Ensure right to education for every child in India – Support ‘Back to School’

Children at school and children outside school – the two states into which India stands divided at the moment. But the good news is, this can be altered with focussed, intensive, and collective effort of government, NGOs, business community, and the civil society. Yes, when each segment of the society come together, millions of children from challenging backgrounds get a chance to attend school and continue their education by coming back to school each academic year.

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world

Akshaya Patra’s effort

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a mid-day meal NGO in India has been supporting education of children by providing them with freshly cooked nutritious meals on each school day. The Foundation has been able to benefit more and more children in a sustainable way and looks forward to further expand the school meal programme. Over the past 18+ years of its service, Akshaya Patra has witnessed transformational change in the lives of its beneficiaries.

CURRENT REACH OF AKSHAYA PATRA 17,62,133
children
15,024
Government schools & Government-aided schools
42

Locations

12
states

It has also contributed to the overall development of its beneficiaries by initiating various child-centric programmes such as Scholarship Programme, Talent Development Programme, and Student and School Transformation Programme. Since it is important for children to attend school regularly to reap the benefits of these programmes, Akshaya Patra conducts ‘Back to School’ campaign annually. The objective of this campaign is to ensure continuity in education of all the beneficiaries by supporting their school meals for the new academic year.

Your support matters

When you support the ‘Back to School’ campaign, you give children,

  • Access to the much-needed nutritious meals;
  • Opportunity to attend school regularly and complete their education;
  • A platform to explore, learn, and hone their talents;
  • The confidence to achieve their goals and make their lives better by being resourceful.

And, what do you get in return?

  • You get the amazing opportunity to give back to the society.
  • You get a chance to actively involve yourself in the progress of the country.
  • You become a valuable link in the chain of changemakers.
  • You become eligible to receive tax benefits under Section 80G of the Indian Income Tax Act for your donated amount.

ACT to make a difference

Malala Yousafzai precisely said, “Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world.” Thus, more the number of children you bring back to school, greater is the impact. Spread the message of the need of nutrition and education in proper growth of children and steady progress of the nation. It’s time, India must stand united to bring equality in health and education of children. And, to attain this desirable state, generosity has to be combined with concerted effort. So, act now. Donate for children.

Her story teaches you two life lessons – to dream big and to save water!

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Vidhi is a student of Class VII in Surat, Gujarat. Her story was documented by Akshaya Patra, an NGO in Surat which provides mid-day meals to over 1.6 million children in India.

Today – a student, tomorrow – a doctor. That’s Vidhi’s dream. Although she is yet to decide a particular subject to specialize, she is well aware that the path will invite hard work. “I know it will be difficult and I will have to work hard for it, but I am willing to do it,” she says. We believe it’s her determination to experience her dream someday.

Vidhi, like many students, enjoys participating in extracurricular activities such as dancing, drawing and elocution competitions, etc.  The last time she participated in an elocution competition, her topic was ‘The importance of saving water’. “If we stop wasting water by doing something as simple as turning our taps off properly, some of our water scarcity problems will definitely be solved.” She also spoke about implementing drip irrigation system as an effective measure to minimise water usage in agriculture.

As an NGO in Surat, Akshaya Patra which provides mid-day meal is encouraging 1,43,293 children to attend school. Vidhi is also an Akshaya Patra beneficiary, who apart from receiving education also enjoys nutritious mid-day meals. She says, “The food provided to us is good for health as it contains many nutrients required by our body. We get soybean, Dal Bhaat, Dal Dhokli, Thepla, etc. I like soybean and Dal the most, but I also like other food items that we get.”

Vidhi’s father works in a mall, while her mother works as a house help. Because the day begins early in a hectic situation, there’s an assurance for the family that Vidhi will be given food in school. “Nobody will like it if Akshaya Patra stops providing meals to our school, because then, we will have to get our lunchbox from home and that will be difficult for most of us.”

Read more stories of Akshaya Patra Beneficiaries at: Stories of Children


Akshaya Patra’s primary focus continues to be Mid-Day Meal Programme which aims to end classroom hunger among school going children. In this journey, your contribution will make a difference for many children. You can donate for education in India by choosing to sponsor a child or more!

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

Education For girls— we should stand!

All these years, we have been preaching about empowering our women and saving the girl child from the clutches of gender inequality. But in reality, have we succeeded in reaching our goal?

Student

It’s a reality- we need lots of improvement in several areas including education for girls and nutrition.

It is disturbing to know that still many families prefer boys over girls. Birth of a boy is considered as a blessing, while a girl child is often ignored. Many parents still hesitate to send their girl children to school and marry them off at an early age.

As per the Census in the year 2011, India has only 940 females for every 1000 males.  Female literacy rates have improved over the past 25 years. However, we still have long way to go to match the male literacy rate. Only 65.46% of our females, according to the Census in 2011, were literate compared to 80% of males.

Similarly, undernutrition affects females more than males in India. According to a UNICEF report, 36% of Indian women part of the NFHS-3 (National Health Survey) was chronically undernourished and 55 % were anaemic.  About 68 % of girl children from Bihar and Madhya Pradesh in the NFHS-3 were malnourished.

We already have several schemes to help improve lives of girl children in India, including the two programmes the Government launched in January this year: ‘Beti bachao, beti padhao’ and ‘Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY).’   Other schemes introduced for the welfare of our female population include ‘Nutrition programme for adolescent girls,’ and ‘The Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG) – Sabla.’

Like the Government, efforts by some NGOs like The Akshaya Patra Foundation have also given rays of hope in women and girl children across India.

Akshaya Patra’s nutritious mid-day meals have helped numerous girl children back to school.

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The Akshaya Patra Foundation has also given employment opportunities to rural women. The organisation’s decentralised kitchens are mainly run by Women Self-Help Groups (SHGs), mainly by mothers of children who are studying in the organisation’s beneficiary schools.  The employment at Akshaya Patra, no doubt, has given some kind of financial independence to these mothers.

It does seem days are getting better for the girl child, but our commitment to bridge the gap needs to be stronger and actions to bring changes much faster and then we can really see a nation where girls stand shoulder to shoulder with the boys very soon.