The Different Techniques to Ensure Children Enjoy School

Children change their minds more quickly than grown-ups. One moment, they have an urge to play, another moment, they want to eat something specific. What’s the key to keep them motivated for school without repelling them from certain subjects? At Akshaya Patra, an NGO in India, we have first-hand experience of coping with this during the Mid-day Meal Programme run in schools in collaboration with the government.  Here’s what we have tried and tested over the years. We are happy to share this little piece of wisdom with parents who often struggle to send their kids to school.

Fun enforcement or no enforcement

Make sure that you learn to bite your tongue when children refrain from going to school. While it’s good to hear their reasons, you must also be able to tell when a child is only playing you. Count the things your child loves about school. It could be friends or a games period or a drawing class. If you really know what your kid is interested in, you will know what to say when sending them off to school. For instance, reward your children when they agree to go to school without tantrums. At Akshaya Patra, we encourage children to come to school so they have nutritious meals. Our sponsors who often donate for education in India find it fascinating how our volunteers and staff keep the children always excited for mid-day meals in schools.

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Appreciation

Children have a forgiving heart and so they won’t hold a grudge that you sent them to school without their will. Most likely, they will not even remember it. So make sure you develop a habit of praising your child for any big or small achievement in class. Always be a proud parent and get your kids interested in extra-curricular activities.

Plan sumptuous lunch

We have seen mothers who would cook sumptuous and nutritious lunch as a motivating factor for the children to eat during school. Akshaya Patra’s Mid-day Meal Programme in schools ensures that the lunch served is full of vegetables, proteins, dairy, grains, oils and nutrients. Just the whole excitement of opening the lunch box during school often gets children excited about school.

Assure help in homework

Often children find school dreary and a burden due to the homework. They often feel overwhelmed and scared. Always be the parent who makes homework a team activity. Ensure you are always around to guide, instruct and help the child as he or she sits down for homework. That would assure the child of an ever-present help and would motivate them to look forward to school.

Akshaya Patra is an NGO in India that has been running Mid-Day Meals Programme in schools since 2000. One of our biggest lessons during this programme over the years has been that children need motivation at every step in their lives. As for the Mid-Day Meal Programme, the organisation is working towards building a sustainable network of kitchens to reach five million children by 2020. If you are someone who is considering donating for education in India, you are welcome to join our mission.

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Happy Kannada Rajyotsava – Akshaya Patra Pays Tribute

Every year, 1st November is observed as Kannada Rajyotsava. On this day, in 1956 all the Kannada speaking areas of South India were merged into a new state, Karnataka. Initially, the state was called Mysore, but this was considered too reminiscent of the old princely regiment, and the name was changed to Karnataka on 1st November 1973. Kannada Rajyotsava is celebrated with unified enthusiasm all over the state and across all age groups, religion, gender, and income groups. The state flag adorns all important locations, and the state anthem reverberates all day long. It is a day to celebrate the progress and development of the state. To praise the good deeds of local citizens, the State Government bestows the Rajyotsava Award on people who have contributed toward the well-being and development of the state in a noteworthy way.

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Just as the entire state celebrates Kannada Rajyotsava with much fervour, we at The Akshaya Patra Foundation, pay our sincere tribute to this state – the birthplace of our Foundation. We began our service to children in June 2000 by providing mid-day meal to 1,500 children across five Government schools in Bengaluru. Since then, there has not been any looking back. Today, we feed more than five lakh children in 2,841 Government and Government-aided schools every day, from our six specialized centralised kitchens located across the state – H.K. Hill (Bengaluru) feeds 87,882 children in 508 schools, Vasanthapura (Bengaluru) feeds 1,01,541 children in 646 schools, Ballari feeds 1,26,932 children in 577 schools, Hubballi feeds 1,52,423 in 807 schools, Mangaluru feeds 17,024 in 139 schools, and Mysuru feeds 23,450 in 164 schools.

But, this operational expansion in Karnataka has been possible mainly because of the steadfast support we received from the Government of Karnataka along with benevolent donors and charitable corporates. We sincerely thank every stakeholder for their constant support and hope this support continues as we look forward to feeding thousands of more children who are still waiting for their share of the wholesome mid-day meal.

This Kannada Rajyotsava, let’s pledge to eliminate classroom hunger
from all the schools of Karnataka

Celebrate a Noiseless Diwali with Akshaya Patra!

Every year, Diwali arrives with the noise of fireworks and ends with a lot of air pollution. So what can be done to lessen the impairment? We believe it is the little lamps that we light in our homes that display the authentic essence of Diwali. This festive season, take an oath to make this festival noise-free and more meaningful!

