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Food and Education

Food and Education

Akshaya Patra – One of the Pioneer Mid-day Meal NGOs in India

middaymeal ngo in india

An act of giving brings unmatchable happiness in our lives. The Akshaya Patra Foundation feeds more than a million children on a daily basis; the smile on these children’s faces say a million words that spell THANK YOU. Uphold dreams of children who are willing to dream big and small. With your donation, you ensure that a child’s year is filled with healthy school meals.

The art of shaping one’s future lies in one’s own hands. But what if they are children who are depending on elders to support them in achieving their dreams? There are many organisations that provide support to children. One such NGO in India is The Akshaya Patra Foundation. Here is a story of one dream that is being nurtured.

Afroz is a student of class 7 studying in Ballari, Karnataka. He inherits his father’s genes to love nature. His father taught him to stay centred, have patience, and create balance. From then, he decided to be a successful businessman so that he can earn lots of money and take up his father’s pottery business on an even greater scale.

Regular school meals provided by Akshaya Patra has helped Afroz in concentrating better in class. Mid-day meals help him stay healthy to focus on achieving his dreams of becoming a businessman.

India runs the largest Mid-Day Meal Programme and The Akshaya Patra Foundation is recognised as the world’s largest NGO-run school meal programme. By implementing the Mid-Day Meals Scheme, it started off by feeding 1,500 children in Bengaluru, Karnataka. Today it feeds a total of 18,00,907 children studying in 19,039 Government schools and Government-aided schools. Akshaya Patra is spread over 52 locations in 12 States and 2 Union Territories in India.

How is Akshaya Patra different from other mid-day meal NGOs?
The Akshaya Patra Foundation prepares and serves school meals from centralised kitchens situated in 50 locations and decentralised kitchens situated in two locations by giving foremost priority to hygiene and cleanliness.

You can get a list of kitchens serving mid-day meals in each State, here.

Both the type of kitchens adhere to Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS guidelines) that include:
• Selection process for raw material supplier
• Standard storage and allotment system
• Steam sterilisation of cooking equipment and utensils
• Usage of 304 grade stainless steel vessels and utensils
• Training of cooks and supervisors to ensure food safety and undertaking pest control measures
• Checking critical points like cooking temperature, temperature while packing meals, etc.

By showing your support to implement the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in many other schools with Akshaya Patra, you give hope to children’s dreams.

Wondering how?
With every donation, you feed children with a year full of healthy and wholesome meals. By doing so, you take care of their overall development – both physical and cognitive. With a donation of ₹3300, you ensure that three children get daily school lunch for one academic year. If these children do not have to think of where their next meal will come from, they will be able to focus better in class and score higher in their academics.

The thought of having changed lives in some way or the other, brings immense joy and satisfaction. The happiness on seeing children’s smiling faces supersedes any other emotion.

You do not have to wait for the right time to make your donation. All you have to do is donate towards Akshaya Patra to provide unlimited food for education to young children.
This will enable millions of children progress towards their dreams.

Children are small, but not their aspirations.
Dreams bring smiles.
How many smiles would you like to support today?

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Food and Education

State of the Art Kitchens of Akshaya Patra

Akshaya patra kitchens

The Akshaya Patra Foundation serves mid-day meals to children studying in Government schools and Government-aided schools. It provides healthy school meals to 18,00,907 children across 52 locations of 12 states & 2 union territories of India. These meals are a great intervention to bring children to school every day. The Foundation constantly works towards feeding many more children. You can be a part of the Akshaya Patra family by contributing ₹1100 towards a child’s entire year’s school lunch.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is registered under the Indian Trusts Act as a non-governmental organisation. It implements Government of India’s Mid-Day Meal Programme and operates on a Public-Private Partnership model. With persistent support from the Government of India, the State Governments, corporate donors, individual donors and volunteers, Akshaya Patra has grown from feeding 1,500 school children in Bengaluru to feeding 18,00,907 school children in India, on an everyday basis, in a span of 20 years.

How does Akshaya Patra feed so many children daily?
The Akshaya Patra Foundation operates the Mid-Day Meal Scheme across 52 locations of the nation in 19,039 Government schools and Government aided schools with high-technology adaptation being the modus operandi of a successful feeding strategy. The kitchens where meals are cooked on a large scale, adapt to the industrial technology available.

