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Fortis extends its’ helping hand to Akshaya Patra

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Fortis Investments, an autonomous investment management company has recently joined The Akshayapatra Foundation bandwagon. The management has adopted 229 children in Bangalore from 3 schools where Akshaya Patra’s midday meal programme is practiced.

Mr. Nikhil Johri, the Managing Director of Fortis Investments have gone ahead and set an example to his employees by adopting 178 children from the Government Upper Primary School in Jaipur, who are also fed by Akshaya Patra.

The 229 children adopted by the management study in 3 schools in Bangalore – Government Higher Primary School, Government Urdu Primary School and Government Tamil Primary School in Vasanth nagar.

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We Shall Overcome – A song of Hope

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It is truly frightening that two million children in India die because of hunger and add to our hunger statistics every year. This implies that in India 6000 children dies every single day because of starvation. The situation persists for decades because, for generations they continue to be clad with poverty unable to break the vicious cycle. To secure a single meal for a day, children take up menial jobs in hazardous work environment which makes them vulnerable to dreadful diseases.

Today 13.5 million children are out of school because they have to arrange for their food for survival. For them going to school is not the priority but earning their meal is. Their hunger stops them from going to their classrooms and instead sends them to work.

Akshaya Patra Foundation is a non-profit organization which has been trying to eradicate hunger and poverty since a decade. The foundation has been tirelessly working with a vision of “No child shall be deprived of education because of hunger”.

In all these years the organization has experienced that every child has a hungry mind which always crave to learn. They want to overcome their poverty and lead a worthy life. One filling meal can make them do wonders. Let us not deny them of their right to live a better life. Find out how we can bring hope in their life…

To know more about this Article and how to reach them please visit this link: http://www.akshayapatra.org/weshallovercome

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Akshaya Patra supplies food to flood victims

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<p style=”text-align: justify;”>
<img style=”float: left; margin: 10px; border: 0px;” src=”http://www.akshayapatra.org/sites/default/files/images/AP_food_packets_Distribution_blog.JPG” border=”0″ alt=”The Akshaya Patra Foundation” />The Akshaya Patra Foundation has come to the rescue of several thousand victims who were affected by floods caused by heavy rains in coastal Andhra Pradesh.
<b>Akshaya Patra</b> distributed more than 5,000 food packets (prepared in the foundation’s kitchen in Visakhapatnam) to the people in the flood- affected areas. Low lying areas in the city were flooded due to rains which were a result of cyclone ‘Jal’ which hit coastal Andhra earlier this November. </p>

<p>Akshaya Patra also supplied drinking water to most flood-affected residents of Sheelanagar and surrounding colonies, as most of them did not even have access to their homes. </p>

<p>Search Tags: food to flood,  Akshaya Patra supplies food , flood  affected areas, Donated to Akshaya Patra, Akshaya Patra Foundation, Akshaya Patra, Akshaya Patra Bangalore, charity for underprivileged children, Bangalore NGO, donate to food, donate for food, charity for children, mid day meal, school meal programme, Charitable organization, charity donations, food for education, tax exempt donations, Charity for underprivileged children, Tax Exemption Charities, NGO in Bangalore</p>

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Thank you BOSCH for ensuring their meal

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BOSCH the world’s largest supplier of automobile components has been supporting the cause of The Akshaya Patra Foundation as a part of their corporate social responsibilities all these days. Lately the company wanted its employees to join this movement and contribute towards it.

Mr. Prabhakar, Ms. Usha & Dr. Raghavan, part of CSR initiative decided to design an employee engagement program where the employees would volunteer to adopt a school for the feeding program. The objective was to encourage the employees to personally involve and take the initiative to support the cause they believe in.

Soon after the message reached the employees, a highly enthusiastic team of five people led by Mr. Prabhakar registered themselves as champions and took up the responsibility of creating a buzz about Akshaya Patra among their fellow colleagues. In next few days 22 more employees joined the program and came in to volunteer for Akshaya Patra. Within a very short span of two weeks the number shot up to 180 volunteers. Each volunteer multiplied to the power of ten every day, making the program stronger with each passing sunlight hours. The volunteers drove the program within the company and started collecting donation from employees who wanted to contribute towards the cause. The initiative taken by the staff of BOSCH Automotive inspired BOSCH Software employees to participate in the program and volunteer for The Akshaya Patra Foundation.

