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Food and Education

Food and Education

Stepping closer towards our mission

Our Reach Akshaya Patra

The anticipation one feels prior to the arrival of a delicious meal, is unmatched. The joy that follows the sight of a steaming hot meal is even more intense! Isn’t it wonderful that over 1.6 million school children in India get to experience this very joy every day in the form of a nutritious school lunch from Akshaya Patra? As we scale up our efforts to expand across the country, the number of beneficiaries we feed every day is about to rise dramatically too! Thanks to the groundwork laid in 2016, the year 2017 will see us taking a significant leap towards our mission of feeding 5 million children by 2020.

In 2016, we opened our innings in Maharashtra with our first kitchen in the state, in Nagpur.  We also added two more locations to our presence in Andhra Pradesh – Kakinada and Mangalagiri. Towards the end of the year, in December, we laid the Foundation for our first high-tech mega kitchen at Khandi in Telangana. The construction cost of the kitchen will be covered by the Infosys Foundation, which has donated Rs 18.03 crore towards it. This kitchen will feed over 1,00,000 children in the region from the next academic year.

Infograph on Our Reach
Infographic: Akshaya Patra’s reach as of February 2017

We also initiated the process of setting up 11 new kitchens in Uttar Pradesh in the last month of 2016. The groundbreaking ceremony for the same was performed by Honourable Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Shri Akhilesh Yadav, on December 26, 2016 at Lok Bhavan, New Secretariat, Lucknow. Children in the districts of Varanasi, Ghaziabad, Agra, Allahabad, Kanpur, Etawah, Kannauj, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Rampur and Ballia will benefit from our Mid-Day Meal Programme after the establishment of these kitchens. It will expand our reach to 13 lakh beneficiary children in UP from the current 2,11,680.

We are striving hard to expand our reach across the country, where 179.6 million people live below poverty line. We urgently need your support to ensure that children do not suffer dire consequences due to hunger and lack of education. Walk with us on the road to eliminating classroom hunger now. Join the cause by lending your support!

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Food and Education

Give to Receive: feed children and avail tax exemption!

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“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread,” said the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi.

Classroom hunger affects the health and future prospects of school-going children. This is an issue that needs all our collective efforts to be effectively tackled and eliminated. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to feed a hungry child and receive mental and material benefits from the act? We bet it would! Donating to Akshaya Patra not only nourishes the children of the country, it also brings you a sense of great happiness at having done a noble deed and avails you tax exemption!

The receipts acknowledging the donation will be sent to you within 10 days of making the donation – the tax certificate is generated within six days and reaches you within 10 days. The good Samaritans outside of India, who wish to donate to the Foundation need not worry either.

Isn’t it wonderful, this opportunity to bring about a positive impact on the lives of India’s children and feed their dreams? The benefits are reaped not only by the children of this country but by you as well. So, go ahead and contribute to the cause of ‘Unlimited Food for Education’ here!

You can read in greater detail about free donations here.

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Celebrate for a Cause

We, the People of India | Creating a Progressive Future

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The power of the people manifested itself to win India freedom from an oppressive colonial power in 1947 and January 26, 1950, cemented its position in history as a republic. We, the people of India, are the ones who made this Republic; who continue to make this Republic.

Every revolution in the world started with We, the people. The will of the ordinary man fused with that of his/her fellow citizens to form a force. This force, against oppression, against the denial of basic rights, became a movement and permeated the collective conscience of the people. It instigated them to rise in revolt against the forces that kept them from their right to liberty, justice, equality and a decent life.

The preamble of the Constitution of India talks about ‘EQUALITY of status and of opportunity’. One of the important means to ensure this equality is by making education and its fruits available to the children of this great nation, who are brimming with potential. Making this a reality is full of challenges. A study conducted by UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) jointly with Global Education Monitoring Report in 2016, found that 47 million children dropped out of school by Std X. It also revealed that India has the third highest number of out-of-primary school children at 2.9 million, who have never attended school. One of the biggest roadblocks to education in the country is poverty, the study found.

The statistics on school education in India may be worrying, but there is hope on the horizon. The Mid-Day Meal Scheme by the Government of India has helped the cause of education in the country widely. The mid-day meals provided in schools across the country have not only improved the health of children, but also resulted in a greater number of school enrolments. Akshaya Patra works in partnership with the Central and State governments of India to implement its Mid-Day Meal Programme, the largest of its kind in the world operated by an NGO.

With over 1.6 million beneficiaries in 11 Indian states, the Foundation’s ‘Unlimited Food for Education’ philosophy has fed the dreams of numerous children over the years. Its immediate mission is to feed 5 million children by 2020 every day, with a nutritious school lunch cooked in its ISO-certified, state-of-the-art kitchens.