Akshaya Patra prepares and serves mid-day meals to children who have a challenging socio-economic background, from two types of kitchens: Centralised and Decentralised. No matter what type of kitchen it is operating, hygiene and quality are given utmost importance. These kitchens adhere to Food Safety Management Systems that include:
• Raw material supplier selection process
• Standard storage and allotment system
• Sterilisation of cooking equipment and utensils with steam before use
• Usage of 304 grade stainless steel for all the vessels
• Conducting training sessions with cooks and supervisors to ensure food safety and undertaking pest control measures
• Checking critical points like cooking temperature, temperature while packing meals, etc.

Centralised kitchens
A centralised kitchen manages all operations from one location. This includes the processes of receiving, storage, maintenance, preparation and delivery. These kitchens are located at urban and semi-urban location, preferably to feed a cluster of surrounding schools. These kitchens are designed to cook meals on a large scale, ranging from 50,000 to 1,50,000 every single day. These kitchens use state-of-the-art tools and technology in preparation of meals.

There are 50 Akshaya Patra kitchens that are centralised in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Daman & DNH, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Odisha, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh.

You can get a list of kitchens serving mid-day meals in each State, here.

These kitchens make use of cauldrons, trolleys, chutes, dal/sambar tanks, knives and cutting boards. These highly mechanised units ensure highest levels of hygiene by reducing human contact.

Rice cauldrons have a capacity of cooking 500 litres, a dal cauldron has a capacity of preparing 1,200 to 3,000 litres of dal or sambar. The roti making machine can make around 40,000 chapathis in 1 hour.

After thorough quality inspection and meeting the requirements adapted from Food Safety Standards Act 2006 (FSSA),20 kitchens are ISO 22000:2005 certified and the remaining are in the process of getting an ISO certification.

Decentralised kitchens
Decentralised kitchens are set up in locations that have bad connectivity and are in remote areas where the geographical terrain makes it difficult to set up a large infrastructure. There are two decentralised kitchens of Akshaya Patra – one in Nayagarh (Odisha) and the other is in Baran (Rajasthan). All the kitchen process and operations are supervised and monitored by Akshaya Patra’s Quality Officers and supervisors.

Akshaya Patra hires and trains women from Self Help Groups (SHG) to cook nutritious and healthy food. Along with preparation of mid-day meals, the NGO also helps in providing employment opportunities to women. The Baran kitchen serves 161 schools and Nayagarh kitchen reaches out to 319 schools.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation has a vision of feeding 5 million school children by 2025. It is possible to serve these children with healthy and nutritious food on a daily basis with regular contributions and donations from generous donors like you.

With your help Akshaya Patra can serve the children of India.

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Rajasthani Menu served in Akshaya Patra’s Rajasthan Kitchens

rajasthan kitchens

Akshaya Patra is a not-for-profit organization serving mid-day meals on a daily basis to around two lakh children studying in Government and Government-aided schools in Rajasthan. The NGO has been operational in the state since 2004 and currently feeds 2,31,187 children studying in 4,428 schools. These children are fed mid-day meals that are prepared from 10 kitchens situated in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Nathdwara, Ajmer, Baran, Bhilwara, Jhalawar, Bikaner, Udaipur, and Chittorgarh.

How would you like to be deserted in a land surrounded by palaces, forts and museums, and rich heritage? Overwhelming isn’t it? Palaces and forts ring only one bell in our minds – Rajasthan, the princely state of India.
In stark contrast to this beautiful side of the state, there prevails some concerning facts too!

Did you know? Rajasthan has
• A literacy rate of only 66%.
• The 3rd lowest literacy rate nationwide.
• Is one of the BIMARU states.

Is there a way in which you can work to make the scenario better? Is there any NGO in Rajasthan that you could associate yourself with?

Of course!

In every sphere of life, in every situation, there is a scope for betterment. This is why the Government of India started the Mid-Day Meal Scheme.

