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Food and Education

Food and Education

Rise Against Hunger with Akshaya Patra

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38% children between the ages 6 months to 5.5 years, suffer from chronic malnutrition.

In order to change this scenario, various NGOs work ardently for the betterment of children. The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a 20-year old NGO in India that has constantly worked to address two major issues – food and education. What started off as a simple act of feeding 1,500 children in Bengaluru, is now recognised as the world’s largest NGO-run school meal programme, implementing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in India.

As on today, Akshaya Patra feeds 1.8 million children studying in 19,039 Government schools and Government-aided schools every day. This charity in India is spread across 52 locations and serves from its centralised and decentralised kitchen where nutrition, hygiene, and quality are of topmost priority. The Foundation is present across the states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Daman and DNH, Delhi, Odisha, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.

To know about the different types of kitchens present in each state, click here.

Mid-day meals help in improving the overall health of children and aids in better concentration in class. School meals also bring a change in their overall development where they grow physically and mentally. Akshaya Patra aims to feed 5 million children who hail from challenging socio-economic conditions by 2025.

1/4th of world’s undernourished population lives in India
With 25.7% of people living in low-income sections of the society, it is estimated that these numbers will drastically increase given the outbreak of COVID-19. The Akshaya Patra Foundation extended its service to the nation to help the needy and marginalised section combat the virus and live a healthy life. The Foundation began its COVID relief service on 25th March 2020 by serving freshly prepared meals and distributing dry grocery kits that can help a family of two with ration that could provide 42 meals for a period of 21 days.

Since the beginning of Akshaya Patra’s COVID-19 food relief service, 2,67,55,422 cooked meals have been served and 7,22,663 grocery kits have been distributed to people living in marginalised communities of India that comprises of construction site workers, migrant labourers, daily-wage workers and the needy people at old-age homes and night shelters.

To know more about the state-wise relief activities, click here.

Impact of your donation to fight hunger
By feeding children and adults with daily meals, you are helping in:
• Building their immunity to fight malnourishment and various diseases.
• Giving them strength to perform daily activities.
• Helping them concentrate and focus better.
• Helping them stay calmer.

To help marginalized communities fight the virus, click here.

How can you contribute to fight against hunger?
• You can support the feeding of children with the Mid-Day Meal Programme, here.
• You can serve meals with Akshaya Patra’s COVID relief fund, here.
• You can become our social ambassador by following us on various social media platforms and sharing our posts and updates regularly.
• You can raise funds by organising a Fundraising campaign online here.

Every little support helps us move forward to feed children and the needy, one step at a time

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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

Akshaya Patra Kitchens – Maximising the Impact of Mid-Day Meals

akshaya patra kitchen

Akshaya Patra is an NGO that feeds nutritious mid-day meals to over 2.2 million children across 16 states and two union territories as the implementing partner of the government’s PM POSHAN Abhiyaan (Mid-Day Meal Scheme). If we are able to reach out to so many children every school day, it is because of the robust network of state-of-the-art kitchens that we have established over the years. It’s the scale and operational efficiency of these kitchens that help us play a crucial role in maximising the impact of government’s PM POSHAN Abhiyaan and other nutrition welfare initiatives.

State-of-the-art Centralised Kitchens

A centralised kitchen typically helps manage operations from a single point of control, which include receiving and storage of raw materials, preparation and delivery of food as well as maintenance. Akshaya Patra’s state-of-the-art kitchens have the capacity to undertake largescale feeding, typically up to 100,000 mid-day meals a day, whilst ensuring safe handling, preparation and delivery.

We use large and specialised equipment, such as cauldrons, trolleys, rice chutes, etc., at our kitchens to prepare food in huge quantities, which, in turn, helps us feed significantly more children than school kitchens. Our kitchens enjoy a greater economy of scale-reductions in unit cost as the size of a facility and usage levels of systems and equipment increase. As a result, these kitchens are known for their cost advantage. Several of these units are ISO 22000:2005 certified and have won prestigious awards, such as the CII National Award for Food Safety.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems further boost the enormous production capacity of our centralised kitchens by facilitating better monitoring of every part of the production pipeline, from inventory to costing to logistics. Similarly, procurement systems such as the Supplier Quality Management System (SQMS) with sub-processes such as Supplier Selection, Supplier Qualification, Supplier Rating, etc., help ensure that the best quality raw material is procured. Furthermore, methods like logistic charting for route optimisation and GPS tracking of delivery vehicles help ensure safe and on-time delivery of mid-day meals to the school every day.

Innovating to Serve Better – Roti-making Machines

As an NGO in the MDM feeding space, we have always strived to adhere to local palate and regional acceptability. Our kitchens help us in this context by fostering innovation in technology and recipes. In 2002, for instance, we introduced our first-of-a-kind roti-making machine. This roti-making machine, with the capacity to prepare 10,000 rotis per hour, helped us cater to the needs of children in North India, where the menu is predominantly wheat-based. Over the years, we have fine-tuned these machines. Today, the roti-making machines in Akshaya Patra kitchens help dish out 60,000 rotis per hour.