Let your Republic Day celebration this year, be towards the fulfilment of the dreams of India’s young hearts and minds. Help the nation take a leap towards progress by contributing to a bright future lit with success and education.

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Food and Education

Akshaya Patra’s Annual Reports – Setting the benchmark for excellence and creativity

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The recently-released Akshaya Patra Annual Report for 2015-16, titled The Passioneers – Bound By Purpose. Driven By Passion, upholds a long tradition of the Foundation’s creative excellence in financial reporting. For the past few years, the organisation has been winning prestigious international and national awards for its highly creative, theme-based presentation of financials. The report this year takes people behind-the-scenes to paint intimate portraits of the faceless people who make the organisation. It includes engagingly told stories of members from different arms of the Foundation – kitchen staff, drivers, security guards and more, with wonderful graphics and illustrations.

At the 2015 Hermes Creative Awards, Akshaya Patra’s annual report for 2014-15, titled Giving Every Dream A Chance, won Platinum – the highest honour at the awards. The theme for the report was the organisation’s eponymous initiative – Giving Every Dream A Chance, which sought to encourage the dreams of the Foundation’s beneficiaries through month-long mentorships. It included beautiful, surreal, monochrome snapshots of the dreams of three children – Shivu – the aspiring astronomer, Manjula – the debuting actress and Shekar – a chef in the making. These spoke of the starry dreams of these young kids and the joy their mentorships under renowned experts brought them, along with a chance to showcase their newly-learned skills and knowledge.  This report also won Gold at the League of American Communications Professionals LLC (LACP) 2014-15 awards.

The Foundation’s much celebrated annual report for 2013-14, titled The Fab Five Superheroes, presented in comic-book style, told the story of its origins and tales of five of its beneficiaries. These young guns were Badal, Vinayak, Ambika, Munna and Mamatha. This unusual, original and highly imaginative annual report won multiple awards, including an Award of Excellence at the 21st Annual Communicator Awards; Gold at the LACP 2013-14 and a Silver at International ARC Awards. Similarly, the 2012-13 annual report won Gold at the 44th Creativity International Print and Packaging Design Awards. This report was designed as a child’s scrapbook!

Over the years, the Foundation’s award-winning annual reports have become illustrious examples of originality. They are testament to the fact that presenting the yearly highlights and financials of an organisation can be fun, imaginative and push the boundaries, without losing any of their seriousness. The ‘much-awaited’ tag that has been attached to Akshaya Patra’s annual reports is fully deserved! You can read and download the latest annual report right here.

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Food and Education

The Passioneers – Celebrating the passion that drives Akshaya Patra

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The betterment of society is a collective responsibility. Individuals and organisations who have the means to make contributions to worthy social causes, entrust non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to make effective use of these contributions. After the end of the year, the NGO annual report details all the happenings and highlights of the year. It not only gives an insight into the workings of the NGO, but also its financials in intricate detail to ensure that every penny is accounted for and communicated to each stakeholder in the organisation. The report also outlines it short-term and long-term goals, lays out a roadmap for the future and lists its accomplishments and aspirations.

The Akshaya Patra Annual Report for 2015-16, released recently, is based on a unique theme. This year, the report, titled The Passioneers – Bound By Purpose. Driven By Passion, celebrates the dedication and toils of the people working behind-the-scenes – the ones who are the wheels and levers that keep the Foundation’s machinery, both material and metaphorical, working smoothly. These include the kitchen staff, security guards, drivers and various other arms that hold up the Foundation and carry it towards its milestones and missions. The report has a touchingly personal feel to it, as employees recount their personal journeys in the Foundation and how it has empowered them.

The year 2015-16 saw Akshaya Patra celebrating a big milestone – the serving of 2 billion cumulative meals since inception. Also, its Chairman, Shri Madhu Pandit Dasa, was conferred the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award, by the Government of India. The road ahead for the Foundation is one with a clear vision and mission – feeding 5 million children by 2020. The annual report is a tool for all stakeholders to look to the future through Akshaya Patra’s eyes and see it as imagined by the Foundation. It allows them to be a part of this journey, understand the many ways in which it expects to grow and how they can effectively contribute to bring about this growth.

The Passioneers, thus, is not merely a report card of the Foundation. It is also a celebration of the emotional investment and passion that drives the Foundation. Do give it a read here!

 

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Food and Education

Human Rights Day: Dreaming of an equal world

HumanRightsDay

The post-World War II world was one that had learnt many painful and valuable lessons from the mistakes of the past.

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations, in a bid to promote equality and assert the rights of individuals across the globe, adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). To mark this occasion, Human Rights Day is observed around the world.

