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Disaster Relief

Disaster Relief

North Karnataka Needs Your Help

karnataka flood relief fund

North Karnataka is hit with very heavy rains and has flooded many places. The Akshaya Patra Foundation, Hubballi-Dharwad is serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner in 48 ‘Ganji-Kendras’ (temporary shelters) for more than 16,000 people who are affected by the floods in Dharwad district.

Akshaya Patra’s food relief service has begun
The Akshaya Patra Foundation has stepped in to provide food to flood affected people in North Karnataka-Dharwad district.
Location of relief work: Dharwad
Start date of relief work: 6 Aug 2019
Number of meals served so far: 2,19,186 meals
Meal menu: Upma, rice, sambhar, kesaribath, pulao, dal, bisibelebath, wheat sweet, and pickle.
Status of relief work: On-going

North karnataka flood

akshaya patra flood relief

Akshaya Patra’s Works During Natural Disasters
Whenever a place is hit by natural disasters like flood or earthquake – within the country or across the borders, Akshaya Patra is always present to provide relief to the affected-people by providing food. Here is a quick overview of Akshaya Patra’s past relief activities:

Assam Flood Relief
Activity period: 17 July 2019 to 3 August 2019
Location of relief work: Several relief camps in Kamrup district
Total meals served: 52,880

Odisha Cyclone Relief
Activity period: 15 May 2019 to 6 June 2019
Location of relief work: Brahmagiri, Satar, Kanas, Gok, and Satyabadi
Total meals served: 1,00,000

Kerala Flood Relief
Activity Period: 13 August 2018 to 30 September 2018
Total Meals Served: More than 1 lakh

Chennai Flood Relief
Activity Period: 8 December 2015 to 25 December 2015
Total Rice-based Meals Served: 2,12,000

Gorakhpur Flood Relief
Activity Period: 25 August 2017 to 8 September 2017

Nepal Earthquake Relief
Akshaya Patra airlifted 1,00,000 meals to earthquake hit Nepal in April 2015. It also established a centralized kitchen in June 2015 to support the affected people of the region. The Earthquake Relief Centralised Kitchen Project was a joint initiative undertaken by Akshaya Patra, Jamsetji Tata Trust, and Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha. The kitchen served 1.4 million meals to the affected people for 88 days.

Gujarat Flood Relief
Activity Period: 25 July 2017 to 30 July 2017
Total Theplas Served: 4,00,000
Areas Covered: Banaskantha District (North Gujarat), Kalol, and Ahmedabad regions.

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Disaster Relief

Red Alert Situation In Assam

guwahati flood relief banner

As many as 4,157 villages across 30 districts of total 33 districts in the state have been submerged. Approximately, 43-lakh people have been affected by the nature’s fury along with inundating 95% of Kaziranga National Park. (NDTV, 16 July 2019).

The Assam Government issued a red alert on 15 July 2019 as the flood situation turned extremely critical with water level rising every hour. This merciless flood has severely affected people, wildlife, infrastructure, and livelihood of the entire state. In this crisis situation, the people of Assam are seeking for your help.

Akshaya Patra’s relief service has begun
The Akshaya Patra Foundation has stepped in to provide food to affected people in Assam from its kitchen in Guwahati. To begin with, the Foundation will provide meals twice a day to approximately 700 people staying in a relief camp in Athgaon area of Kamrup district.

Location of relief work: Athgaon (Kamrup District)
Relief work updates: Akshaya Patra began serving cooked meals from 17 July 2019.
Number of meals served so far: 52,880 meals
Day-wise feeding:
17th July: 1,700 meals (1,000 lunch & 700 dinner)
18th July: 1,200 meals (700 lunch & 500 dinner)
19th July: 2,900 meals (1,500 lunch & 1,400 dinner)
20th July: 3,200 meals (1,300 lunch & 1,900 dinner)
21st July: 2,900 meals (1,900 lunch & 1,000 dinner)
22nd July: 3,200 meals (1,900 lunch & 1,300 dinner)
23rd July: 3,600 meals (1,700 lunch & 1,800 dinner)
24th July: 3,500 meals (1,750 lunch & 1,750 dinner)
25th July: 5,040 meals (2,000 lunch & 3,040 dinner)
26th July: 6,280 meals (3,040 lunch & 3,240 dinner
27th July: 5,930 meals (3,240 lunch & 2,690 dinner)
28th July: 5,500 meals (2,750 lunch & 2,750 dinner)
29th July: 4,580 meals (2,520 lunch & 2,060 dinner)
30th July: 1,150 meals (690 lunch & 460 dinner)
31st July: 760 meals (450 lunch & 310 dinner)
1st August: 460 meals (460 lunch)
2nd August: 490 meals (490 lunch)
3rd August: 490 meals (490 lunch)

