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Open doors with Akshaya Patra!

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International Disability Day 2015 revolves around the theme, “Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities.” This day seeks to understand the issues related to ‘disability’ and how we humans can muster support for the well-being, rights and most essentially dignity of differently abled people. This year we focus on building an all-inclusive environment and an ever accessible society for differently abled people to fully participate in society just like others.

Often societal attitudes born out of bygone stigma and discrimination brutally impact the lives of people with disabilities forcing their self-confidence to either crumble or perish. We cannot let this happen! Being responsible individuals, it is our duty to understand and encourage people with disabilities. It is upon us to realize that ‘disability’ is also a part of the ‘human condition’ and should not be subjected to any degree of discrimination.

We should collectively endeavour towards building sustainable environs for people with disabilities so that they can empower themselves, realize their full potential and participate equally in all walks of life. In order to achieve this, there is a need for investment. Investment is the only baton to create equal opportunities for people with disabilities in sectors like education, employment, health and nutrition and social protection.

So what are we waiting for when we can donate to add value to their lives? Disability donations are the best way to show that you care for people with disabilities; to show that you too dream of a better world for them! In kind donation too is a great way of reaching help to those for whom mobility and self-sufficiency is a hurdle.

On this International Disability Day, join hands with Akshaya Patra to bring happiness to millions of such children in India who are being denied access to society owing to their disability. Akshaya Patra continually endeavours to help such children who do not have the required means to access education but aspire to study and grow.

Akshaya Patra’s nutritious mid-day meals helps open new avenues for differently abled kids as it attracts them to school and presents them with an opportunity to receive education just like another child. So let’s all support a great cause and donate to charity. Become an agent of change with Akshaya Patra, this International Disability Day.

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Entries are open for Click a Smile 2015!

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Dust off your cameras and get ready to get clicking! Akshaya Patra’s annual photography competition Click a Smile is back! Launched on 20th November, this competition will run till 22nd December 2015. With a line up of judges that will thrill the shutterbug in you, here’s a platform to showcase your passion. Whether it’s capturing something different, or something ordinary in a different way, Click a Smile is your annual opportunity to share your craft with the world.

Our panel of judges featuring Kanick Samuel, Senior Creative Director from JWT Bangalore; Suresh V.B, Professional Photographer and Vicky Roy, Documentary Photographer, are eager to see your work. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an amateur or a professional; all you need to do is send us a beautiful, meaningful picture taken by you of a smiling child (or children) to stand a chance at being selected among the top three winners who will receive a trophy and gift voucher. The top fifty photographs will also be showcased later in Akshaya Patra’s annual photography exhibition with full credit to the artist responsible.

This international contest is open to participants of any age and nationality. We want all of you to take part in this opportunity to spread the joy of a child’s smile with the world. Just send in your pictures in a digital format, with a file size of less than 4 MB, and a minimum resolution of 800 pixels to be eligible. Each contestant can send in a maximum of three photographs.

Last year we saw about 1,400 entries pouring in from nearly 50 countries! Take part in Click a Smile 2015 and help us double that. Together we can take the joy of a child’s smile around the world! To register, click here.

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Come be a part of our 15 year anniversary celebrations!

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We at The Akshaya Patra Foundation are all set to celebrate our 15 year anniversary on 11 November, 2015. Since the very inception of our programme, we have left no stone unturned in our attempt to transform children’s lives in the face of poverty and hunger. In fact, with your support, we’ve grown from feeding 1500 children to nearly 15 lakh in 15 years! We thank you all for your good wishes and encouragement throughout this journey.

In a country where food insecurity exists and education for many is a distant dream; an effective way to bring a child close to the classroom is a tasty healthy meal. Akshaya Patra’s expertise in nutrition and innovative approach is already helping end classroom hunger for school children from 10,845 Government schools, across 10 states in India daily.

Now as we gear up to celebrate our 15 years of existence, we have come up with a fun packed week of activities to mark this special occasion. Every day from November 04 – November 11, 2015 we’re running exciting and engaging activities. Visit our page and be a part of this fun filled experience and share it on your social media too!

Share in this milestone of Akshaya Patra by celebrating with us! View our daily activity here.

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Fundraise to gift a smile

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The Akshaya Patra Foundation provides daily food to some of India’s most vulnerable children who are deprived of education owing to their impoverished conditions. These young ones are forced to work as daily wage earners to make enough money for just a single meal. For them, too often, education just seems a distant dream!

Akshaya Patra’s mission is to feed 5 million children by 2020 and you can help us in achieving this. Fundraise with us and gift a child a smile. Take your first step in making a contribution today to feed a hungry child. You can make a difference in the lives of these underserved children by creating your own fundraising campaign.

Fundraising is not only a philanthropic gesture but it is fun too! These are great community building skills and have a rippling effect. Your gesture can inspire millions and in turn bring Akshaya Patra a step closer to its dream of ending child hunger in India.

We are ever ready at your disposal to facilitate you in creating your own fundraising campaigns. Learn all about various fundraising options from our website and host fundraising campaigns in your community. Write to us at [email protected] for any query of yours. With your help, every child can have access to daily education and nutritious food.

You can also spread the word with our banners or join us online to promote our cause through social media. So act today! Be our companion. Donate, fundraise, learn and share.

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Win against child hunger this Dussehra

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The overarching theme of Dussehra (or Vijaya Dashami as it is also known) is that of victory. According to legend it is celebrated as the victory of good over evil.

