The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an NGO in India implementing the Mid-Day Meal Programme for the past 17 years. The very establishment of this NGO was based on the vision, ‘No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger’, implying that food and education are vital for the proper growth of children; and healthy and educated children are a sign of a progressive society.
Akshaya Patra commenced the Mid-Day Meal Programme from Karnataka’s Bengaluru location in June 2000 by providing school lunch to 1,500 children in five government schools. Over the years, the Foundation has strategically expanded its reach across the length and breadth of the country, impacting millions of young lives.
The impact of the NGOs’ school lunch programme becomes evident in the conclusion of many studies done in association with third-party research agencies. The impact studies conducted at regular intervals indicate that the mid-day meal has significantly increased school attendance and enrolment, decreased drop-out rate, improved health, as well as enhanced socialisation among children. This has also been acceded by school teachers and headmasters of beneficiary schools across the country. Appreciating the Mid-Day Meal Programme:
Ismail Malik, Principal, Antti Kumar Prathamik Shala, Padra Taluk, Vadodara, Gujarat said, “The mid-day meal has brought a tremendous decline in the student drop-out rate. In the primary school, the increase in attendance is nearly as high as 60% to 70%. The numerous awards that now decorate the school office are a testimony to this.”
G Ranganath, Head Master, Government High School, Policy Colony, Karnataka said, “The government, by partnering with organisations like Akshaya Patra have ensured that children receive tasty and nutritious meals. The programme has been successful in reducing child labour and improving school enrolment and attendance.”
In an effort to ensure overall development for children, this Indian NGO has also taken various ‘beyond the meals’ initiatives alongside its core school lunch programme.
This NGO in India has seen the tangible result of the Mid-Day Meal Programme and to multiply its impact and benefit more children:
Presently, Akshaya Patra provides mid-day meals to 17,12,460 children studying in 14,173 schools in 36 locations across 12 states of India.
The Foundation aims to increase this reach to millions more. A humongous task indeed, but possible to achieve with the support of everyone! There are many ways by which you can transform young lives: sponsor a child, become an Akshaya Patra Ambassador, volunteer with the organisation, be an online mascot, be a CSR partner, celebrate special occasions with the organisation, and spread the word about the Foundation’s cause.
In conclusion, by providing a meal per day to each of the 1.7 million children, Akshaya Patra is nurturing young individuals who are cognisant of their current unfavourable situations and have all the willpower and zeal to make their future better. It is creating a sustainable change for the whole society by developing generations of abled and dependable individuals whose resolute will take the society and the nation in the path of progress and prosperity. By associating with Akshaya Patra you too can be a strong link in the chain of change-makers.
Choose to sponsor a child. Choose to support their meal. Choose to uphold determined dreams.