Type of meals served: Rice, vegetable pulao, kabuli chana, and mixed vegetable dal for lunch;and khichdi and labra sabji for dinner.

Period of relief work: 17 July 2019 to 3 August 2019.

Few shots from the ground

Guwahati flood

Food being transported to flood-affected area.

Assam flood relief

assam flood relief

Akshaya Patra’s Proactiveness During Natural Disasters
Whenever a place is hit by natural disasters like flood or earthquake – within the country or across the borders, Akshaya Patra is always present to provide relief to the affected-people by providing food. Here is a quick overview of Akshaya Patra’s past relief activities:

Odisha Cyclone Relief
Activity period: 15 May 2019 to 6 June 2019
Location of relief work: Brahmagiri, Satar, Kanas, Gok, and Satyabadi
Total meals served: 1,00,000

Kerala Flood Relief
Activity Period: 13 August 2018 to 30 September 2018
Total Meals Served: More than 1 lakh

Chennai Flood Relief
Activity Period: 8 December 2015 to 25 December 2015
Total Rice-based Meals Served: 2,12,000

Gorakhpur Flood Relief
Activity Period: 25 August 2017 to 8 September 2017
Total Rice-based Meals Served: 84,200
Total Theplas Served: 1,92,000

Nepal Earthquake Relief
Akshaya Patra airlifted 1,00,000 meals to earthquake hit Nepal in April 2015. It also established a centralized kitchen in June 2015 to support the affected people of the region. The Earthquake Relief Centralised Kitchen Project was a joint initiative undertaken by Akshaya Patra, Jamsetji Tata Trust, and Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha. The kitchen served 1.4 million meals to the affected people for 88 days.

Gujarat Flood Relief
Activity Period: 25 July 2017 to 30 July 2017
Total Theplas Served: 4,00,000
Areas Covered: Banaskantha District (North Gujarat), Kalol, and Ahmedabad regions.

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Disaster Relief

Akshaya Patra Serving Food To Cyclone-Hit People In Odisha

odisha cyclone

Fani, one of the strongest and rarest cyclones in the Bay of Bengal hit eastern India on 3 May 2019 affecting Odisha the most. Heed to early warnings, effective disaster management strategy, and quick response indeed curbed the extent of damage. An estimated 1.2 million people were evacuated from the coastal areas in Odisha keeping loss of life and number of affected people to a minimum. Yet, the high velocity winds of 175 kmph coupled with heavy rainfall left the region in a state of destruction damaging infrastructure, power supply lines and uprooting innumerable trees. The aftermath of the merciless cyclone Fani was witnessed in Akshaya Patra’s Puri kitchen too.

Relief work by Akshaya Patra
It’s time now to recover from the damage caused by the cyclone. Akshaya Patra has stepped in the relief work by providing cooked meals to cyclone-affected people of Odisha. The Foundation is providing these meals from its kitchen in Bhubaneswar.

Location of relief work: Brahmagiri, Satar, Kanas, Satyabadi, Puri and other 130 locations.
Start date of relief work: 15 May 2019
Total Meals Served: 56,250 meals 
Meal menu: Rice, dal, and khatta (a tomato-based chutney).

cyclone fani

Know more: https://www.akshayapatra.org/photo-gallery/akshaya-patras-relief-operations-in-cyclone-hit-odisha

Rebuilding Puri kitchen
Cyclone Fani has caused huge infrastructural damage to Akshaya Patra’s Puri kitchen. This centralised kitchen serves nutritious school meals every day to 46,904 children studying in 598 Government schools. Hence, the Foundation looks forward to making the Puri kitchen operational at the earliest so that it can restart providing the much-needed school meals to children.

