A non-profit organisation, popularly referred to as charity is an organisation that is not managed or owned by any government or government representative. It is a legal establishment that is privately constituted by a group of like-minded people with the objective to work for a cause related to social, environment, animal rights, health, education, and the like. Even though charities do not come under the ambit of government yet they are obliged to carry out their operations within mandatory rules and regulations. And, this holds good for any non-profit organisation despite its realm of service – local or nationwide. Charities are an important component of the nation’s progress and development. However, they also face challenges in terms of support from people and financial aid. This has stemmed mainly from the fact that a handful of organisations failed to adhere to the code of conduct of running a charity. When such dishonest conducts were revealed to the public, it created a sense of distrust towards charities. This negatively affected charities across the country even the genuine ones.
Talking specifically, The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a Non-profit organisation in India implementing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme across the country. Working in a Public-Private Partnership model, this charity has been striving to beat the hunger children in government and government-aided schools thereby eliminating classroom hunger and supporting education since the past 18 years. Currently, Akshaya Patra is providing nutritious school meals to more than 1.76 million children in over 14,000 schools located in 39 locations of 12 states. To implement this Scheme, the Foundation runs both centralised and decentralised kitchens so that it can cover schools in urban, semi-urban, and rural areas of the country.
Akshaya Patra has been recognised as the world’s largest NGO operated school lunch programme. Along with providing regular school meals, the Foundation has also begun a skill development programme for its beneficiaries under the initiative ‘Giving Every Dream a Chance’. The NGO aims to provide overall development to children so that they grow up to be healthy, educated, skilled, and confident. However, it is not possible to achieve this aim without the support of the society. Hence, this UK Charity has provided a broad platform for people to get involved with their cause. Volunteering, CSR partnerships, donations, campaigning are some of the many ways one can choose to support and advocate the cause of Akshaya Patra. The NGO has also created a secure, easy, and fast way to contribute funds for the cause through online fundraising. Akshaya Patra acknowledges each and every penny being donated and hence it diligently maintains financial transparency by publishing audited financial reports every year as part of its Annual Report. Akshaya Patra has also carved its place in the Hall of Fame of ICAI by winning the Gold Shield Award for five consecutive years. As a Charity, Akshaya Patra too has faced challenges but has sailed through it by maintaining transparency about its services, operations, and financials with all its stakeholders – external and internal.