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Interns From Hong Kong University Shares Their Learning Experience – Part I

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The last week of June marks the end of Akshaya Patra’s internship programme for the students from Hong Kong University. Out of all the good feelings that we own for what we do and why we do it, one is – listening to the stories and testimonials from our dear interns once they’ve completed their internship programme. We love to look through their eyes on the improvisational grounds too for the Foundation. To hear how their internship taught them about a completely new culture, how they’ve evolved, made lasting friendships is exciting and so much more.

This series is dedicated to the young and lively souls who gained hands-on experience to see the operations of a non-profit organisation and meet the beneficiaries. Part 1 is about a cheerful young boy – Ben. Here is how he narrates his experience.

Interns of tapf

My internship at The Akshaya Patra Foundation

Prior to joining The Akshaya Patra Foundation, I was mostly ignorant of how classroom hunger can be such a big barrier for children to attend school. Joining Akshaya Patra has broadened much of my horizons and made me realise the importance of food for education.

Working at Akshaya Patra, a charity for children has been an absolute delight and joy for me. I was able to learn more about the intricacies of the problems millions of children are facing in the dimension of classroom hunger, visit the impressive and organised structures of Akshaya Patra kitchens, and most importantly, visit the beneficiary children during their school time whom the Foundation serves.

During my first school visit, I was very touched by the interactions I had with the children. I was overwhelmed with the sense of tenderness and affection seeing the children laugh and play around the playgrounds. Visiting the schools was undoubtedly the most memorable and enlightening experience Akshaya Patra has given me. It has bestowed upon me profound gratitude and vitality for my work and the entire Foundation. The rewards of working in Akshaya Patra, knowing you are helping all these children attain their education and giving them a shot for their dreams, is more than enough that I could ever hope for. Every day while going to work, I felt constantly renewed in the purpose and meaning of my work, and LIFE at large.

I am thoroughly grateful for my colleagues and managers. I have been perfectly blessed being able to work closely with them. They are, without a question, the most understanding and pleasant people I have ever worked with. They were gentle and kind and always actively tried to help me improve my work. My colleagues were also very amicable and charitable.

On my second school visit, I also have had the privilege of talking to the children. Despite not speaking Kannada (the regional language of Bengaluru), I was unaffected by it and asked a friend who helped me communicate with them. As a result, I could clearly see the lives that Akshaya Patra empowers. The children said that they feel very excited to attend school and have tasty mid-day meals. Their eyes gleamed with joy and they fluttered like fledging birds. It reminded me of my childhood and school days.

My visit to the Akshaya Patra kitchen enlightened me about the processes and logistical management of feeding 1.76 million children every day. I was in awe at the vessels and quality of work being done there. It is nothing less than perfection to feed such a huge number of children every day while maintaining the highest standards of food safety and nutrition. Juxtaposed with the size of the office, visiting the kitchen made me truly appreciate the scale of The Akshaya Patra Foundation.

“Working with Akshaya Patra has been a fruitful and invaluable learning experience for me, both as an individual and professional. It is truly my honour and privilege to have had the chance to help alleviate classroom hunger from the lives of schoolchildren, the generation that would soon lead India and drive progress. It has been nothing but an illuminating experience and it carries its own reward. I would not replace it with anything else.”

I felt that my time as an intern in The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a charity for children came to an end all too soon. But amongst the sentiment and melancholy, I reminisce on what the wise always used to say, “Life, well-lived, is always long enough.” And truer words have never been spoken for my time in Akshaya Patra.

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Celebrate for a Cause

Celebrate World Health Day 2019 with Akshaya Patra Children

World Health Day 2019

The predominance of nutrition crisis—covering both undernutrition and over nutrition—is a crucial pointer of a nation’s health. As India strives to achieve its social development goals, hunger is one such complex realities, which looks up for greater responsiveness.

7th April, the occasion of World Health Day presents an apt moment to review our interventions as Government, individuals, and NGOs to address India’s hunger woes.

Healthy food has a significant role to play in the holistic development and growth of children. Right nutrition at the early stages of childhood protects a child from various diseases and infections that can impede age-appropriate growth. Indeed, a healthy childhood paves the way for a healthy life. And, this is where The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s role becomes noteworthy. Alike World Health Day, which aims to provide universal health care for all, Akshaya Patra intends to give every child a healthy start to life by providing wholesome and nutrition-rich mid-day meals.

MID-DAY MEAL GUIDELINES AND OUR ADHRENECE TO IT
On 28 November 2001, The Supreme Court of India guided the State Governments to implement the Mid-Day Meal Scheme by feeding every child in every Government and Government-aided primary school with cooked mid-day meals. The minimum nutritional content of the school meals was fixed to 300 calories and 8-12 gms of protein on every school day. The specified nutritional content has since been enhanced to 450 calories and 12 gms protein for children in primary schools and 700 calories and 20 gms protein for children in upper-primary schools.

The mid-day meal guidelines also illustrate that the meals served must provide the essential micronutrients such as – iron, zinc, folic acid, vitamin A, etc., to the beneficiary children so as to ensure proper growth for them. Akshaya Patra diligently abides by every guideline while preparing the mid-day meals.

The NGO in India, Akshaya Patra also serves nutritious food to 3 to 6 years old children, pregnant women and lactating mothers in Anganwadi centres – a step to provide a healthy foundation during the critical stages of growth. Currently, we serve healthy meals to 1,61,410 children (aged 3-6 years) at 4,786 Anganwadi centres and 6,000 pregnant women and lactating mothers across 323 centres.

BEYOND IMPROVING NUTRITION                                                                                                                                          Akshaya Patra’s understanding of improving nutrition for children is not just limited to increasing access to healthy food. It also covers hygiene and cleanliness while preparing nutrition-rich meals every day. The visible improvement in health and performance of our beneficiary children in school activities are a testimony of the quality food served to them regularly.

Akshaya Patra makes it possible with the help of its 41 state-of-the-art kitchens. The food safety measures in the operations process have been recognised and appreciated across national and international platforms.

Thus, by implementing the Mid-Day Meal Programme and Anganwadi Feeding Programme, Akshaya Patra is laying a healthy and strong foundation for growing children thereby contributing to the theme of World Health Day: “Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere.”

This World Health Day, we’re calling on everybody’s support to help us address the classroom hunger for young children in India. Be a Health Champion by gifting them the everlasting goodness of nutrition.

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