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Food and Education

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 12 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 Education

The Humble Khichdi Takes Centre Stage

Nutrients in Khichdi

At the World Food India 2017, an expo for food processing industry held recently in New Delhi saw the humble Khichdi take centre stage. A team of about 50 people led by celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor and supervised the night-long preparations and yoga guru Ramdev Baba put the crowning ‘tadka’ in the dish at the event.

Khichdi, a superfood

Khichdi, might not be a favourite of everyone, but it is a solution to those depending on food supplements as it is rich in all the nutrients. It meets all the requirements in the efforts of the government to Feed the Children.

A World Record to Boot

Promoting khichdi as a ‘Brand India food’ is a good step towards promoting the healthy superfood not only in the domestic, but also in the international market.

At the World Food India 2017, India set a Guinness world record by cooking 918 kg khichdi.

Preparing kichadi

Khichdi was steam-cooked in a giant wok. The entire preparation measured 1,200 kg. Out of this, the wok alone weighed 343 kg. The dish was prepared using multi-grains like rice, pulses, coarse cereals and vegetables.

The minimum requirement to create a world-record was 500 kg. The cooked dish, however, weighed more than the target of around 800 kg set by Chef Sanjeev Kapoor.

Other leading chefs, including Imtiaz Qureshi, Ranveer Brar, Sudhir Sibal, Rakesh Sethi, Akshay Nayyar, Satish Gowda, too helped in the cooking the dish.

It is a wholesome food as it contains most of the nutrients. It also symbolises the country’s unity in diversity.

The khichdi was distributed to orphans by the Akshaya Patra Foundation and a Gurudwara.

Taking Indian superfoods abroad

Move over blue berries, kale, salmon, soya bean etc. While international foods are promoted in India, be it soya bean or others, it is our opportunity to showcase our superfoods to the world.

The new-age Indian chefs are innovating this dish across the world. It has been given an interesting shape these days with the taste suiting requirement of the region.

The mega Khichdi preparation was part of the ‘Great Indian Food Street’ at the global event, being organised along with industry body CII, that features traditional food from more than 20 states.

It took over three months of planning and multiple trials in attempting 800 kg of Khichdi . The dish and recipe will be popularised by Indian foreign missions and the Government to ensure it is part of restaurants and kitchens around the world.

Importance of Khichdi

The study by the Gurgaon-based Food Analysis and Research Laboratory has found that a 300 g pack of ready-to-eat khichdi from Akshaya Patra would give 94.81 kcal per 100 g and 100 g would have 3.10 g of protein.

With Children’s Day to be celebrated on November 14, the dish will yet again be in the limelight when it will reinforce the commitment to provide high quality nutritious food to schoolchildren.

The Mid-Day Meal Guidelines set by Government prescribes the following nutritional content to achieve the objectives of the Scheme in the mid-day meal:Nutrition table

Khichdi ingredientsThe Khichdi alone in the Mid-Day Meals of Akshaya Patra is able to provide a significant portion of the nutritional needs of the children and helps fight Hidden Hunger. Donate to Akshaya Patra to feed the children with nutritious food.

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Celebrate for a CauseFood and Education

What and Why of Kannada Rajyotsava

Kannada Rajyotsava

Karnataka turns 61! And for The Akshaya Patra Foundation, Karnataka is the birthplace of Food for Education initiative.

How many of us in Karnataka have marked out November 1st on our holiday calendar, planning getaways and lazy breakfasts, secure in the knowledge that it’s a public holiday? We know what it is – It’s Kannada Rajyotsava! – And we know when it is, but do we know what it signifies?

Here’s a quick look at what Kannada Rajyotsava is all about.

November 1st is 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.

Kannada Rajyotsava is celebrated very enthusiastically all over the state. The state is dotted with Red and Yellow as the Karnataka flag is hoisted at important locations, and the state anthem is sung. The beauty of this day is that it is enjoyed with as much excitement across age groups, religion, gender and income, making it a truly wholesome and inclusive celebration.

Local citizens also get to honour the good samaritans of society as the State Government bestows the Rajyotsava awards on people who have contributed in a noteworthy way to the development of the state.

Kannada Rajyotsava is really a day to pay tribute to the state of Karnataka, celebrate its progress and work to its continued development. This can be done in many ways according to your individual capabilities.