Diwali, also known as Deepawali, is celebrated with grandeur across the length and breadth of India. The festival of lights is so popular that the day is an official holiday in many places across the globe, including Malaysia, Singapore, and Sri Lanka. While the night sky is lit up with colourful sparkles, will you pledge to make this festive season more meaningful?

happy-diwali

Akshaya Patra, a children’s NGO in India, urges you to opt for a noise-free Diwali by choosing a box of sweets over fireworks, or by donating to children’s charity fund instead of wasting on firecrackers. Through our Mid-Day Meal Programme, we provide nutritious meals to over 1.6 million school children on every school day. This Diwali, you can pledge to support these children by lighting the lamp in your heart. With a small contribution, you can help children continue their education!

Sponsor a child and win tax exemptions!

If you are planning to do some charity this Diwali, Akshaya Patra could be your answer! Every donation of Rs 500 or above to Akshaya Patra is eligible for 100% tax exemption under section 35 AC or 50% tax exemption under Section 80 G of the Indian Income Tax.

This year, let’s embrace the spirit of Diwali with a spark! Choose whether you want to celebrate with box of fireworks or with a box of sweets. Be a part of the change and support Akshaya Patra’s food for education initiative today.

Akshaya Patra Bags Kalam Memorial Award 2016

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In one of the recent non-profit news, Akshaya Patra has been highlighted for its contribution to society. On October 15, 2016, Akshaya Patra, a children charity foundation, was awarded the prestigious ‘Kalam Innovation in Governance Award 2016’ (KIGA 2016). This was the 1st Edition of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Memorial Summit which was held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.

Shri Bharatarshabha Dasa, Director – Relationships of Akshaya Patra received the award on behalf of Akshaya Patra from Mr Alok Ranjan, Chairperson of Kalam Centre and Former Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh. The award which is given out in the memory of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam recognises organisations that have contributed to the development of the state. “We feel honoured to receive the 1st Edition of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Memorial Award for ‘Innovation in Governance’ category. This award will inspire us to reach out to more children,” said Shridhar Venkat, CEO of Akshaya Patra.

Akshaya Patra operates the world’s largest Mid-Day Meal Programme is grateful to be one of the recipients of the award. We would like to thank the Kalam Summit and its panel for recognising Akshaya Patra’s role in building a better future for children, improving governance and delivering value.

For more, visit our nonprofit news section.

10 Ingredients that make Mid-Day Meal a Healthy Eat!

The 21st century has made us more food conscious than ever. We take interest in understanding the importance of healthy food, nutrition intake, and calories and so on. To simplify the food theories, we have even created food pyramids and graphs based on age groups. Today, we all know what kind of food is acceptable for children and what isn’t.

As an NGO, Akshaya Patra aims to feed the children the right amount of mid-day meals with sufficient nutritional values. We believe mid-day meal benefits every child. Before we share our little secret on keeping children healthy, here’s a bit of history on Nutrition. The word ‘Nutrition’ means ‘nourishment’ and first originated in Latin during early 15th century. Centuries later, when hunger was identified as an issue, a prefix Mal which means ‘bad’ was used to describe poor nutritional levels – malnutrition.

For Akshaya Patra, it is important that children receive the right amount of nutrients in their food. Here’s a list of ingredients used in mid-day meals along with their nutrition value:

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To break the cycle of hunger among children, a country must do a lot – introduce nutritional school lunch programmes, ensure initiatives are reaching the target group, prioritise education, stabilise low-income families with subsidies and health care benefits, and many more. Akshaya Patra’s menu of mid-day meals is such that it covers the basics of nutrition intake and calories, making it one of the best diets for children!

Besides clothing and shelter, food is one of the basic needs for humans. We have reached a point in time where most of us are able to afford these basic needs however, lack of food among children continues to be a persistent issue. Let’s act to ensure children receive the two most important elements that can help them grow – food and education. Sponsor a child by donating Rs 950 and be assured that he or she will receive wholesome mid-day meals for an entire academic year!

Akshaya Patra Wins Lean Six Sigma Award 2016

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During the 10th Lean Six Sigma National Level Competition, 2016 held by The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Akshaya Patra was presented the Lean Six Sigma Award. This award recognises establishments that have successfully implemented Six Sigma techniques in improving working and production processes effectively.

The two-day competition was held in Bengaluru from September 1 to 2, 2016 and the panel witnessed participation from many renowned companies. Akshaya Patra presented the idea alongside many establishments and is one of the NGOs to be awarded for implementing Six Sigma techniques.

Akshaya Patra has won many awards. To have a look, visit: NGO Awards

Eliminating Hunger is a Crucial Step for India

The Global Hunger Index (a tool designed to measure global hunger) released by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) shows that India ranks 97 out of 118 countries – ‘Serious’ hunger. As many as 43 countries are under the ‘Serious’ category whereas 45 countries are low. For India to tackle the hunger problem by feeding the hungry, the current policies have schemes have to be more stringent and accessible to people in need.