This great initiative was marked by a program in Munichannappa Government Primary School at Adugodi organized by volunteers from BOSCH. Mr. Bhattacharya, Vice President BOSCH addressed the children saying that he wants them to be equally competitive as students in any other elite schools and make a remarkable career in future. Mr. Shridhar Venkat, Executive Director of The Akshaya Patra Foundation also spoke to the children asking them to dream big. He added that the nutritious food served by Akshaya Patra will always help them to chase their dream with strength and conviction and make them come true.The program ended with Mr. Bhattacharya handing over the donations collected by BOSCH employees (Volunteers) to Mr. Shridhar Venkat.

The employees of BOSCH have set an example for professionals in different corporate who wants to contribute towards a cause but their hectic schedule holds them back.

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The Power of one Meal

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Imagine a new-born child, the latest addition to a family of 5, fresh with the hope of a new beginning. She announces her arrival into the world with her first breath, fiercely staking her claim to life, much to the joy of her parents. Her very birth is a miracle.

Being born in a marginalized section of society, chances are high that before she has even begun on this journey of life, she will have to overcome many challenges.  Of every thousand live births in India, she may be one of the 69 children who will not grow to see their 5th birthday. In fact, being born in a marginalized section of society, she is probably one of the 43% of under 5 children in the country who are either moderately or severely underweight[1]. Her mother herself is weak from the efforts of childbirth.

Her parents take her home to their small shack, shining with happiness, like all new parents. As her father leaves for his job at a nearby construction site, her mother settles in for a typical day. She cleans and cooks for her 3 other children and sends them to school. Now the rest of her day really begins. She must start her work making cotton wicks for oil lamps. Like the rest of the 42% of India’s population, she and her family must survive on less than $1.25 (approx. Rs. 57) a day[2]. The addition of a new member means there is an added strain on their meager resources.  As she works through the hours, she must also take care of their baby girl.

The day wears on as she juggles motherhood with her job, growing more and more hungry as the time goes by. But there is not enough food for two proper meals in a day, much less three, and she must carry on until the evening. She thinks of the future of her children, dreams of what they could become in the future.

The dipping sun heralds the end of the day and she is surprised to see her husband return early from work. It is only 7:30 in the evening and he is already back. There is a reason for this. A reason that has nothing to do with them; it has gushed down from the wealthiest countries in the world, gathering momentum in its wake, wreaking the greatest havoc to the most vulnerable. The global economic crisis has reached their front step. And her husband has lost his job.

What will the family do now? Like 34% of the country’s over-15 population, both husband and wife can neither read nor write[3]. With less than 4 years of schooling, the new father’s chances of finding another job are slim in such bleak economic conditions. How will he keep his children in school now? More importantly, how will he even provide food for them? What will be the fate of their new born baby girl?

This may be an imaginary situation, but to thousands of fathers and mothers across the country, it is a reality. The fate of this baby girl is the fate of many. There is one way out of this grip of poverty: education, but how can they afford to even think of education when there is not enough for food? Every basic amenity is a luxury to the hungry, because hunger has a way of occupying the mind unlike anything else.
A person might ask: how can we help the family? If we posed that question to the mother or father, they might answer simply, “Help my child, and you will have helped me.”

To those of us who have the benefit of Fate’s kindness, one full meal a day may seem like nothing. But to others, especially children, to whom Fortune has not been so kind, it is the difference between poverty and prosperity. It means a full stomach and an invigorated mind that can concentrate on learning and growing, rather than trying to find the next meal. It means there is a chance at an education and a future.

Akshaya Patra provides that meal to over 1.2 million underprivileged children every school day. It may seem like nothing, but to thousands of parents across India, it means that the joy of their lives, their children, get to eat well and grow healthy. And dare to dream of a brighter tomorrow.

Source-[1,2,3]UNICEF: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/india_statistics.html#67

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Food insecurity and ‘Twin track strateg

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A household is said to be food insecure when the people in it live in fear of hunger and starvation. Food insecurity affects millions around the world and children, the most vulnerable members of society, are the greatest affected it. Caught in the clutches of poverty and living a hand to mouth existence, many survive on less than one meal a day. While education may be the surest ticket out of the many dehumanizing and abject conditions faced by these children, improving their health and physical well being is the first, most important step to securing their future. Children deprived of the necessary nutrients due to food insecurity fall prey to malnutrition, stunted physical growth and reduced cognitive abilities, all of which eventually hamper their education.
The problem of malnutrition faced by the world’s children is very severe. One out of four – roughly 146 million – in developing countries is underweight and although India is growing economically, this has not been translated to reducing malnutrition among children in the country. In fact, ‘one half of all rural children [in India] are underweight for their age – roughly the same proportion as in 1992.’ On a global scale, approximately 27-28% of all children in developing countries are said to be underweight or stunted, with South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa accounting for the bulk of the deficit.