What is mid-day meal? How does it impact education?
There are millions and millions of children who belong to challenging socio-economic backgrounds. Hence, it is difficult for them to eat one square meal a day. The Akshaya Patra Foundation started the implementing the Mid-Day Meal Programme so that school children get the right nutrition for their development and are able to concentrate better in their school. Mid-day meals act as a catalyst in bringing children to school.

What is Akshaya Patra?
The Akshaya Patra Foundation is the largest implementer of the Mid-Day Meal Programme in India. The seed of this idea was sown with a vision that ‘No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger.’

Today, the organization feeds 1.8 million children spread across 52 locations in 12 States and 2 Union Territories in India.

With Rajasthan trying to battle the school drop-out rate, this was an initiative that was welcomed with open arms. The Foundation started its first kitchen in Rajasthan in the year 2004. Today, this charity nourishes 2,31,187 children across the state on each school day.

Advent in Rajasthan
In the year 2004, a centralised kitchen was started in Jaipur. From the day of inception, it has been continuously feeding school children who come from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Today, it feeds mid-day meals to school children studying in 4,428 Government and Government-aided schools.

The Foundation works for the cause ‘Food for Education’ of children across the nation and in 10 locations of Rajasthan:

akshaya patra kitchens

The first and foremost priority in any kitchen is hygiene and cleanliness. Akshaya Patra operates from both centralised and decentralised kitchens which adhere strictly to the norms laid out as per the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The Nathdwara, Jaipur and Ajmer kitchens are ISO: 22000:2005 certified. The rest of the kitchens in Rajasthan are following the suite.

What does the meal contain?
Mid-day meals are prepared keeping in mind the recommended dietary norms for children have to get while maintaining a hygienic environment. As pulses, grains and vegetables enhance growth of children, Akshaya Patra includes them in the daily school meals of children. Rice and dal are prepared in large cauldrons that are cooked and transported in high grade Stainless Steel.

The kitchens in Rajasthan serve locally palatable meals that children would enjoy eating in their schools. The kitchen follows a cyclic menu so that there is a variety in each day’s meal but contains adequate nutrients too. Some of the menu items served in Rajasthan are:midday meal ngo

Apart from the raw materials that go into preparation of mid-day meals, there is lots of love and care that is packed into these meals. Soon these meals will reverse the current literacy scenario of the state and empower children with health, education and confidence to achieve, turning Rajasthan into a truly royal state.

Wouldn’t you like to contribute in the making of a royal state?

Support generously. A contribution of ?1100 will feed a child on every school day for 1 year.

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Food and Education

Role of Akshaya Patra in Delhi

Sponsor mid-day meals in delhi ngo

Many of us remember how hungry we felt during our class hours. The hunger pangs would instil a frustration that we could not show it out anywhere or on anyone. Our parents would coax us to eat a healthy breakfast before we started to school, but our chirpy little mind would not listen to them or think that we could get hungry very soon. But. Today as grown up adults, we thank our parents for packing extra food in our lunch boxes – this would fill our stomachs and we would still have energy stored in our bodies that would help us stay alert in class and play in the school ground till either our parents or someone picked us up. Thinking about how fortunate we were?

There are children who are lesser fortunate than us whose parents find it difficult to even feed them with 1 square meal a day. These people and children belong from challenging socio-economic backgrounds who need some support to feed their children. This is why there are many NGOs that provide services to help such people lead a regular life without having to go through many difficulties.

NGO Collage of small school children smiling

One such NGO in Delhi is The Akshaya Patra Foundation that works for the cause of Food for Education of children. It has been working towards this cause since 2000. It started by feeding 1500 children and has grown exponentially to feed 18,02,517 children. It implements the Mid-Day Meal Programme and serves to 16,856 schools spread across 12 States and 2 Union Territories in India.

How does the Akshaya Patra, Delhi unit help school children?

The Akshaya Patra Foundation serves mid-day meals to school children that are wholesome and high in nutritional content. Each location serves local cuisine that is palatable to children. The Delhi kitchen of the Foundation serves ajwain puri, aloo chole, rice, kadhi, jeera rice, rajma kadhi, cookies, fruits and many more in a cyclical order where the menu changes every month. This way the kitchen ensures that children enjoy their meals without having to eat the same food every single day.

