give them a ticket out of this vicious cycle. We provide them with a hearty lunch at school. Does it work? There has been a spike of 28 per cent in enrolments this year, and it is directly attributed to the food we serve.

So how much does it take to feed a child who is #HungryForSchool? Rs. 750 is enough to feed one child for a whole academic year. We ask you to make a small contribution on your big day, and make a huge difference to a child’s future. This year, have a blast, or have a quiet party, but share a slice of your joy with a child who is #HungryForSchool. Give him/her a return gift of Rs. 750.

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