While the government and many NGOs are working towards feeding the children with wholesome meals, there is a need for us to act together as a society. Given the number of children who require food in our country, Akshaya Patra, a children’s NGO based out of Bengaluru, is providing healthy meals to over 1.6 million school children in 11 states in India. The Foundation is also focusing on reaching out to 5 million children by 2020.

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Why should we focus on children’s food demands?

Children are the future. Considering the magnitude of hunger problem in India, many NGOs are setting up initiatives to eliminate hunger especially among children – they are stunted, poorly nourished and do not receive one square meal a day. Going by the GHI score, 38.7% of children below five years are stunted – it means that the weight is not appropriate for their height (they are too thin). In 1992, this score was 61.9. That’s a difference of 23.2% in the last 24 years.

With an initiative like ‘Food for Education,’ by Akshaya Patra, the advantages are doubled to make hunger a history – the child is educated and also, he or she is completely nourished with nutritious meals.

Inclusive development and addressing issues using this method is more important for India. That is, simultaneously focus on development of education, citizens’ rights, health care, housing facilities, job opportunities and so on. However, when one issue is looked down as least important, it multiples and becomes far more challenging.

Here’s what you can do to eliminate hunger in India

It has been proved over and again that India has sufficient resources to eliminate hunger. However, the existing challenges are a drawback. Distribution of food among families with low-income, building infrastructure to reach certain towns and villages, educating the farmers, ensuring fair-trade are some of the challenges.

Akshaya Patra’s school lunch programme benefits children from many small towns and villages to consume a square meal on every school day. Today, the organisation reaches out to 13,210 schools to feed the children. Keeping hygiene and quality in mind, mid-day meals are freshly prepared and are delivered to schools during lunch time.

You can get involved in this cause too! Contribute to the cause by sponsoring a child’s mid-day meals for an entire year. Also, you can learn how Akshaya Patra operates its Mid-Day Meal Programme by visiting our blog.

A Story of a Girl to Become a Lawyer

They say lawyers around the world are sentinels of justice and it is important that every country gets sincere lawyers to defend citizens’ cause. An Akshaya Patra’s beneficiary’s dream belongs here and the organisation takes pride in sharing children’s success stories.

saraswathi

Meet the 12-year-old Saraswathi who dreams of becoming a lawyer to protect the rights of citizens. She studies in Std VI at Kannavi Honnapura Higher Primary School, Hubballi in Karnataka. Saraswathi says she would like to uphold the most vital aspect of being a legal professional –honesty. “I want to be a good lawyer. I will not accept bribes. I will stand for justice. I will remain true to my profession,” she says.

(Full Story: https://www.akshayapatra.org/stories-of-children/aspiring-lawyer-saraswathi)

Like most children, uniforms hold an appeal for Saraswathi too. She says “The lawyer’s robe signifies their power. Wearing a lawyer’s uniform will fill me with greater pride for my profession.” The Akshaya Patra Foundation serves mid-day meals in her school and many students including Saraswathi are humbled by the organisation’s service. With smile she says, “I like the food served, since it is warm and fresh. I especially like the Pulao. The lunch makes me happy and is one of the reasons I like coming to school.”

Akshaya Patra, an NGO in Hubballi and other parts of the country, wishes all the best for Saraswathi’s future endeavours. Join Akshaya Patra in bringing children closer to happiness through mid-day meals.

Are Mid-Day Meals Playing a Role in a Student’s Academics?

In the last five decades, literacy has evolved and shaped India in many facets – be it industrialisation, per capita or even the standard of living, literacy takes the credit. When you examine the literacy graph of India and compare numbers, the gradual developments bring a smile – thanks to the government benefits and donations for education in India. While there are many factors that play a role in achieving 100% literacy rate, a children’s NGO, Akshaya Patra, is focusing on enabling a student’s academic performance through food for education initiative – the Mid-Day Meal Programme.

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Implemented in 2000, Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme (food for education initiative) is now the world’s largest NGO-run feeding initiative based out of Bengaluru in Karnataka. Every day, over 1.6 million children are benefitted through this programme which prepares and delivers fresh-nutritious food to 13,260 schools at lunch time.

Here’s a quick look at two main factors that affect a student’s academic performance:

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Learning facilities and environment: It’s rather difficult to expect a child to learn in a classroom without sufficient study materials (text books, notepads, pen, and etcetera) and grasp lessons. It’s more problematic if the school is set up in a noisy surrounding and the exchange between teacher and students is put to a stop. While the government is making continuous efforts to provide provisions to children and build better infrastructure, many NGOs, with the help of education donations, have sprung to lend help to the government in ensuring children excel in their academics.

koti-with-grandmother-uncle

Socio-economic status: In many scholarly articles and research studies, it has been proved over and again that the socio-economic status of a family is an integral criterion for student’s performance – this includes the family members’ occupation and revenue which defines the economic condition. Akshaya Patra enables many families by providing a resource to their children – mid-day meals – which in turn lessens the strain of feeding a stomach in the house. To ensure the child does not have to bear the responsibilities of earning, the Foundation through its programme encourages every child to attend school and also be assured to eat healthy meals.