The use of nutrient-rich ingredients that make the mid-day meal wholesome include whole wheat, legumes, green leaves, vegetables, fresh fruits and more. These nutritious ingredients help in improving concentration abilities of children, improve their immunity, increase brain functions and help them stay full for a longer duration.

Ngo in delhi - A child holding a clean full meal plate

How can you help children with the Mid-Day Meal Programme?

You can help children when you donate to NGOs like Akshaya Patra which is the largest implementer of the MDM Programme in India. By donating towards feeding them with healthy and wholesome meals, you are contributing toward their overall development that includes physical and cognitive development. Apart from adding goodwill to your action, you can also save on taxes under section 80G of the Income Tax Act 1961.

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Food and Education

Fulfil dreams with midday meals

midday meal for children

Let us come together to donate for a cause. Partner with Akshaya Patra to feed mid-day meals to school children and make them attentive in their schools. This in turn will help us pave way for the future generation of young adults who strive to achieve their dreams. Donate to the Foundation and help so that healthy meals reach many more school children.

Have you heard of the saying ‘The most valuable things don’t cost any money?’ This only establishes the fact that small things bring joy in every individual’s life. Little things like meeting your long lost friend, sipping on a hot cup of coffee while it is raining, getting a gift from your loved one when you are least expecting it, getting a plate of hot food when it is cold outside and many such things add in great joy in our mundane lives. Small things matter because they have the potency to bring smiles that reach the corner of our eyes.

Have you seen pictures that depict stories of children playing in school grounds with broken bats and ruffled shuttles? No matter what the situation they were in, their smiles said it all – they were happy. How would you feel if you were to become a source of their happiness?

Yes! You can bring in joy into their lives. The role of NGOs is to work towards various causes related to children, women, senior citizens, their health, education, environment, and more.

One such organisation is The Akshaya Patra Foundation that has been working constantly with the vision that ‘no child should be deprived of education due to hunger’ for the last 19 years. It started implementing the Mid-Day Meal Programme in Government and Government-aided schools across India. It feeds school children with nutritious and healthy meals so that food becomes a catalyst to encourage children to go to school.

Millions of children are out-of-school at the moment. All they wish for is a miracle that can take them to school; for they know only education can pave way to reach the goals their tender hearts hold. At such a juncture the school meals act no less than a miracle. These meals are an incentive for families belonging to challenging socio-economic backgrounds to send their children to school Invoking the humane side in us, let us work together to bring children to school by providing them the much-needed meals and make them future ready to achieve their dreams and goals. You can partner with Akshaya Patra and help nourish 1.8 million+ children with healthy and wholesome food on every school day.

You can donate online for the cause of food and education and prepare an intelligent army, group of architectures, doctors, teachers, astronauts and entrepreneurs. You not only gain satisfaction out of performing a selfless act, you also get tax exemption certificate instantly as the Foundation is registered under Section 80G of Income Tax Act.

Engulf yourself with the warmth of contentment that you made a child smile.
Join hands to feed & fulfill dreams of school children.

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Celebrate for a Cause

Dedicate This Kannada Rajyotsava for the Children of the State!

kannada rajyotsava

 Akshaya Patra wishes everyone a very happy Kannada Rajyotsava!

Every year, 1st November is celebrated as Kannada Rajyotsava, the day that the state of Karnataka was formed. On this day, in 1956 all the Kannada speaking areas of South India were merged into a new state. The state was initially called Mysore, but this was considered too reminiscent of the old princely regiment, and the name was changed to Karnataka on 1st November 1973.

Karnataka Rajyotsava is celebrated across the entire state with much enthusiasm. The state is dotted with red and yellow as the Karnataka flag is hoisted at all important locations, and the state anthem is sung. The beauty of this day is that it is enjoyed with much excitement across all age groups, religion and gender, making it a truly wholesome and inclusive celebration.

Kannada Rajyotsava is really a day to pay tribute to the state of Karnataka, celebrate its progress and work for its continued development. Local citizens honour the good Samaritans of the society as the State Government bestows the Rajyotsava Awards on people who have contributed significantly for the development of the state.