Akshaya Patra’s Past Disaster Relief Activities
The core cause of Akshaya Patra is to implement the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. However, Akshaya Patra is always actively involved in disaster relief services by providing food to affected people. Here is a quick overview of Akshaya Patra’s past relief activities:

Kerala Flood Relief
Activity Period: 13 August 2018 to 30 September 2018
Total Meals Served: More than 1 lakh

Chennai Flood Relief
Activity Period: 8 December 2015 to 25 December 2015
Total Rice-based Meals Served: 2,12,000

Gorakhpur Flood Relief
Activity Period: 25 August 2017 to 8 September 2017
Total Rice-based Meals Served: 84,200
Total Theplas Served: 1,92,000

Nepal Earthquake Relief
Akshaya Patra airlifted 1,00,000 meals to earthquake hit Nepal in April 2015. It also established a centralized kitchen in June 2015 to support the affected people of the region. The Earthquake Relief Centralised Kitchen Project was a joint initiative undertaken by Akshaya Patra, Jamsetji Tata Trust, and Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha. The kitchen served 1.4 million meals to the affected people for 88 days.

Gujarat Flood Relief
Activity Period: 25 July 2017 to 30 July 2017
Total Theplas Served: 4,00,000
Areas Covered: Banaskantha District (North Gujarat), Kalol, and Ahmedabad regions.

Support Akshaya Patra
Join in the relief operations by donating to Akshaya Patra. Your donation will be extremely helpful in providing food to cyclone-affected people in Odisha and in rebuilding the kitchen in Puri.

 

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Disaster Relief

Akshaya Patra serving food to flood-affected people in Kerala

Akshaya Patra Flood Relief

At the moment, Kerala is reeling under its worst flood since 1924. The torrential rains and landslides that hit the state of Kerala has ravaged the entire state since 8 August 2018, submerging many cities and villages thereby crippling normal life and services. Reportedly, around 10 districts have been severely affected and the entire state has been put under high alert. While the state is receiving help from the entire nation to deal with this unprecedented crisis, The Akshaya Patra Foundation has also stepped in actively in the relief work by providing cooked meals in flood-affected areas.

Know more: www.akshayapatra.org/news/akshaya-patra-distributes-food-for-people-at-kuttanad

More images from the scene: www.akshayapatra.org/photo-gallery/akshaya-patras-flood-relief-service-in-kerala

Relief work by Akshaya Patra

Location of relief work: Alleppey and Chengannur
Relief team: A team of 27 Akshaya Patra employees along with four distribution vehicles and ingredients to cook 25,000 meals had departed from Bengaluru as an immediate relief response. Everyday, additional ingredients including chapatis, drinking water are being sent from Bengaluru to support the operations at Alleppey.

Relief work updates: Akshaya Patra began serving cooked meals from 13 August 2018.

15 August 2018 – Shri S. Suhas, District Collector of Allapuzha came to visit the makeshift kitchen from where Akshaya Patra is preparing and distributing food to people.

District Collector of Allapuzha

On 18 August 2018, Akshaya Patra dispatched three trucks from Bengaluru loaded with food packets and water bottles to Kerala. The NGO dispatched:

• More than 77,000 chapatis,
730 packs of fruit bread,
10, 872 water bottles (500 ml each), and
5,400 water bottles (1 litre each).

Food loaded truck

Water bottles

20 August 2018 – Additional cooking equipment such as stoves, vegetable cutting machines along with groceries were delivered to Kerala relief team to scale up operations.

25 August 2018 – To mark the tradition of Kerala, Akshaya Patra served Onam special dishes including rice, sambar, palya, and sweet pongal.

28 August 2018 – Shri Kodikkunnil Suresh, MP, visited Akshaya Patra’s makeshift kitchen at the Narasimha Temple in Chengannur.

29 August 2018 – AIKYA volunteers have begun the cleaning up process in government schools and beaches in the flood-affected Alleppey district. AIKYA is the volunteering wing of Akshaya Patra.

Number of meals served:
Akshaya Patra is serving approximately 7,000 – 10,000 meals on a daily basis to the affected people inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The food is being prepared at two makeshift kitchens – Alleppey and Chengannur.