For The Akshaya Patra Foundation it was by providing a means to solve classroom hunger in the state. Today, across six kitchens in the state (at H.K. Hill Bengaluru; Vasanthapura, Bengaluru; Ballari; Hubballi; Mangaluru and Mysuru) we reach out to 4,86,172 children in 2,968 Government and Government-aided schools every day. While we supply food for education to these children from our highly specialised, centralised kitchens, we know there are thousands more in need of our help.

But we wouldn’t have made it this far in Karnataka without the support of our donors and corporates, but most importantly the Government of Karnataka. For us Kannada Rajyotsava is not just a public holiday, it’s a time to honour this state, the birthplace of our Foundation.

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Food and Education

World Food Day 2017: Elevating the cause of food security and a well-nourished future

World Food Day

A basic necessity – food, sadly, is instead a luxury to millions of people across the world. The World Food Day, commemorated on October 16, to mark the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in the year 1945, raises awareness about critical issues pertaining to hunger and poverty, placing a great emphasis on food security through its themes, which differ every year. In 2017, the theme for the day is ‘Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development’.

Food security is a concern for people across the world, particularly in conflict zones. Poverty-stricken population in developing countries are susceptible to food insecurity. Political instability and food insecurity form a mutually-sustaining loop that is difficult to break, leading to an endless cycle of poverty, malnutrition and hunger.

In India, food insecurity, coupled with issues like hidden hunger (micronutrient deficiency), complicate matters further. In August this year, news reports suggested that the Central Government had advised State Governments to ensure mandatory fortification of food items like wheat, edible oil and salt in mid-day meals for school children. Statistics of the 4th National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) revealed that in nine of India’s States and Union Territories, less than one-third children were stunted, while in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Meghalaya, more than 40% of children were found to be so. Over 50% of the children are anemic in 10 of the states and Union Territories.

Akshaya Patra is doing much to battle hidden hunger, because the right kind of nutrition is as important as food security for the population. In Karnataka, 4,45,698 children in 2,665 Government schools benefit from the Foundation’s school lunch which includes rice fortified with 7 micronutrients; these include folic acid, vitamin B12 and iron. Projects such as these, when implemented across India and the world, go a long way in helping the cause of nourishment-for-all and take the world a few steps closer to the dream of a secure future.

This World Food Day, let’s come together to ensure that every school-going child is well-fed and educated. Feed them today!

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Celebrate for a CauseFood and Education

Gifts from the Heart: Joy of Giving Week 2017

Joy of giving 2017

Giving. The word holds much power. It denotes overcoming a very human instinct – that of wanting to possess. This week, India celebrates the biggest philanthropic event – Daan Utsav (Joy of Giving Week 2017) – to encourage, recognise and applaud the spirit of generosity.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation would like to thank our generous donors for all the contributions they have made to us in the past and hope we continue to receive your support. While giving is often equated with cash or gifts, one need not always part with material wealth or possessions as an act of generosity and kindness. There are some gifts that hold enormous value and are touchingly personal in nature. Here are some of them:

Time
Time is valuable, irreplaceable commodity. Devote some time to people in need of your attentions, affections, advice or comfort. In a world that is rushing past quicker by the millisecond, with careers and aspirations taking the front seats when it comes to priorities, stopping by to give someone your time is a wonderful thing. Once gone, a moment is lost forever, so make the most of the chances you have today to make a gift of your time.

Patience
Patience is a virtue. It is precious because it isn’t intrinsic, but needs to be cultivated. One of the biggest reliefs is when someone is patient with your flaws and shortcomings. Making an active effort to be patient, with oneself and with others, is a gift that not only brings success in the long run, but also contentment and happiness to oneself and others.

Empathy
To judge another is easy. It takes little mind and heart to do that. To empathise, though, is entirely difficult. Putting oneself in the shoes of another, understanding their motivations and empathising with them, even though one doesn’t agree, is a courageous thing to do. Much hatred and bigotry in the world comes from lack of empathy, so this is one gift that could be the key to a kinder future.

Trust
The events that dominate public consciousness by means of news and information are largely negative in nature. In such times, trust doesn’t come easily. Being able to offer one’s trust to a fellow human being also means putting oneself in a vulnerable position. Those who take the risk and trust others, convey to people that they really care and are willing to go the extra mile for them.

