In this five part interview series R Madan, Chief Projects Officer at The Akshaya Patra Foundation, shares his experiences setting up the Earthquake Relief Centralised Kitchen in Nepal. Find out about the daily challenges and triumphs he and the team faced on their journey to provide daily, nutritious food in the earthquake affected region.
Can you tell us how the kitchen reached the one million mark? How long did it take from day 1?
When the earthquake happened on April 24th in Nepal, we got a call from the TATA Trusts CEO and he asked us what we could do to help. I suggested we set up a kitchen. Earlier we were airlifting supplies but that was a limited option. So I checked with the vendors to see if we could readily acquire equipment for a project like this.
We began pulling material from Bengaluru, Valsad, Lucknow and Pune. All our vendors cooperated with us when they heard what we were trying to do. Our team went to Nepal and at the border we then took the help of TATA motors to help us with transportation of the material and Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha to clear the material through customs.
Both TATA Trusts and Akshaya Patra don’t have a mandate to operate there but TATA Trusts utilised the help of Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha, which has a strong presence in Nepal, for the project.
To help kick start the operations, a few of our executives from Bangalore, Lucknow and Vrindavan were sent to Nepal. We also hired a few people from Madurai on contract, who were specialised in disaster management.
After working incessantly for weeks, on the afternoon of June 18th, our truck reached there and on June 19th, we send out the first meals.
From that day till today, we have covered over 1 million meals in Nepal.
Part II on 21 September…