While it is important to develop long range programs that improve employability through promoting education, it is also equally necessary to implement schemes that directly provide children with food to improve their health and well being.
To combat this problem of hunger, the World Food Program and the International Fund for Agricultural Development came up with a practical ‘twin track solution’.
• Track one involves the creation of employment opportunities that increase the productivity and incomes of the underprivileged.
• Track two strategies provide direct access to food that will improve the health of the malnourished, increasing their well being and, therefore, their productivity.

‘Food for education’ programs, such as that implemented by Akshaya Patra, address both the hunger and education issues at once.

Reducing hunger is of primary importance in the successful accomplishment of all the MDGs, as it is the root cause of suffering that exacerbates the poverty cycle. A hungry child cannot focus on anything else because of its need for food. In order to truly help a child, therefore, we must first ensure that the child is well nourished and healthy.

But this is not enough to bring about effective change. Children must also be educated in order to break through the cycle of poverty. Food insecure, impoverished families cannot afford food, let alone school fees, and depend on children to work for their meals. In such cases, programs like the mid-day meal scheme have a big impact on the child. By providing lunch at school, we are not only ensuring the health of the child and encouraging education, but also helping to prevent their necessity to work for food.

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A heart touching tale of a Donor.

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After a long telephonic conversation about Akshaya Patra, Rajeev (Assistant Manager – Tele Collection) managed to get an appointment from Mrs. Reddy (name changed) a Headmistress of a Primary school. Rajeev was trying to schedule the appointment in the second half of the day as the place was quite far away, but she told in an uncompromising voice “be in my office sharp at 9 o’ clock.”

Next morning Rajeev reached school 10 minutes before time and met the donor (Mrs. Reddy). She looked very stern and strict and reminded him of his old school days. Rajeev wondered why the entire Headmistress clan looks alike. Why do all of them wear the same grave faces?

The clock ticked 9 and Mrs. Reddy walked in the room. She took Rajeev to the prayer hall where a few hundred students were standing in rows with their hands folded for prayer. A photo frame caught Rajeev’s attention…the picture was of a young man. After the prayer Mrs. Reddy walked up to the photograph and put a garland around it. She then distributed sweets among the students and gave one to Rajeev too. Rajeev asked her what was the occasion and she said with a smile – “today is my son’s birthday”. Rajeev was glad to see her smiling for the first time and asked her to convey his best wishes to her son. She looked at Rajeev and replied back saying “he is no more with us. He was my only son and was an orthopedic doctor by profession. He expired 6 months after he got married leaving behind his beautiful wife and his old mom. Me and my daughter in law wanted to do something special on his birthday and decided to feed the underprivileged children through a genuine organization. We were happy to find Akshaya Patra. ” Telling this she took out her cheque book and signed a cheque of rupees six thousand and handed it over to Rajeev. Rajeev was so moved that he could not help himself from touching her feet and left the school without saying anything.

There are thousands of people like Mrs. Reddy who have lost many things in life but are still optimistic about the future. They still believe that we can bring about change and make this planet a better place to live in. Akshaya Patra salutes such people with Great Spirit and moves ahead to reach out to 5 million children by 2020.

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A few words from a volunteer

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There were days when poor students would go to Teachers house to have “Varanna” in which the students would be fed once in a week. On a rotation, the student would go to different teacher’s house and other rich people in the locality. Now, many of them have grown and have a respectable position in the society.
This clearly shows the relationship between the food and the education. The best a society can offer a child is the education; because once the child is educated they become a responsible citizen of this country. To provide a good education, the child should not be hungry. This is precisely the reasons why I wanted to voluntary “Akshaya Patra Foundation”.
When I first met the Akshaya Patra team, I was surprised to know they are using the latest Management concepts, statutory disclosures etc. There method of analysis, brain storming sessions was amazing. For me, I am trying to put the experience of my work (Strategic Planning) to Akshaya Patra and it turn take their best practices and implement in my company. It is a win- win situation for me.
The message I would like to give for other volunteers are, give the best of your knowledge, time, and experience to Akshaya Patra and in turn learn the dedication, hard work, practices from the Akshaya Patra. This is very unique because you can share and learn as well.