Akshaya Patra in Karnataka
Karnataka is the birthplace of The Akshaya Patra Foundation. Way back in 2000, the Foundation began its mission of providing ‘unlimited food for education’ to 1,500 children in five Government schools of Bengaluru. Today, Akshaya Patra supports education of 18,02,517 children in 16,856 Government and Government-aided schools across 51 locations of 12 States and 2 Union Territories of India by providing nutritious meals on each school day.

In Karnataka, Akshaya Patra provides nutritious meals to 4,02,695 children studying in 2,887 Government schools and Government-aided schools. The Foundation has seven kitchens located across the state: H.K. Hill (Bengaluru), V.K. Hill (Bengaluru), Jigani (Bengaluru), Ballari, Hubballi, Mangaluru, and Mysuru. H.K. Hill and V.K. Hill kitchens are ISO 22000:2005 certified; and the Ballari and Hubballi kitchens are ISO 22000:2005, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 certified. The kitchens in Mangaluru, Mysuru, and Jigani are in the process of certification. In addition to implementing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, Akshaya Patra is implementing the Government of Karnataka’s Ksheera Bhagya Scheme too.

All the kitchens follow a cyclic menu thereby enhancing the nutritional component and taste of the served meals. The overall meal menu comprises of plain rice, ghee rice, khichdi, bisibelebath, khara pongal, vegetable biryani, toor dal sambar, mixed pulse sambar, dal fry, gram dal sambar, chana dal sambar, mixed sambar, moong chilk sambar, beetroot kabuli chana sabji, mixed vegetable sabji, hayagriva, daliya sweet pongal, sweet pumpkin payasam, moong dal payasam, jaggery sweet payasam, fried groundnut, and curd.

Watch Akshaya Patra Children Stories:

Way Forward
Akshaya Patra wholeheartedly acknowledges the incredible support it has been receiving from the State Government, donors, and well-wishers during its journey of 18 years. While the Foundation has been providing ‘unlimited food for education’ to the current beneficiaries, there are thousands of more children waiting for wholesome meals. And, so that it can continue to serve the children, it appeals to all for continued support. Your one moment of contributing online donation will ensure that children receive their much-needed daily school meals.

Dedicate this Kannada Rajyotsava for the children of the state.
Prepare them for the future by supporting their food and education today.

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Food and Education

This Hunger Action Month, Fill a Plate to Fulfil a Dream

hunger action month

September – a month dedicated to fight against hunger crisis is also known as
‘Hunger Action Month.’ All September long, Akshaya Patra runs an annual campaign
focusing on awareness and encouraging people to end classroom hunger
by donating mid-day meals for children in India.

Life can’t be full on an empty stomach! This Hunger Action Month, we wish that all children in India could have a fulfilling life – studying, playing, and enjoying healthy meals with their friends at school.

Let’s hear from Jinal, a Standard III student from Ambaypura Primary School, Pratapura, Gujarat and one of the Akshaya Patra beneficiaries, to know how one mid-day meal on every school day helps her to pursue education and strengthens her aspiration to become a teacher.

stories of children

Little Jinal is a lively girl who always has the brightest smile on her face. It’s difficult for one to know that Jinal lost her parents and is staying with 2 younger siblings at their extended family. Facing obstacles at such a young age, Jinal still tries her best at school and is inspired to become a teacher in the future. Every day, Jinal enjoys Akshaya Patra’s school lunch with her friends. She especially likes rice and dal a lot! This wholesome mid-day meal is the only one she has and it motivates Jinal to study and continue to work towards making her dream come true.

Akshaya Patra’s efforts:
The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an Indian NGO based in Bengaluru, Karnataka. The NGO has been the implementing partner of the Government of India’s Mid-Day Meal Scheme since 2000. It provides free, nutritious, wholesome mid-day meals to schoolchildren. Present in 12 states of India, The Akshaya Patra Foundation feeds 1.76 million children in 16,788 Government and Government-aided schools on every school day.

We understand that with an empty stomach, children cannot concentrate on their studies and school activities, which hinders their ability to learn, grow, and develop. Thus, every September Akshaya Patra holds its annual Hunger Action Month campaign to raise awareness and encourage participation of the society to help eliminate classroom hunger.

You can help us:
You can help millions of children like Jinal from challenging backgrounds to follow their dreams by sponsoring their mid-day meals in the Hunger Action Month. One wholesome and freshly-cooked meal can provide children with nutrition and energy to study and take part in school activities. Parents will also be more confident to send their children to schools.