Serving the meals

So far, Akshaya Patra has served more than 2-lakh meals in the Alapuzha region.

Type of meals served: Most of the dishes are prepared in coconut oil to suit the local palate. Dishes like boiled rice and sambar, vegetable pulao, tomato rice, upma, chapati and curry are served in the affected district.

Delivery of meals: Akshaya Patra team with the help of four distribution vehicles are delivering meals to the affected people of Alapuzha.

Food delivery van

In areas where vehicles can steer through, cooked food is being delivered to people in Akshaya Patra delivery vans.

Reaching through water

The areas where the rising water level has restricted vehicle movement, food is being transported in boats.

Akshaya Patra relief center

Some people also come to the temporary kitchen arrangement to get their meals.

Status of the relief work: On-going

The feeding cost of the relief efforts amounts to Rs. 3-lakh per day. We request your generous support in helping us reach out to more survivors.

Support us: Donate to Kerala Flood Relief

Reinstating Homes and Government Schools

As the flood water is receding, Akshaya Patra has begun reinstating homes and government schools with the support of Youth Volunteers from 28 August 2018. The first batch of 25 volunteers have left for Edathua Village, Alleppey followed by another batch for Thakazhi Village with all necessary equipment’s like pressure gun, mask, gloves, safety shoes, wiper, mop, soap solution, bleaching powder etc.

Bags distribution

Akshaya Patra also intends to provide education material to children of this region. The Foundation has already received the first request from Angamaly District MLA for 6,000 school bags, 57,000 note books and 6,000 instrument boxes to distribute to the school children in the flood affected areas.

We request your kind financial support for distributing school bags, notebooks, instrument boxes, cleaning equipment and materials, and restoring school building including blackboards, electrical and other fittings. Your generous support will go a long way in bringing back flood-affected families back to their homes and children to schools.

Read about: Akshaya Patra’s relief effort in Coorg


Akshaya Patra’s Proactiveness During Natural Disasters

Whenever a place is hit by natural disasters like flood or earthquake – within the country or across the borders, Akshaya Patra is always present to provide relief to the affected-people by providing food. Here is a quick overview of Akshaya Patra’s past relief activities:

Gorakhpur Flood Relief

Activity Period: 25th August 2017 to 8th September 2017
Total Rice Based Meals Served: 84,200
Total Theplas Served: 1,92,000

Click here to know more.

Gujarat Flood Relief

Activity Period: 25th July, 2017 to 30th July, 2017
Total Theplas Served: 4,00,000
Areas Covered: Banaskantha District (North Gujarat), Kalol and Ahmedabad regions.

Click here to know more.

Chennai Flood Relief

Activity Period: 8th December 2015 to 25th December 2015
Total Rice Based Meals Served: 2,12,000

Click here to know more.

Nepal Earthquake Relief

Akshaya Patra airlifted 1,00,000 meals to earthquake hit Nepal in April 2015. It also established a centralized kitchen in June 2015 to support the affected people of the region. The Earthquake Relief Centralised Kitchen Project was a joint initiative undertaken by Akshaya Patra, Jamsetji Tata Trust, and Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha. The kitchen served 1.4 million meals to the affected people for 88 days. Click here to know more.

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Disaster Relief

Akshaya Patra serving food to flood-affected people in Coorg

Coorg Flood Relief Effort

The lush green hill district and one of the main tourist attractions of Karnataka, Kodagu, popularly referred to as Coorg, is in a devastating state this monsoon. The merciless rains and unprecedented landslides have wreaked havoc in the entire district claiming lives and livelihoods, destroying homes and civic amenities, swallowing villages, rendering thousands of residents homeless, and altering the landscape with newly formed meandering courses of rivers and streams.

As rescue and relief services are pouring in to help the affected people, The Akshaya Patra Foundation has also stepped in actively in the relief work by providing cooked meals to affected people in Coorg.

More images from the scene: Flood Relief Effort in Coorg

Location of relief work: Kushalnagar, Madikeri
Relief workers: A team of Akshaya Patra employees are actively involved in providing food to the people.
Period of relief work: Akshaya Patra began serving cooked meals from Monday afternoon i.e. 20 August 2018
Meals served: From two make shift kitchens in Kushalnagar and Madikeri, Akshaya Patra is serving the meals on a daily basis to the affected people inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Distributing the food

Type of meals served: Dishes like upma, puliyogere, pulao, and rice and sambar are being served in the affected district.

