Two billion meals and counting. One of the greatest achievements of Akshaya Patra during 2016 was undoubtedly the feeling of reaching this number that got us all thrilled and excited. We became conscious that 2016 was just one of the several years that has contributed towards reaching out to millions of children through Food for Education initiative. It was a result of year-to-year and day-to-day hard work of several people. The Akshaya Patra Foundation celebrated the serving of 2 billion meals, in the presence of Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Honourable 13th President of India in August 2016.
Methodical approach to reaching out children
As we surged ahead to achieve our targets in 2016, we kept our eyes on a very methodical approach to achieving goals. Akshaya Patra didn’t start off as simply a children’s charity. We knew the depth of the problem of hunger among children and so we started from the root.
On October 15, 2016, The Akshaya Patra Foundation was awarded the prestigious Kalam Innovation in Governance Award 2016 (KIGA 2016). The award was presented during the 1st Edition of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Memorial Summit on ‘Innovation in Governance’ held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. Though our children’s charity bagged several awards such as AVA Digital Award, Six Sigma Award, Nikkei Asia Award, this specific award on governance inspired us the most to reach out more and more children and set loftier goals.
More centralised kitchens in 2017
The largest Akshaya Patra kitchen can cook nearly 100,000 meals every morning. Currently 25 centralised (automated) kitchens and 2 decentralised kitchens are established across India. This has been made possible due to several charity donations through which people have sponsored kitchen equipment to expand our reach. A similar initiative was taken in December 2016 when Akshaya Patra and the Infosys Foundation laid the first foundation stone of Telangana’s first high-tech, Centralised Mega Kitchen in Khandi. The Infosys Foundation had given away Rs 18.03 crores, generously as charity donation committing to cover the entire construction cost of this kitchen, which will use highly advanced technology. Over 1,00,000 children in Telangana will be fed nutritious mid-day meals prepared in this kitchen, beginning the next academic year.
And now Akshaya Patra is all set to feed its nutritious mid-day meals to a greater number of beneficiaries in Uttar Pradesh (U.P). The Foundation will launch 11 new kitchens in the state. The groundbreaking ceremony for the same was performed by Honourable Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Akhilesh Yadav on December 26, 2016 at Lok Bhavan, New Secretariat, Lucknow. These new kitchens will be established in the districts of Varanasi, Ghaziabad, Agra, Allahabad, Kanpur, Etawah, Kannauj, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Rampur and Ballia.
In U.P, Akshaya Patra currently feeds 1,05,000 children and 66,000 children from its Vrindavan and Lucknow kitchens respectively, totalling to 1,71,000 children across 3021 schools. The introduction of the 11 new kitchens will take its nutritious meals to a total of 13 lakh or 1.3 million beneficiaries every day in the state, making this the Foundation’s largest intervention in India. Thus, every kitchen will feed over 1 lakh children from the next academic year.
All these initiatives have been happening with the help of several volunteers, Akshaya Patra staff, the Government of India and hundreds of donors. Like every year, Akshaya Patra has published audit reports keeping the finances transparent. Our charity donations are as per the rules of tax exemption in India and we keep our donors in the loop as to how their money is spent. You can join hands with us as we strive for another fruitful year of our quest for curbing hunger among children.