Your donations will not only fill children’s plate but also their hopes and dreams

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Food and Education

Take Action to Empower Every Child With Literacy!

literacy day banner

International Literacy Day is observed on 8 September every year. It presents a platform for various Governments, societies and stakeholders to advocate for and highlight improvements in literacy rates, internationally. It also reflects on the prevailing literacy challenges. UN’s Sustainable Development Goals also include the concern of literacy. Sustainable Development Goal 4 talks about ensuring that all young people achieve access to education and numeracy and those adults who lack these skills are given the opportunity to acquire them.

Theme of 2019: Literacy and Multilingualism

“Our world is rich and diverse with about 7,000 living languages. These languages are instruments for communication, engagement in lifelong learning, and participation in society and the world of work. They are also closely linked with distinctive identities, cultures, worldviews, and knowledge systems. Embracing linguistic diversity in education and literacy development is therefore a key part of developing inclusive societies that respect “diversity” and “difference,” upholding human dignity.” – Audrey Azoulay, Director General, Message on the occasion of the International Literacy Day
Source: https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/literacyday

The focus of International Literacy Day 2019 revolves around ‘Literacy and Multilingualism.’ Regardless of progress made, literacy challenges continue, spread unevenly through different countries and its population. Considering linguistic diversity in education, literacy improvement is essential to address these literacy challenges.

By implementing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, The Akshaya Patra Foundation (a Non-Profit Organization, headquartered in Bengaluru) works diligently to make sure that children receive their daily school meals thereby supporting their schooling and ambitions. By providing nutritious mid-day meals, Akshaya Patra addresses their need for nutrition and education. Irrespective of the cultural and linguistic diversity, by implementing this programme, Akshaya Patra has witnessed children achieving success by being young gymnasts, runners, police officers, doctors, professors, chefs, dancers and much more. Hence, we feel ‘food for education’ promotes the power of literacy. Join us.

HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?

Sponsor a child
By sponsoring a child at Akshaya Patra (a charity in India) you help the child to get an access to education and healthy mid-day meals on all school days. On this International Literacy Day, we encourage you to support our cause and help us to increase our impact across India.

Volunteer
Register yourself as an online fundraising volunteer. Every amount raised will go to provide the much-needed mid-day meals to the schoolchildren. Donate online.

Share on Social Media
Be a social media ambassador for Akshaya Patra on various social media platforms. In this digitally connected era, all of us spend some time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms. Why not dedicate some time for a noble cause?

• Tweet and re-tweet about Akshaya Patra for #InternationalLiteracyDay
• Follow us on Facebook
• Engage with us on Instagram

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Food and Education

Akshaya Patra Observes National Nutrition Month, Initiates Pledge to Nourish Campaign

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The Akshaya Patra Foundation has actively joined the National Nutrition Month by initiating the ‘Pledge to Nourish’ campaign. It is an outreach campaign to create awareness and garner support from the mass to ensure nutritious food for children of the country. It is a signature campaign where citizens are being encouraged to sign a pledge card to not waste food, support the under-served people by providing food to them, and spreading the message in their network of associates. The signed pledges will be sent to the Prime Minister’s Office to express the collective commitment of the mass thereby requesting the Honourable Prime Minister to take up the topic ‘ensuring access to nutrition for all’ in his upcoming ‘Mann ki Baat’ segment.

This campaign has received significant support from all sections of the society including student and teacher’s community from schools and colleges, general public, corporates, bureaucrats, and political leaders. Shri Jai Ram Thakur, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh; Shri Trivendra Singh Rawat, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand; Shri Vasudev Devnani, Education Minister of Rajasthan; Shri Arvind Pandey, Education Minister of Uttarakhand; Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, Padma Shree Awardee; Shri Mohit Anand, Managing Director, Kellogg’s India & South Asia; and Smt. Nikhiya Shamsher, National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement 2017 & Diana Legacy Award Winner, along with several other prominent personalities have extended their support to the campaign by signing the pledge. So far, 15,000 signed cards have been sent to the Prime Minister’s Office, and the Foundation is striving to reach out to more supporters.