Delivery of meals: The Akshaya Patra’s team with the help of distribution vehicles are delivering meals to the affected people of Coorg.

Status of the relief work: On-going

Read about: Akshaya Patra’s relief effort in Kerala

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Disaster Relief

Gorakhpur Flood Survivors Receive Over 1 Lakh Meals from Akshaya Patra

Gorakhpur Flood Relief

DM appreciates Akshaya Patra for the tireless efforts of the team in serving over 1 lakh meals

appriciation letter

The Akshaya Patra Foundation was part of the relief efforts in flood-hit Gorakhpur city and its neighbouring towns and villages in Uttar Pradesh. Akshaya Patra’s employees from Bengaluru and Lucknow, worked tirelessly on the ground. they have served over one lakh meals to the survivors between August 26 and September 5, 2017.

kitchen on wheels

Customised Mobile Kitchen

This was made possible with the help of Kitchen on Wheels – a customised mobile vehicle designed by Akshaya Patra. The vehicle was stationed in Gorakhpur since August 26, 2017. It began with serving 5,000 meals on the first day. By September 5, over one lakh meals were distributed in and around the city.

The survivors were served Vegetable Pulao, Peas Pulao and Masala Rice and Theplas. The food is packed individually in disposable aluminum foil containers and sent to them.

food_delivering

Distributing Food and Water

Many villages have submerged in water. The local authorities took help of boats to reach them. The nearest village which is submerged is 9 km away and it takes about 50 minutes to reach there. Apart from these, some more villages like Chauri Chaura, Sahjanwa, Maharajganj, Barhalganj, Campierganj, Sarhari, Nausar have also been affected.

The Kitchen on Wheels has been instrumental in helping Akshaya Patra reach survivors. With the help of kitchen staff from Lucknow and Vrindavan kitchens, the Foundation has been supplying freshly-cooked meals prepared in multiple cycles.

The transportation time for cooked food has reduced with the help of a mobile kitchen. The kitchen staff worked from 4 am in the morning and the process went on till at 10 pm. The initiative and food quality have been appreciated by the survivors. The increasing number of meals consumed every day are proof of this.

As we worked tirelessly to ensure that every survivor gets a full-stomach meal, volunteers from National Cadet Corps, National Service Scheme, local hospitals and hotels, and some localities helped us in the endeavour.

The efforts put in by the Akshaya Patra team were appreciated by the District Magistrate.

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Disaster Relief

Flood relief initiative – We’re serving meals in Chennai!

chennai-flood-relief

Read regular updates on our flood relief measures in Chennai. Scroll down to begin!

14 Dec 2015:IMG_8215

Today our kitchen set-up at Arambakkam served 6,000 packets of Puliyogare for lunch and dinner each. Our kitchen at Thiruvanmiyur  also served 6,000 meals at Kilpauk, Saidapet, Vyasarpadi, Vadapalani, Kalipatti, Porur and Paiyanoor.IMG_8286IMG_8426IMG_8324

13 Dec 2015:

IMG_8463

Today our feeding initiative at Arambakkam served 6,000 packets of Puliyogare for lunch and dinner, while our kitchen at Thiruvanmiyur served 10,000 meals too. The Thiruvanmiyur  kitchen served meals at Triplicane, Manali, Padur, Anna Nagar, Old Perungalathur, Vyasarpadi, Pammal and Porur.IMG_8484IMG_8480IMG_8493

12 Dec 2015:

IMG-20151214-WA0002

We have started a second feeding initiative in Arambakkam, with support from Sri Siddhanta Foundation, SocialPedia and D G Vaishnav College. Today we served 5,000 packets of Puliyogare (500 gm) for both lunch and dinner. Our other kitchen at Thiruvanmiyur, which started cooking at midnight served 9,000 meals today, and 10,000 meals yesterday.

10 Dec 2015:

IMG-20151210-WA0006

IMG-20151210-WA00072,600 packets of food was served yesterday at our kitchen in Thiruvanmiyur. Today there are 100 volunteers and we expect to serve between 7000-8000 packets. The cooking started at 7.30 am and is underway.