Why are Mid-Day Meals a boon to children?

It is a resource that stabilises education.  But along with it come nutrition, good health and well-being, academic achievement and quality performance.  Akshaya Patra, with its dynamic initiative to provide food for education, has reached the milestone of serving more than 2 billion meals in the last 16 years. This milestone is a greater encouragement for the Foundation to continue its mission.

Yes, mid-day meals are a boon to children and for the nation. Here’s why:

– More children enrol in schools
– Promotes socialisation among children
– Reduces classroom hunger
– Enhances a student’s performance (academic, sports and cultural)

A quick thought for the mind: Post-independence, India faced many challenges in the field of Growth and Development. However, through numerous benefit schemes and opportunities, we as nation, are witnessing change in every field. Akshaya Patra’s initiative too intends change.

We believe every child deserves a fair chance and there is nothing more important than imparting education. Donate for education in India by joining Akshaya Patra in making every school a model of literacy development.

Pledge to Support a Girl Child This Dussehra

We often feel fortunate about living in the 21st century. Life has become as simple as it could ever be and the least one has to do is install an app to get his work done in a fraction of seconds. But, sadly in many parts of the world, nothing has been improved for girls yet. A UN report stated that worldwide, around 700-million girls did not have a right to decide when to marry and they are married as children. Early marriage leads to early pregnancy and hence weak health among girls. Often the reason for such a situation is lack of awareness and education.

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Why should you support a Girl Child?

Perspectives are changing with each passing year. From families’ abandoning the idea of girl child to now accepting the gender and providing equal importance, there has been a positive change. There are many charitable organisations that undertake initiatives to kindle awareness and gender equality by setting out programmes of employment, empowerment and education for girls. Also, there are many girls who have been benefitted by educational schemes and programmes.

Dussera is round the corner in India, and it is a symbol of the victory of truth, honesty and good against lies, deceit and evil. This year, it coincides with the International Day of the Girl Child on October 11, 2016. The purpose of this day is to run the mission of gender equality by 2030 by developing awareness of the importance of nurturing a girl child.

How can you make a difference this Dussehra?

Education for Girl: In order to create a literate, healthy and strong society, it is as important to educate a girl as it is for a boy. Education becomes a strong foundation for girls to improve their status in the society, stay aware about their lives, decide for their life and support the income generation in families. Educating a girl creates self-awareness and empowers other women and the society as well. Spreading awareness and promoting education is a way through which you can be a part of the celebration of International day of The Girl as well as Dussehra. You may simply sponsor a school for a year so more and more girls are encouraged to attend school.

Healthy and Nutritious Food: Girls and women in some families are deprived of healthy and sufficient meal. It’s not because they do not have access to food but due to lack of awareness since women are not the bread-earners in many households. This practice adversely affects girls’ as well as women’s health. The status can be improved, by providing food to girl children in schools and anganwadi centers or by volunteering.

Akshaya Patra is a philanthropic organisation that runs Mid-Day Meal Programme, in active collaboration with the government, for children in India who are deprived of education and food. The trust has its branches in 10 states in the country from where it caters to the needs of nutritious meals.  You have the option of contributing or donating a small fraction of the income in feeding a child throughout his/her education. This Dussera, let’s support a girl child by taking the responsibility of her one-time meal.

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This way you also get to donate for education in India as many children are deprived of education and nourishment. The trust, with the support of social enthusiasts and philanthropists, becomes successful in delivering food to millions of children and yet there are millions left who don’t go to school but strive hard for meals. You can reach them with meals. You may simply choose to donate online.

History of Mid-Day Meals in India

Madras Corporation under the British Empire initiated the Mid-Day meal Programme in 1925. Later, after independence, Tamil Nadu was the first state to run the programme in 1963, by supplying free lunches in government schools, government-aided schools and anganwadi centers. According to the legacy of mid-day meal in India, British administration formed the foundation for supplying food across the government schools for primary and upper-primary children. Subsequently, Government of India started the school meal programme to improve nutritional status of children and stop child labour. Akshaya Patra today actively works with the Indian government in supplying meals at a larger scale and is on a mission to eradicate undernourishment nationwide.

This year, Dussera brings us an opportunity of true celebration of the festival by truly fighting against the evil of illiteracy and undernourishment, and contributing towards creating a healthier, safer society for girls. This year let’s begin the celebration with the joy of giving something to society, contributing in its welfare and supporting a girl child.

Sources: unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/girl-child

un.org/en/events/girlchild/

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midday_Meal_Scheme#History