Adherence to Recipes

Our kitchens enable large-scale food preparation and ensure strict adherence to recipes through automated systems to consistently maintain taste and quality, thus improving the consumption of meals among children. The menu is designed in such a manner that children automatically get their daily intake of necessary nutrients. Furthermore, we have set up New Product Development Centres (NPDC) to help us enhance the school feeding programme by developing new recipes and opting for in-recipe modifications.

Sustainability

At Akshaya Patra, we are working towards making our kitchens more sustainable. We have adopted various green measures to navigate challenges related to energy use and waste management, ranging from using solar energy and integrating Electric Vehicles (EVs) in our fleet of delivery vehicles to adopting low-cost and high-impact initiatives like rainwater harvesting. We have committed to transitioning to 50% renewable energy and adopting 50% electric vehicles (EVs) in our delivery fleet by 2035. Our goal is to mitigate the effect of hunger on future generations through a sustainable, environment-friendly approach.

As pointed out in the Harvard Case Study, the centralised kitchen model has the benefits of scale and the ability to feed more children at low cost. But its benefits go well beyond that. For instance, the centralised approach works as far as accountability is concerned because thousands of meals are prepared at one location with due adherence to safety and hygiene and the whole process is monitored with due diligence. Similarly, it reduces the burden on teachers who are overburdened by the pressure of managing mid-day meals and executing teaching and other administrative duties.

In a country like India, with a massive population of 1.4 billion people, it is imperative to ensure that nutrition-based welfare programmes, such as the PM POSHAN Abhiyaan or ICDS Anganwadi feeding initiative, reach as many beneficiaries as possible; centralised kitchens can play a pivotal role in making this possible.

Akshaya Patra has been working in the MDM space for the last 23 years and has cumulatively served over 4 billion meals. If you are looking for a credible NGO to support, you can join Akshaya Patra’s efforts to feed the children a nutritious mid-day meal to support their health and education.

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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

Akshaya Patra – Weaving stories of hope in Delhi schools

akshaya patra ngo in delhi

Neeraj, age eleven, lives with his parents and siblings in Badarpur, New Delhi. In the recent past, his father struggled to find a steady job and his family would often have to go without food. Neeraj recently talked to us at Akshaya Patra about his goals and objectives over a mid-day meal at his school. He said: “I want to be an army officer so I can help other people.” Neeraj’s life has changed dramatically since the NGO’s Mid-Day Meal Programme was implemented. Akshaya Patra not only satisfies his hunger but also encourages him to dream of a better future.

Just like Neeraj, there are thousands of children in Delhi who depend on Akshaya Patra’s school lunch for their nutritional needs. The NGO has been operating in the national capital since 1 January 2019 and serves mid-day meals to 40,000 students across 166 schools at present through its four kitchens in Delhi—Mohan Co-Op, Jahangirpuri, Gole Market and Badli.

Delhi’s Wonder Kitchens

To match up to the local palate of the region and ensure that children receive adequate and wholesome nutrition every school day, the NGO serves an assortment of dishes on a rotational basis. The menu comprises ajawain poori, aloo chana, aloo chole, rice, mixed dal, urad chana dal, rajma, mixed vegetable, aloo soya, plain kadi, jeera rice, dal with vegetables, aloo gajar matar, cookies, pickle and more.

These meals not only safeguard children’s nutrition but also encourage children to attend school regularly, complete their education and pursue their aspirations. When children follow their dreams, they make positive contributions to the nation.

According to UNICEF, nutrition is a fundamental component of human development and effective, extensive programming may both lessen the impact of undernutrition and deprivation on a national level and promote national development.

Here is a story of hope from one of Akshaya Patra’s beneficiary schools in Delhi.

The 11-year-old is the eldest of five siblings. His father is a tailor and the only earning member of the family. Naveen’s mother is a housewife and looks after his ailing grandmother. With financial challenges crossing their path almost every day, he says that Akshaya Patra’s meals are a glimmer of hope. They motivate him and his siblings to go to school regularly, focus in class, lend a hand at home and go the extra mile for their goals.

“A soldier’s life is demanding as they do not live with their families. It tests their strength and pushes them past their limits. They become stronger while enjoying a sense of purpose throughout their life. They protect without complaining. No life is insignificant to them. During natural disasters, they assist us selflessly and even put their lives on the line if the need arises. Thus, I believe that being a defence personnel is the finest choice for those who want to live a content life and serve their country. We can sleep peacefully today because our armed forces defend us at the border. That’s why, being a part of the Indian Army is an opportunity, not just a career option,” adds Naveen gleaming with pride.

Today, he is striving relentlessly towards his goals while also helping his parents with chores before and after school hours. The class 7 student is grateful for the NGO’s hot, nourishing and delicious meals he receives at school. He also fondly remembers the Happiness Kits that were distributed during the pandemic, with study material in them.

The Mid-day Meal Programme of Akshaya Patra in Delhi is a testimony of The Foundation’s dedication towards the implementation of the Centre’s PM POSHAN Abhiyaan. Having been in operation for five years in the region, it is hardly surprising that seeing the NGO’s food delivery vehicles in the national capital brings smiles on the faces of many.

To multiply these smiles, donate to Akshaya Patra.

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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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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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