There are plans underway to open a second kitchen to provide food. Purchasing of supplies for the second branch of cooking has already begun.

09 Dec 2015:

Sweet BunOn 04, 05 and 08 December, trucks left for Cuddalore. These trucks were carrying dry food like fruit bread, chikki, chapatti packets, peanuts, candy etc. So far the Cuddalore efforts have distributed 35,000 packets of food. Today the aim is to distribute 10,000 ready to eat packets of food, and the same was distributed yesterday.IMG_8112
On 08 December, trucks left from HK Hill kitchen to our kitchen in Thiruvanmiyur at Chennai. The materials reached at 10.30 am the next day. By 11.45 am the team had already cooked dal for 2,000 people.
There are currently 25 volunteers and 4 Akshaya Patra employees at the site, more are expected tomorrow.

05 Dec 2015:

In the face of the floods that have rocked the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu, citizens of the state and the rest of India have banded together in a show of unity that is inspiring. Relief material and volunteers have been pouring into the city to provide aid to those in need.

We, at the Akshaya Patra Foundation, too are eager to do our part in supporting Chennai, and alleviating the distress in the region. To this effect, our team has been serving freshly cooked meals every day with the aim of increasing the reach to 10,000 meals a day. The team will continue serving even beyond that based on the need of the hour.

The cooking procedure is being carried out through the efforts of a team of 10-30 people, working as required for the successful implementation of this initiative. The team has been equipped with utensils and cooking equipment from the Bengaluru unit, with raw materials, packing material, housekeeping and fuel supplies being sent regularly to Chennai till arrangements can be made to procure it from within the city.

To increase the reach of the meals in the city, our Karnataka unit is sending five Akshaya Patra vehicles carrying vessels in the coming week to Chennai. On assessment of the relief needs, supplies will be replenished, additional man power will be mobilised and equipment transported.

We are happy to be able to provide support to Chennai during these difficult times, and assist in reducing the difficulties facing the citizens of the city. We express our heartfelt solidarity to everyone in Chennai affected by this calamity.

If you would like to support our efforts in Chennai, make a contribution. You can avail tax exemption under Section 80 G of the Income Tax Act on all donations.

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Disaster Relief

A Journey of Perseverance – Part 5

A-Journey-Of-Perseverance

In the final part of this interview series, R Madan Chief Projects Officer of The Akshaya Patra Foundation summarises his experience at the Earthquake Relief Centralised Kitchen in Nepal, and contemplates the future. Read the previous section of the interview here.

Tell us about the collaboration between Tata Trusts and Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha.

As I said both Tata Trusts and Akshaya Patra didn’t have a mandate to operate in Nepal, but Sipradian Motors who have an NGO arm called Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha (SSS) have a great presence in the region. Their help was crucial to paving the way for the project to run smoothly. The collaboration between the three of these organisations (Akshaya Patra, Tata Trusts and SSS) went off well. Now if we get the opportunity to start something in Nepal, Sipradian can be our ready partner.

IMG_2433Can we look forward to such collaborations in future?

Yes, we do see more collaboration with them. Nepal doesn’t have a Mid-Day Meal Programme, so the implementation of such programmes will be helpful to the people.

What are the high points of your experience?

One of the high points was that we were able to play a part in reducing the distress of the people. With their daily food taken care of, they could take focus on reconstruction.

We stood true to our word and earned the goodwill of the people.

 

 P.S – The Nepal kitchen closed operations as planned on September 17, 2015 after serving 1.4 million meals across 88 days in the region. The Akshaya Patra Foundation thanks everyone involved in making this initiative a success.

 

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Disaster Relief

A Journey of Perseverance – Part 4

A-Journey-Of-Perseverance

In the fourth of our five part interview with R Madan, Chief Projects Officer at The Akshaya Patra Foundation, we are given insight into the success of the Earthquake Relief Centralised Kitchen initiative in Nepal. Read the previous section of the interview here.

What is the feedback from the beneficiaries about the food and running of the programme?