Love
Iconic musical outfit, The Beatles, hit the right note when they sang, All You Need Is Love. The antidote to strife, violence, selfishness and despair most certainly is love. The biggest gift one can give to another is that of unconditional love. It leaps beyond the boundaries of time, distance, caste, creed, nationality, beliefs and religion and to create a magical experience for those giving, as well as those receiving it.

As India celebrates the spirit of philanthropy with Daan Utsav 2017, we wish you avail the joys of giving by donating the material resources at your disposal, along with your time, patience, empathy, trust and love and spread the light!

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Discussion RoomFood and Education

Literacy – A Tool to Word the Roadmap for Development

penning-a-bright-future-banner

International Literacy Day, observed on September 8 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), commemorates its 50-year anniversary in 2016. This day recognises the importance of literacy and promotes it through engagement on national and international levels. It is being celebrated under the banner ‘Reading the Past, Writing the Future’ this year.

According to the 2011 census, India’s literacy rate was 74.04% (82 .14% among males and 65.46% among females). The nation has made strides in literacy rate, with active efforts from the Government and organisations like The Akshaya Patra Foundation through its initiatives like food for education, but there is still a long way to go. The cause of literacy must certainly be on the top of the agenda for social improvement, as high rates of literacy benefit the individual and society in numerous ways. Here are some of them:

Brighter career prospects
Being able to read and write enhances the promise of a brighter future and financial security. Literacy fuels the pursuit of education, which is a prerequisite if one has to make a mark in society and bring about a revolution.

Boosts confidence and creates better self-image 
The ability to read and write instills confidence in people. The very act of being able to understand the written word and express oneself in writing is empowering, both socially and psychologically.

Increases social and political awareness  
Literacy is one of the key cornerstones of a society that is conscious of its strengths and limitations and mindful of important happenings in the nation and the world. This enhances the public sense of social responsibility, powered by greater awareness.

Helps in discovering the joy of books, new worlds and new ideas 
Perhaps the most magical part about being able to read and write is the pleasure of being able to become lost in books. Discovering new worlds, ideas, stories and philosophies expands one’s worldview and makes them appreciate the staggering diversity of thought and culture in the world.

A keystone to nation-building and economic progress 
Literate, well-educated adults make it possible for a country to reach the summit of economic progress. This kind of development is inclusive, with equal growth opportunities for people from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Literacy can also help combat gender inequality – a major concern that needs to be addressed throughout the world.

Let’s come together to educate the children of India. While this would help them in their personal growth, it will also take the country towards positive development. Donate for education in India today to support the cause.

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Engage With UsFood and Education

Developing A Hunger-Free India

freedom-banner

Watching our tri-coloured flag being hoisted on the occasion of Independence Day is a proud moment for Indians. Many of our ancestors sacrificed their lives to ensure that we live in an independent country. This year, we would be celebrating 70 years of the birth of our nation. The theme for Independence Day 2017 is ‘Forging Ahead Together for Continued National Development’, which explains that to take the country towards positive development, we need more than just a group of activists coming together and fighting for the cause.

Our country has a total population of 1.21 billion, out of which 39% are children, according to Census of India 2010-11. A report by National Center for Biotechnology Information states that children in the age group of 11-13 years are vulnerable to stunting, being underweight. Due to malnutrition in children, prevalence of wasting was observed in children in the age group – 5-7 years.

The report recommended skills-based nutrition education, fortification of food items, effective infection control and training of public healthcare workers, as a solution to improve health of these children. Role of NGOs is required to bring this change in the society. We all need to get together and eradicate malnutrition in India.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) annual report released in 2015, India has 194.6 million undernourished people in the country. It also had the dubious distinction of topping the list of 10 most undernourished countries in the world. If India is to ensure that its development goals are met, the stomachs of its populace must be full and its citizens well-nourished.
The psychological and physiological effects of hunger are well-documented. Hunger affects cognition, stunts physical and mental growth, affects concentration and is also linked to aggression in adulthood. Food insecurity adversely affects economies worldwide too, with losses running into billions of US dollars. Hunger is also one of the key drivers of crime, social injustices and oppression.

