A student duo from a business school in Bangalore recently visited an Akshaya Patra Kitchen and a Government School where the Foundation provides mid-day meals to student. Here is an account of their experience as volunteers for the organisation.
First things first, we would like to thank you for the opportunity to work in a place that has provided us with a glimpse on the challenges faced by low income households of the society and the current education system in our country among the underprivileged. It has also changed our perspective on how nutrition can play a major role in every child’s life.
Here are some of the insights that we gathered while understanding the operations at Akshaya Patra. The visit to the kitchen was indeed a memorable one. We were happy to see that the food prepared in the kitchen was of highest quality, hygienic, nutritious and cooked with immense care. The kitchen was none like we have seen before, the cleanliness and the detail to hygiene while preparing the food was amazing, to say the least. We would like to specially thank the facilitator of the visit to the kitchen who gave us a very detailed tour regarding the kitchen and its operations. Being management students, this was like an education tour as well, where we could witness few of the concepts that we are taught at the Business School.
At the Government High School, Sarakki, where we taught children for three weeks, we were able to better understand how students were benefited by the mid-day meal programme implemented by The Akshaya Patra Foundation. The survey on food quality revealed that a majority of the students was highly satisfied with the food provided to them for lunch. They even went on to state that it tasted better than the food prepared at home. Most of the students were happy that the food was cost-free for them and some confirmed that they attended school just because the afternoon meal was served. This goes on to show how much the mid-day meal program has helped these students to get an education. Kudos to Akshaya Patra!
As a suggestion, we would recommend that any new volunteers coming to Akshaya Patra should get involved with the field activities at the schools. True learning and value addition, we believe would come only at Government Schools. As the volunteers get exposed to the struggles these students face, they would definitely make a difference in whatever little ways possible by them.
Lastly, we would like to thank the school for being very comforting and tending to our needs. We wish Akshaya Patra the very best for the future and hope it continues to serve children and help change lives of the deprived.
Vishak EB and Sampath S
PGDM students at Xavier’s Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship, Bangalore