There are 30 Articles describing the rights that constitute the UDHR – civil,  economic, political, cultural, social – that humanity is entitled to. As its Preamble states, ‘this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education  to promote respect for these rights and freedoms  and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.’

Among the 30 Articles, all of exceeding importance, Article 25 recognises the right to a standard of living that ensures the health and well-being, which includes food, housing, clothing, medical care, among other necessities. This is followed by Article 26, which recognises the right to education. Akshaya Patra, with its philosophy of ‘unlimited food for education’, has been striving to ensure that the children of India aren’t deprived of these rights. Classroom hunger is a menace that keeps children from availing these basic rights and thus, affects their future prospects and hampers the realisation of their aspirations.

With one wholesome, nutritious meal a day, over 1.6 million children across 11 states in India have an incentive to attend school, concentrate in class and dare to dream big. Many among these beneficiaries wish to be IAS officers,  doctors, architects, soldiers, engineers – all due to the promise of one meal that is shared with schoolmates belonging to diverse religious, social and cultural backgrounds. Thus, the Foundation’s mid-day meal initiative also fosters social inclusion.

To join Akshaya Patra in the fight against classroom hunger and secure children with the right to food and education, donate here.

 

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Food and EducationGeneral

Plant-based diets contribute to good health and a greener world

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Millions of children across India are nourished with Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meals every day. These meals are purely vegetarian, including a plethora of vegetables, pulses, legumes and nuts, calibrated to provide adequate amount of nutrition to children. The Foundation’s commitment to vegetarianism stands firm, as the world discovers the many benefits of plant-based diets. These include the obvious health benefits (since the foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins and antioxidants, among other nutrients), along with a positive impact on the environment.

So, what are these benefits that come with consuming food items from the plant kingdom? The base of good health is laid in childhood, with a robust diet and adhering to plant-based eating habits can be richly rewarding. Firstly, a vegetarian diet has been proven to reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. It also aids weight loss and metabolic control. Another significant advantage of including food items sourced from plants is its positive effect on cardiovascular health and prevention, reduction and even reversion of heart disease. Vegetables with high fibre content, along with minerals and vitamins, help prevent the clogging of arteries and reduce stress.

Plant-based diets also score high on the impact they have on the environment. A study published in the science journal Nature by scientists from the University of Minnesota in the United States of America stated that plant-based diets could reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions across the world and lessen the impacts of climate change driven by food production. The Akshaya Patra Foundation recognises this and has always gone the extra mile to be greener – it has undertaken the task of installing biogas plants and solar panels at its kitchens across India, making use of renewable energy to prepare its meals. Additionally, vegetarian diets are more sustainable compared to its alternatives because plant-based agriculture isn’t as resource-intensive as other forms of agriculture.

The world is embracing vegetarianism with renewed vigour and as more benefits of plant-based diets are revealed, it is becoming a movement that gathers momentum with every successive year. Akshaya Patra’s beneficiaries love the tasty, healthy vegetarian fare served by the Foundation, which fuels their dreams each school day. To make sure that they receive these nutritious mid-day meals every day, contribute to the cause of Food for Education here.

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Food and Education

Kaleidoscopic Dreams of Akshaya Patra’s Children

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Children’s Day is approaching and we couldn’t be happier! School Children have been our focus through 16 years of Mid-Day Meal Programme. We welcome you to celebrate Children’s Day with our 1.6 million Akshaya Patra beneficiaries!  

Childhood – a time of innocence, frolic and carefreeness. The realities of life are at a safe distance, as a child’s world is cocooned by elders and unmarred by experience. A day like Children’s Day is a wonderful occasion, devoted to the most celebratory phase of one’s life.  While the colours of childhood are always bright, the land beyond the mountain – adulthood – always holds much fascination to the young mind. Akshaya Patra’s beneficiaries are no different – their kaleidoscope of dreams for the future shining through in varied hues.

Pithali from Assam loves dramatics and dreams of becoming an actress in Assamese movies. Hailing from Khudradadhi, Assam, this lady also wants to travel the world with her family of five, which includes her father, a seasonal mason; her mother, who stitches beautiful mekhela chadars (Assamese garment) and siblings. Then, there is Rohit from Vrindavan, who wants to be a professional Kho-kho player when he grows up. Now that’s an interesting choice!

In a village on the outskirts of Jaipur, there’s Salim, whose father owns a transport business. They use their donkeys to transport construction material and other heavy equipment. Salim wants to take over this family business, so that his father can retire and relax at home, after all, the hard work he has put in over the years. Down South, in Bengaluru, there’s Madan, who wants to serve the country by joining the Indian Administrative Services (IAS). He takes inspiration from the late IAS officer DK Ravi, whose personality and intelligence he ardently admires.

