How Akshaya Patra started feeding children in India

“We don’t want to stop. We want to feed as many children as possible.”

Madhu Pandit Dasa, Chairman – The Akshaya Patra Foundation

 In a population of 1.38 billion people, 39% of the total population comprises of children below the age of 18 years; this means there are around 472 million children in India.

Out of every 100 children, only around 32 children complete their school education (District Information System for Education),

out of which,

19.8 million children below the age of 6, do not get the required nutrition (ICDS 2015).

Due to multiple challenges that come from being a child belonging to lower-income sections of the society, children are either sent off to seek work during school hours or would be forced to work with parents to fend for their families. Amongst a few handful of children who were sent to school, they performed poorly in schools due to a short attention span or would immediately drop out in the lure of earning money.

Akshaya patra feeding programme

To change this scenario, the Central Government of India started the Mid-Day Meal Scheme to address the issue of hunger and education. Yet, 50% of India’s children remained undernourished. In the year 2001, mid-day meals were mandated in all Government and Government-aided schools of all the states. With the help of non-profit organisations in India, many children were fed meals in schools. By the end of 2004, 50 million children received school lunches, either provided by the Government or NGO’s working in partnership with the Government. One such NGO in India is The Akshaya Patra Foundation. 

What is the story of Akshaya Patra?

To address the dual challenges of education and hunger in India, The Akshaya Patra Foundation was started in the year 2000 with a vision that ‘No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger.’ It began by serving hot and nutritious school meals to 1,500 children studying in five different schools of Bengaluru, Karnataka. By March 2007, the Foundation was serving wholesome meals in 2,000 schools. As of today, mid-day meals are served to 18,00,907 children studying in 19,039 schools of India. It prepares and serves school meals from centralised kitchens situated in 50 locations and decentralised kitchens situated in two locations, spread across 12 States and 2 Union Territories of India.

Impact of mid-day meals on children

Many studies conducted around the impact of mid-day meals have shown an:

  • Increase in school enrolment rate, both for boys and girls
  • Increase in the attendance rates
  • Decrease in school drop-out rates
  • Improvement in classroom performance
  • Improvement in attention span
  • Improvement in nutritional value & energy

What the students have to say:

Akshaya Patra children

 To read more such stories of beneficiaries of The Akshaya Patra Foundation, click here.

Bring about healthy changes in the lives of children with your donation. When you support Akshaya Patra to provide unlimited food for education to children belonging to challenging backgrounds, you are giving back to society to bring about the above-mentioned changes.

If you have any such stories of children whose lives have changed with mid-day meals, do let us know in the comments section below.

Book a bench to bring children back to school with Akshaya Patra

Remember those whispers during classes, those notebook games, those little help when the teacher asked you a question, quiet attack on the lunch boxes… those were the good old school days with our bench mates!

Even after so many years of graduating from school, the memories are so fresh as if it happened just yesterday. We still smile and feel overwhelmed about those days. And, more often than not, bench mates were a strong motivating factor for us to go back to school the next day. But little did we know then, that for millions of children coming to school acts as a ray of hope for a better future.

In view of this, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a charity for children strives each year to bring back as many children as possible to school. The Foundation is one of the oldest mid-day meal NGOs in India with a history of 18 years in service of children. Presently, the Foundation provides freshly cooked nutritious meals to 17,62,133 children of Government school and Government-aided schools in 42 locations across 12 states in India. The beneficiaries of this NGO hail from socio-economically challenged backgrounds and for them the mid-day meal bridges the distance from their homes to school.

Book a bench to bring children back to school

Studies reveal that mid-day meal is a strong incentive for parents to choose school over labour for their children. This meal programme has also positively impacted the enrolment rate, attendance, health, and performance of children. By bringing children back to school day after day and year after year, the mid-day meal programme promotes continuous schooling. Regular schooling and nutritious meals empower children to become resourceful and independent citizens of the country in future.

With the objective to ensure continuous schooling of its beneficiaries, each year Akshaya Patra conducts the ‘Back to School’ campaign. It is an attempt by the Foundation to garner support from all sections of the society. ‘Book a bench’ through this campaign and support health and education of at least three children among millions of children. Online donations in support of this campaign will instantly ensure a year full of nutritious meals and goodness of learning for many deserving children.

Step forward and support Akshaya Patra, the charity for children that has left no stone unturned to bring more and more children under the ambit of the mid-day meal programme. ‘Book a bench’ now to witness a brighter, better, and transformed India!

What and Why of Children’s Day in India

There’s much happy ring to the greeting – Happy Children’s Day. In India, it’s a special day dedicated to children – a day to recognise children as precious gifts and that they deserve to be cherished. The credit for celebrating children on November 14 every year goes to India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. He was fondly called Chacha Nehru by the children.


November 14 is Nehru’s birthday and he preferred to celebrate it as Children’s Day. He once said: “I like being with children and talking to them and, even more, playing with them. For the moment I forget that I am terribly old and it is very long ago since I was a child.” It’s with this spirit that we undertake food projects with various schools around India and bring mid-day meals with the help of the government to school children.

Many children in India struggle with getting quality food and education, and this is where the role of NGOs has been pivotal. Akshaya Patra is one of the children’s charities that have put a strong foot forward to reach out to more and more children with its Mid-Day Meal Programme. So far, this children’s charitable organisation has reached 13,210 government and government-aided schools in 26 locations across 11 states of India.

Why we must celebrate children?

On Children’s day, various schools and children’s charities organise cultural programmes & competitions to encourage children with getting involved in the fun-filled activities. Serving over 2.12 billion meals to children all over India since 2009, Akshaya Patra has been doing every bit to bridge the gap and help children celebrate various occasions to the fullest. It’s important that we must celebrate Children’s Day because in doing so, we are investing in our own future, our own society. Children are like clay and we have the responsibility of molding them into beautiful pots. 

Akshay Patra gives you a chance to be the child’s ray of hope, add to the moments of joy in their lives and be a part of their growth story. Wondering how? You can write a blog and spread the word about our initiative, or you can engage with us on social media and share our posts with your connections/friends, or you can even create awareness among people through active fundraising campaigns.

Help a child get closer to his dream


Bhanupriya studies at a school in Bengaluru where Akshaya Patra Mid-Day meals are served. She dreams of becoming a doctor and wants to treat poor patients for free. And for that, she knows that she needs to study well and get good grades. So in order to help her achieve this, Akshaya Patra provides her food that is delicious and will help her grow into a healthy being. Just like Bhanupriya, many other children all over India are now getting better food and better education. You too can be someone who could help a child and get him closer from dream to reality.

Sponsor a Child for a Better Future!

Make this Children’s Day more rewarding for someone who is still living in hope of a bright future. While NGOs play their role, they need your support and encouragement as well. You can do that by donating an amount of Rs 950 for a year to begin with, as it would hold immense value for that one child whose life will be impacted for a lifetime. Sponsor a Child TODAY!