Dussehra is still an occasion where one must fight against evil, though the form it takes has changed over time. Today one of the evils we stand as a society to combat is the social ill of child hunger.

In a country which is home to a quarter of all undernourished people worldwide, where nearly 39 per cent of children under the age of five are stunted and 15 per cent in the same age group suffer from wasting, it is crucial that we as a community come together to protect our children.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation works every day to provide a safe, healthy, fulfilling childhood to the youngsters in India. By following its vision that ‘No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger’, Akshaya Patra provides the wholesome mid-day meals to over 1.4 million children every day.

This Dussehra help us achieve victory over classroom hunger by supporting our programme. A contribution from you will mean more children getting healthy every day.

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We’ve launched our Hope Stories website

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Here at Akshaya Patra, we are excited to announce the launch of our new website www.hopestories.in which goes live from today, 14 October, 2015!

The website offers an opportunity for readers to connect with the lives of our beneficiaries, school teachers, principals, parents, organisation staff and many others who have been influenced by our Mid-Day Meal Programme. Hopestories.in therefore features a wide range of stories and snippets featuring these fascinating people, their aspirations and the impact of the programme.

The site also includes short video testimonials of our beneficiaries who speak about their ambitions, the mid-day meal and how it has impacted them. With this assortment of stories, you will be able to journey through the diverse lives of our beneficiaries and learn more about our Mid-Day Meal Programme.

The Hope Stories website is designed to be user friendly and has an attractive navigational panel for visitors to scroll through the stories and also increase your awareness on the Foundation’s support towards its beneficiaries. You can also support this initiative by contributing stories to our page. We invite you to contact us to set up a visit to our beneficiary schools near you to interact with the children, staff and parents, and send in pictures, videos and snippets capturing their stories.

We hope that you will enjoy visiting our website and immersing yourself in its stories. We welcome your valuable feedback so we can continue to improve.

To visit the website click here: www.hopestories.in

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Celebrate Daan Utsav (Joy of Giving Week) 2015!

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Daan Utsav (Joy of Giving Week), India’s ‘Festival of Giving’ is back! Celebrate Daan Utsav 2015 with The Akshaya Patra Foundation by giving underserved children across India the opportunity to receive daily food and education, and transform their lives.

Discover the joy of giving to those in need by ensuring that children do not have to choose between receiving a daily meal and receiving education. And there is very little more joyful than giving children the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

Akshaya Patra’s daily Mid-Day Meal Programme ensures that children have access to at least one nutritious meal a day, and a chance to realise their ambition. This Daan Utsav, go beyond previous years and give! Give a meal, give education, give opportunity and most of all, give hope.

Use this time to spread happiness and hope to young children and their families across India. Contribute to The Akshaya Patra Foundation and play an active role in India’s largest philanthropic event. To donate, click here.

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Celebrate Raksha Bandhan differently

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Raksha Bandhan is a time of shared love and harmony. An auspicious occasion in India, this day is celebrated by millions across the country irrespective of religion, gender or age.

The term Raksha Bandhan in Sanskrit literally means ‘tie or knot of protection’. Traditionally the Rakhi is tied between brothers and sisters to signify a brother’s protection of his sibling.

This Raksha Bandhan, we ask you to extend your love and protection to children in need. Help secure their dreams and aspirations for the future by shielding them from hunger and illiteracy today. Your support can provide them with #BhojanSurakshaBandhan.

Find out more about how you can help provide #BhojanSurakshaBandhan here.

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Jayati’s journey with Akshaya Patra

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Welcome to my summer project blog. I’m Jayati Sharma, a twelfth grader at Basis Scottsdale, a high school in the U.S. After having organised a benefit concert for the organisation, I’m conducting a research project with The Akshaya Patra Foundation, the largest NGO-run mid-day meal program in the world.

My main objective is to learn more about the noble organisation and to find ways to contribute to it further, while also focusing on certain nutritional aspects that make the program so successful.

What you’ll find in my blog posts are my thoughts on my travels: kitchen visits, interactions with schoolchildren, and interviews with a host of individuals working within the organisation. I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I already am and find the cause just as uplifting and inspiring.

To read some of the posts and get a sense of Akshaya Patra’s real-world impact, please visit my blog: Akshaya Patra Summer Project 2015

Jayati

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Me & You Campaign: Helping children help children

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One child can have a huge impact on another child’s life with just a simple donation. Encouraging a child to do something outside the realms of academia in support of another child helps foster a sense of compassion and shapes a grateful attitude towards society. This is what makes the Me & You campaign organised by The Akshaya Patra Foundation inspiring.

The campaign encouraged young children from two international schools in Bengaluru to contribute something to our beneficiary children in Government schools. The campaign drove home the fact that by sacrificing something as small as Rs.63, even children can help feed an Akshaya Patra beneficiary for a month.

The campaign, which has so far run for one month, had youth volunteers from IIM Indore and Flame participating and encouraging students to sacrifice some of their small desires to feed a child. The first phase of the campaign was organised at Primus Public School on June 17, 2015. Volunteers from The International School Bangalore and Chitrakala Parishad joined the second phase of the campaign at Prakriya Public School on July 9, 2015.

The students from the two schools made generous donations, some of them even willing to donate their pocket money towards the cause. The 5th grade students from Primus school collated a generous contribution of Rs.66,000 which will be utilised to feed children in our beneficiary schools.

This generosity displayed at such an early age is heart-warming and will undoubtedly help the students become socially responsible citizens who make giving a regular part of their lives.

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