When we were there, the head of Tata Trusts and I visited the camps. We were surprised to be greeted by the entire camp. All the children were dancing and singing in their traditional clothes. They were very appreciative towards us.

blog4-image1The icing of the cake was what a lady said, which I think was written in the papers also. She said it’s not just about Akshaya Patra serving food. The initiative has brought people together at the camps too. It has created a social gathering because they all sit around where the food is being served. When we were serving the food, that one hour in the morning and evening became a social gathering where they could forget their troubles and look forward to something brighter. This for me was the greatest takeaway.

How many places/camps has Akshaya Patra been feeding in Nepal?

On an average we are feeding 12 to 14 camps. But the number of camps keeps varying from time to time because some of them are shutting down. The closest camp was around 3 kilometres while the furthest was around 45 kilometres.

Can you tell us about the additional benefits of the kitchen, like providing employment and income?

nepal-ladies-finalMore than income, it was a more of fostering cooperation between us and the people of Nepal.

Unlike in India, where we have three meals a day, Nepal is a little different because they rely on two big meals for the full day. Their morning meal was a big meal. During the afternoon they don’t usually eat followed by another big meal at around 6.30-7.30 in the evening.

But the issue was that people there were not willing to come to work before 7am. When we visited the camp, we asked a few ladies to join us at the kitchen. Initially they were little hesitant about coming early. We convinced them that we would pick them up and provide them with breakfast, after which they agreed to work in the kitchen. When we gave them these assurances, we had around 25 women coming to work for us.

blog4-image4Even more surprising was when their first month was over and we were giving them their salary, they refused to take it. They said they were indebted towards Akshaya Patra for their service, but we made sure they take their salary. That for me was a great feeling.

The Nepal Ambassador also visited the kitchen and the best thing he said in his concluding remark was till now the friendship between India and Nepal has been at a Governmental level. But this is one programme that had direct contact with the people. He also said he will go all out to help Akshaya Patra establish its operations in Nepal. This was a great statement made by him.

 Part V on 24 September…

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Disaster Relief

A journey of Perseverance – Part 3

A-Journey-Of-Perseverance

In the third section of this five part series, R Madan Chief Projects Officer at The Akshaya Patra Foundation describes the challenges the team faced in the initial days of facilitating the set up of the Earthquake Relief Centralised Kitchen in Nepal. Read Part 1 and Part 2 too!

Can you tell us about the initial challenges you faced? How did you overcome these challenges?

Our CSS (Central Strategic Sourcing) Head and our Project head went to Nepal and scouted the area to see where the kitchen could be established. Initially, we thought everything was destroyed there but we got the good news that some buildings are intact. We inspected a few wedding halls where we thought we could host the kitchen. We also had to check the supply lines because roads had also been damaged in the earthquakes, however they were fine and the roads were being fixed. This service was completely being done by India.

blog-3We zeroed in on one marriage hall which was around 2,500 square feet. The area didn’t have a wall around it. But we planned and moved like a battalion to get the kitchen operational at the earliest. We built a wall around the kitchen and finished the entire job of fixing the kitchen in three days flat.

The people of Nepal didn’t know the concept of centralised kitchen. What they were used to was a langar type of kitchen. Even when we asked the vendors for 3 tonnes of rice, they were taken aback. It was not just the people but even our collaborators, Tata Trusts and Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha couldn’t believe it. When people started visiting the kitchen, then they realised the scale of our operations.

blog-3-2Initially we followed a North Indian menu for the people. But we got a lot of negative feedback in the first two days with regards to the food. We were taken aback and needed to find out the reason as soon as possible. Luckily I met a person who could speak a little Hindi. We asked him to translate and find out why was there a negative feedback about the food.

The people said they didn’t have a problem with the quality of food and it’s very tasty. The main issue was with the certain types of vegetables and dal being used. In Hindu tradition when you are in mourning certain vegetables – for example pumpkin, brinjal and masoor dal – cannot be consumed. It was a lack of knowledge but also a great learning experience at that time. They also had a problem with the rice we were serving. That day I called the Chef who worked at the hotel where we were staying. He was a Nepali who worked in India. I asked him to help us out with the rice. He wanted to see the rice so I gave him a sample.

He cooked him in his style and said that this is the correct rice to be served. And there was no looking back from there.

Part IV on 23 September…

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