The success of this campaign will directly impact the health and nutrition levels of children across the country. And, it will also make India a contributing nation towards achieving United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals of Zero Hunger, and Good Health and Well-Being. Be a part of this nation-wide campaign and support food and nutrition of young citizens. Take the ‘Pledge to Nourish’ today. Your pledge will be instrumental in nourishing millions of children and preparing them to be healthy, responsible, and resourceful heirs of the nation. Make this a successful campaign by clicking IPledgetoNourish now. Your support is crucial.

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Food and Education

Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Millets

Millets and its nutritional value

Young or old – each of us look good and feel good when we are healthy and fit. And, at the root of it is how are we providing nourishment to the body. No doubt, food provides nutrition to us but at the same time it is also necessary to eat the right food. Heeding to this, the National Nutrition Week is observed annually across India from 1 September to 7 September. Being a theme-based initiative, each year it focusses on one aspect of food, nutrition, and health. The theme for 2018 is ‘Go Further with Food’ with the objective to explore and wisely choose nutritious food options from the nature.

Though all kinds of food provide nutrition at various levels, millets are the most underrated of them all. However, recent studies on nutritional value of millets have compelled the decision makers and business community to promote millets as a mainstream food item. Termed as Smart Food and Super Food, millets have multiple benefits and can largely contribute to nutrition security of people. Here, we will explore the nutritional value and health benefits of few millets:

Ragi

Ragi – Also known as Finger millet, Ragi is considered as a good replacement for rice and wheat. It is a storehouse of proteins and amino acids while also being rich source of calcium and other minerals. Including ragi in diet can be beneficial for controlling diabetes.

Bajra

Bajra – Also known as Pearl millet, Bajra is referred to as a miracle millet. It is not only rich in protein, fibre, calcium, and magnesium, but its iron content is eight times higher than that of rice. Making bajra a part of your meal will constipation and digestion issues at bay.

Jowar

Jowar – Also known as Sorghum, Jowar is a rich in calcium and also is a good source of protein, iron, and fibre. Adding jowar to your diet will reduce cholesterol levels and can potentially promote weight loss too.

Foxtail-millet

Foxtail millet – This millet is rich in dietary fibre and essential minerals like iron and copper. Interestingly, it contains smart carbohydrates that hinders sudden rise in blood sugar level. It also promotes immunity and reduces levels of bad cholesterol.

Barnyard-millet

Barnyard millet – The nutritional content of this millet makes it one of the must items in our diet. It is a rich source of antioxidants and essential minerals like calcium and phosphorus contributing to body building. It is high in fibre and contains six times more fibre than wheat that helps to maintain satiety thereby making it an ideal millet for weight loss.

Kodo-millet

Kodo millet – It is an easy to digest millet rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals that help fight lifestyle-related health issues. It has been found helpful in reducing joint pains and regularising menstrual cycle in women.

Little-millet

Little millet – Contrary to its name, this millet is a rich source of B- vitamins and essential minerals such as ion, calcium, zinc, potassium and the like. It has fibre content and also provides essential fat to the body, the kind that helps to maintain body weight.

In general, millets have several health benefits.

Millet benefits

Akshaya Patra’s introduces millets in mid-day meal

Millets in mid-day meal

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a mid-day meal NGO in India with a beneficiary base of 17.6-lakh children across 38 locations of 12 states in India has been in the service of providing nutritious meals to school children since 2000. As a next step to increase nutritional value in the meals the NGO has begun a pilot in partnership with Government of Karnataka with ICRISAT (International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics) as the knowledge partner to include millet-based dishes in the mid-day meal menu. Based on the success of the pilot, the NGO will begin serving millet-based dishes to a greater number of children.

Conclusion

Well, as we conclude our series on National Nutrition Week, we urge for your active involvement in providing nutrition-rich meals to children. You can either choose to conduct a fundraising campaign for the Foundation or you can also support by choosing to donate to end hunger. Your contribution will be optimally utilised to provide healthy and wholesome meals to children across India. And, not to forget, by nourishing children you will become a supporting pillar for a healthy, educated, and a prosperous nation!


Part 1Nutritional and medicinal values of vegetables

Part 2Nutritional and medicinal values of fruits

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