Perhaps the most disturbing casualties and victims of hunger in India are the children. Not only does it lead to children dropping out of school for economic reasons, it also affects their attendance, concentration, grades, self-esteem and ability to socialise and connect with people, and ultimately, future prospects. Child labour and exploitation are grave consequences of this very problem.

On the road to making India a developed nation, it is vital that its citizens are happy and healthy. A physically and mentally strong population translates into a formidable workforce that helps a country scale dizzying new heights. Also, if the country is to secure its future, its women and children in particular, have to be looked after with greater care. With concentrated effort and commitment to the cause coming from the government as well as the people, making India hunger-free is certainly possible.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation works towards providing nutritious meals as a solution to eradicate malnutrition in India. This acts as an incentive to encourage children to attend school every day. The school lunch programme, which was started in 2000, currently feeds over 1.6 million children in India. The Foundation aims at reaching 5 million children by 2020.

To develop a successful nation, our national flag was designed, keeping the ideology of positive growth in mind. Akshaya Patra supports this in various ways.

Saffron: This colour represents strength and courage. With our mid-day meals, we ensure that every school-going child is educated and also remains healthy. This makes them strong and ensures that they are confident enough to face any challenges in their life. They will lead the country towards positive development.

White: The middle band, coloured white, indicates peace and truth. It’s not only about eradicating hunger; nutritious meals relieve hunger and aid in bringing positive thoughts in the minds of children. This will ensure they don’t develop anti-social behavior. They will spread peace among the people.

Green: Green colour in our national flag represents fertility, growth and auspiciousness of the land. Akshaya Patra has adopted various techniques to ensure that we follow environment-friendly practices in our kitchens. The Foundation has adopted a new organic waste-to-biogas system at its Ballari kitchen. It is capable of generating 120-150 cubic metres of biogas –the system converts vegetable and food waste to energy. The process also generates good quantities of organic manure. This way, we contribute to the growth of India.

Together, we can and we will make a difference! As our spirits soar high this Independence Day, let’s unite to put an end to classroom hunger. Pledge your support to Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme now!

Jai Hind!

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Food and Education

Hunger stops a child from being well-educated-and-informed

Healthy-Citizens

As we celebrate World Population Day on July 11, a fear that lingers in the mind of every individual is a recent report by the United Nations, which states that the population in India will cross the 1.44 billion mark by 2024. It is estimated to be more than that of China, which is the most populated country today.

The Global Hunger Index released in 2016 by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) rates India as a country with ‘serious’ hunger levels. It further states that about 15 per cent of the population of the nation is undernourished. Adequate food intake, both in quantity and quality, is missing. It is a well-known fact that a hungry child cannot absorb lessons easily. And with the growing population, eliminating hunger should start from the basic.

There are various ways hunger affects education:

It affects their cognitive development: A child’s faculties develop during early childhood. Its brain develops quickly. Without the right proportion of protein, nutrients and energy in its meal, the child’s cognitive development would be greatly hindered. Therefore, a nutritious meal plays an importance role in the child’s development.

Increases behavioral problems: A hungry child can easily get irritated. They often face the feeling of being unattended to, may face several health conditions, would lead a stressful life, could face psychiatric distress and other conditions like depression, anxiety, withdrawal, and poor self-esteem. To raise a healthy citizen who would contribute to the positive development of the country, feeding them a wholesome nutritious meal is important.

Harms body structure and confidence levels: It is common to find that an undernourished child weighs less than his or her ideal body weight when compared to the height. Hunger can even cause weight gain, as unhealthy fare seems more appealing when hungry — especially the foods that are high in sugar and sodium. Both these conditions, caused due to hunger, can hamper their confidence levels. They could feel the need to be confined to their comfort zones, which would affect their learning.

Causes long-term health issues: Hunger leads to undernourishment, which impacts their immunity. Children who experience hunger are more likely to contract short-term and long-term diseases. This would force them to drop out of school or they might be absent for a longer duration.

Increases school dropout rate: Due to unavailability of food, children are forced to go out and take up work to sustain themselves and their families. As they grow up, the job becomes the priority and they prefer to drop out of school.

Increased efforts to reach out to all children, even in remote locations, can help us eliminate illiteracy due to hunger. Join us in our efforts to provide nutritious meals to children every day. Sponsor a child!

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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!

GiveToReceive

“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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