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Sudharshana Rao Karwal, one of India’s leading racers speaks about Akshaya Patra.

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As Akshaya Patra races ahead from zero to over 1.2 million, its noble cause is complemented by someone who is known for ‘flirting with speed’. Sudharshana Rao Karwal, one of India’s leading racers has decided to endorse the world’s largest NGO-run mid day meal programme, Akshaya Patra. The ‘need for speed’ of this 25-year-old lad from Bangalore has made him proud to be the first racer from Karnataka to win the JK Tyre national racing title. Being qualified as a trained pilot in the US, Sudharshana aspires to chase his dream down to the Formula one track.
“It gives me immense pleasure to represent a social cause like that of Akshaya Patra, which believes in the concept of unlimited food for education” he says. Sudharshana is one of the hopefuls at this season of the JK Tyre Formula Rolon, the biggest motorsport in the country, starting mid-July. He believes that his success can help the foundation reach out to the masses. “It’s good if more people know about Akshaya Patra and I hope this comes out in a big way” he adds. “A programme like this should be across all boundaries” he says talking about how hunger and poverty have become such perils on the road to development. He also believes that education is an essential ingredient to tackling the problems.
Inspired by the record-breaking multiple F1 champion Michael Schumacher, he wants to shift gears in international racing tournaments as well. “I want to go abroad and take Akshaya Patra along with me,” he says.

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Wonder what Akshaya Patra has in store for the future…

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7:00 AM I slipped into a pair of oversized slippers, tucked my hair into a shower cap, and stepped into the hot and steamy kitchen, where human-sized cauldrons full of rice and sambhar were brewing. On my right, several large metal baskets were being filled with the exact same quantity of rice at the simple press of a button. Workers carried these containers and placed them under a row of faucets, where pressurized water filled the bowls and cleansed the rice. I turned back around to see water gush out from the bottom of the cauldrons. Clearly, the rice was being drained and it was ready to be packed.

India has double the rate of malnutrition of sub-Saharan Africa. Indian children enlist in menial jobs just so they can earn enough money to have one solid meal a day. As a result, about 13.5 million children in India do not attend school.

7:15 AM An aromatic smell was coming from the room on my right. I followed the smell into the area next door and my mouth salivated at the sight of a large bath full of sambhar with metal pipes protruding outwards from it. Vast amounts of sambhar emerged from the pipes and drained perfectly into steel pots below. I looked back up at the large bath and there were almost no traces of sambhar left. The steel pots sat on a conveyor belt and I tracked the containers as they moved into a room on the left. I watched in amazement as the belt transported dozens of tightly packed stainless steel vessels to custom-built Akshaya Patra trucks.

7:30 AM I looked at the clock on my wrist and the large hand was close to the “6.” The trucks had just revved their engines and started to drive away. They were on route to schools within 50 kilometers of the kitchen with enough food for 5,000 children packed in the back of their vehicles. Inside the kitchen, the workers acted in a mechanized fashion to swiftly move the pots and steam-clean every inch of the kitchen. Usha (an Akshaya Patra representative) then escorted me outside, and as we walked towards the dining hall she started telling me about the intelligently engineered kitchens.

India has double the rate of malnutrition of sub-Saharan Africa. Indian children enlist in menial jobs just so they can earn enough money to have one solid meal a day. As a result, about 13.5 million children in India do not attend school. Numerous studies have shown that education is the single most powerful factor that can take an entire family out of the poverty cycle, and within one generation, education can significantly improve one’s quality of life.

Akshaya Patra helps underprivileged children by serving one healthy, balanced mid-day meal at school and thus incentivizes children to continue their education. Akshaya Patra has become the largest mid-day meal program in the world and currently serves food to about 1.2 million children in India everyday.

I think it is truly incredible how just Akshaya Patra has such widespread impact on many different areas of society, such as health, education, gender inequality, and poverty, with just one solution- serving mid-day meals to school children. The government schools have measured Akshaya Patra’s impact and they have seen an increase in school enrollment, an increase in attendance, an increase in school performance, and a reduction in dropout rates. Additionally, malnutrition has decreased and socialization among all social castes has increased..

I visited on a Tuesday morning and tasted the mouth-watering khichidi, sabzi, and sambhar that would be served to the school children later that day. It was so tasty that I asked for more and more servings. I think it is absolutely amazing how Akshaya Patra has utilized technology to consistently provide such delicious and nutritious food to starving children. Now, I wonder what Akshaya Patra has in store for the future…

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