Chetan from Surat, whose family migrated to the city from Amravati in Maharashtra, wants to contribute to cityscapes by becoming an architect and designing tall buildings. Zinkal, from the city of Ahmedabad, wants to be the face of girl power and join the army to defend the nation. This is a dream that her family too has for her, which she wants to fulfil after growing up. She is an avid sportswoman, interested in track and field events like the long jump.

Akshaya Patra’s meals thus fuel the dreams of its beneficiaries. The organisation also took up a special initiative – Giving Every Dream A Chance – to bring a few of its beneficiaries a step closer to their dreams, by launching month-long mentorship programmes for them, under the guidance of experts. As India celebrates the spirit of childhood and all its children this Children’s Day, the Foundation, which only recently celebrated its 16th birthday on November 11, reaffirms its commitment to secure the futures of millions of children across India with unlimited food for education.

Fan the dreams of school children this Children’s Day. Contribute to strengthening their future.

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#BlogToFeedAChildFood and Education

16 years of Unlimited Food for Education

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The Akshaya Patra Foundation turns 16 on November 11, 2016. Through the years of Mid-Day Meal Programme to feed school children in India, the organisation has grown in leaps and bounds; we have built sustainable kitchens, expanded our beneficiary base, extended help during natural disasters, and we will stride towards feeding 5 million children by 2020!

16 years and 16 lakh children!

16 years ago, Akshaya Patra began a journey that would one day become the world’s largest NGO-run feeding programme.

Mid-Day Meal Programme – Unlimited Food for Education, started with a beneficiary base of 1,500 children and today, over 1.6 million children across the length and breadth of India are supported by this initiative. During all these years of transforming the lives of many children through quality food, Akshaya Patra has also created diversified work opportunities for many individuals who plan and execute our programme on a daily basis.

In the last few years, Akshaya Patra has overcome many challenges and continues to grow with support from the government, benevolent donors and well-wishers.  Our school lunch programme is meant to eliminate classroom hunger and encourage children to attend school. However, mid-day meal is more than just an incentive. It fills the gap of having to choose between education and work.

mile-stoneWith the help of donors, Akshaya Patra organises health check-up camps in beneficiary schools, distributes hygiene kits, school shoes, bags and other essentials to children. To ensure effective operations of Mid-Day Meal Programme, the Foundation also conducts training programmes for kitchen and operations staff on a regular basis.

Akshaya Patra’s 16 years of relentless efforts began with determination and compassion. We believe this journey will continue to impact many more children in the coming years. This year, as we complete the serving of 2 Billion Meals, the Foundation acknowledges the outpouring support it has received over the last few years.

Let’s make children our priority and ensure they receive the two most important elements that can define their later years – education and health.

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Celebrate for a CauseFood and Education

Kannada Rajyotsava: What the Day is All About

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For everyone living in Karnataka, the first day of November is a holiday. This day, known as Kannada Rajyotsava, symbolises the birth of Karnataka. In other words, it was the day Karnataka was formed back in 1956. So, how did this occasion come to be?

Here’s a quick look at this historic day and what it is all about.

On November 1, 1956, all the Kannada-speaking states of southern India were amalgamated to form a new state. This entity was originally called Mysore, but the name was too reminiscent of the princely state of yore, which was why the name was changed to ‘Karnataka’ on November 1, 1973.

Kannada Rajyotsava is celebrated with much gusto across the state. The red and yellow colours of the Karnataka flag fill the streets and the flag is hoisted at important locations, while the state anthem, Jaya Bharata Jananiya Tanujate composed by the great poet Kuvempu, is sung. The boundaries of religion, age, caste, gender and income blur, as the state unites to celebrate its formation. The occasion is a tribute to the state of Karnataka and celebrates its glory – from the notable progress it has made, to its ongoing development.

On this day, the State Government confers the Rajyotsava Award upon eminent citizens, who have adorned Karnataka with the jewels of their noteworthy achievements; Akshaya Patra’s Chairman, Shri Madhu Pandit Dasa, received Rajyotsava Award in the year 2003.

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The Akshaya Patra Foundation is delighted to have started its journey in this very state in Bengaluru, in the year 2000, by serving meals to children in five schools in the city. Currently, we provide nutritious mid-day meals to children in five cities across Karnataka – Bengaluru, Hubballi, Mangaluru, Mysuru and Ballari, via its six centralised kitchens.  In Karnataka alone, we feed 5,09,252 children in 2,841 Government and Government-aided schools every day.

On this wonderful occasion of Kannada Rajyotsava, the Foundation thanks the state where it was born and expresses its heartfelt gratitude to the Government of Karnataka for all the support it has extended. It also thanks its numerous donors and corporates, who have generously contributed to its cause of unlimited food for education. Please continue your support by contributing to Akshaya Patra.

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