Akshaya Patra – an NGO in India serving food for education!

When we hold a flipped coin within our palms, we can see only one side of the coin. And the visible side decides the winner of the toss. Similarly, when we look around us, we only see one side of India and conveniently ignore the other. But it’s about time we take a look on both the sides because that’s where the real solution for a progressed and developed nation is hidden!

‘Meals of hope’ served by Akshaya Patra!

Considered as the world’s largest democracy, today India is a rising economy and an emerging power. It has achieved several global laurels in almost all areas of sports, business, technology, and talent. At the same time, it is also struggling to keep up with indicators to ensure accessibility of food, health, and education for all. In a scenario like this, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO in India is relentlessly striving each day to counter ill health and illiteracy with wholesome food.

Food for education

It is not an unknown occurrence that when hunger strikes even the fittest person fails to deliver his share of work. So, the question is, can we expect children to learn and perform in empty stomachs? This is where Akshaya Patra’s role become significant as it provides food for education. A large section of children in India has to constantly make a choice between work and school because hunger plays the spoiler. These children have aspirations alike any other children who are privileged to attend school without a second thought; but what amongst the former is lack of basic amenities. For such children, a free meal initiates their steps towards school.

As an NGO in India for children, Akshaya Patra is cognisant of the crucial role school meals play in schooling of children from challenging backgrounds. This meal not only fills up their stomachs but also nurtures their young minds with determination, confidence, and hope. By attending school regularly, children become ever more certain that their aspirations are achievable and that a much better and brighter future lies ahead of them. These meals support health and education of children empowering them to be resourceful and self-dependent citizens of the country.

It was in 2000 when Akshaya Patra first served food for education for 1,500 children in five schools of Bengaluru; and since then there has been no looking back. With strategic planning, operational efficiency, hygiene and cleanliness standards, and sustainable expansion, this NGO in India currently provides school meals to 17,65,597 children each school day in 12 states.

Read More : https://www.akshayapatra.org/about-us

When you step in, wonders happen!

Charity is always appreciated and when it is about providing something as basic as food to a child, it becomes dearer. When you sponsor a child, you uphold their childhood; you convey to them, ‘there’s someone who cares’. Unless we take care of children right from the grass root level, it is impossible to achieve the status of a developed nation. Quoting Mother Teresa here, she said, If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” Thus, if each one of us sponsor a child, then it is indeed possible to create a New India with an universal side – healthy, educated, and prosperous!

 

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.

NGO in Odisha and its mid-day meal impact

NGO in Odisha

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, is a mid-day meal NGO headquartered in Bangalore, Karnataka. It implements the Mid-Day Meal Scheme across 12 states of India. It began its journey as an NGO in Odisha in the year 2006 by establishing its centralised kitchen in Puri. Since then the NGO is strategically expanding its reach and over the years it has established centralised kitchens in Rourkela and Bhubaneswar, along with starting decentralised kitchens in Nayagarh.

Each school working day, Akshaya Patra provides healthy, nutritious, and locally palatable meals to 1,61,241 children studying in 1,586 government schools across the state. The below table shows the location-wise reach of Akshaya Patra in Odisha:

mid-day meal in Odisha

By providing mid-day meal in Odisha, Akshaya Patra is striving to support education and uphold the dreams and hopes of children. Hence, to ensure that every child readily consumes the meal and receives adequate nutrition, Akshaya Patra has designed its meal menu for Odisha children based on their local taste including items such as rice barabati (an Odia dry vegetable dish), dalma (an authentic Odia dish made of lentil), along with other items such as rice, rajma mix sabji (a dish made of kidney beans and vegetables), white lobia curry (black-eyed peas curry), mix vegetable curry, aloo matar paneer curry (a curry made of potatoes, peas, and cottage cheese), aloo soya chunk matar curry (a curry made of potatoes, soya chunk, and peas), and kheer (rice-based sweet dish).

What happens when children are nourished every day?

Beneficiaries

Yes, when children are nourished with healthy meals and nurtured with education, they get the confidence to dream. It makes their determination stronger and firmer. It not only supports their physical and cognitive development but also gives them the hope that their future is better and brighter. To know the children of Odisha and their dreams more closely, click here.

You can create an impact too

With the support of the Central Government of India and the State Government of Odisha along with philanthropic partners such as Rourkela Steel Plant, The Kusuma Trust (UK), RC Infinity Foundation (Kolkata), LIC Golden Jubilee Foundation, NALCO, and the Odisha Mining Corporation, and benevolent donors, Akshaya Patra has by far been able to impact 1,61,241 children in the state. But, there are many more children to be reached.

Join the efforts of the Government and Akshaya Patra to transform live s of children and create a better society. Choose to donate for a child. It just takes Rs. 1,100 to provide unlimited food for education to a child for an entire school year. Make an everlasting change. Act now!

The First Learners – Akshaya Patra Documentary 2018

Through the voice of beneficiaries and teachers from Sundargarh district in Odisha, ‘The First Learners’ gives us an insight into what education means to children living around the forest regions and what the teachers hope to incorporate to provide them a holistic education.

Documentary of Shankar – An Aspiring Police Officer

I am Shankar Hazarika – a film by Akshaya Patra features a 10-yr-old beneficiary from Silguri, Assam – a village mostly of fishermen. Shankar is the youngest in the family and his ambition is to become a police offer. His father is fisherman who depends on the mighty Brahmaputra River.

How Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meal impact education in India

Mid-day meal impact

Until our stomach is full, the mind is pre-occupied with the thought of food – it is a fact! So, do you think it is possible for young children to concentrate in the classroom and focus on school activities when their stomachs are growling with hunger?

Aside from being an important aspect in the growth and development of children, food is also a prerequisite for effective education. And, that’s where the Mid-Day Meal Scheme come into the picture. The Mid-Day Meal Scheme is an initiative of Government of India to provide cooked meals to the children of government schools and government-aided schools. Over the years, this Scheme has become a significant pillar and a prime influence on the progress of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan. Several NGOs have partnered with the government to implement this Scheme across the country, and one such NGO is The Akshaya Patra Foundation. This NGO has been providing school midday meal since 2000. Presently, it serves mid-day meals to more than 1.7 million children in 14,173 schools of 36 locations in 12 states of India.

In most instances, it has been observed that school meal acts as an incentive for families of not-so-privileged backgrounds. Parents send their children to school with the hope that the young members will at least get one proper meal for the day. This provides an opportunity to the children to attend school thereby benefitting them doubly with nutritious food and rightful education. Thus, as part of self-assessment, Akshaya Patra periodically conducts third-party studies to understand the impact and opportunities of the mid-day meal programme. The summary of many such impact studies indicate:

  • There has been an increase in enrolment of children
  • Regularity and attendance among students is on the rise
  • Student drop-out rate has decreased
  • There has been a significant improvement in the health of children
  • The level of concentration among children has improved
  • There is an enhanced sense of social equity and socialisation among children

As a mid-day meal NGO, Akshaya Patra understands the need to remain transparent about its operations and developments with the government and civil society. Thus, it annually publishes the NGO Annual Report containing audited financial statements, organisational highlights, achievements, plans, and goals along with the impact it has had on the beneficiaries.

Interestingly, Akshaya Patra implements the mid-day meal programme with the vision that ‘No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger’. This itself indicates that the NGO strives to provide nutritious school midday meals to children in order to support their education. Step in to support the efforts of this mid-day meal NGO. Choose to donate for education in India through Akshaya Patra. This will not only support the education of children but will also contribute to their healthy growth and development. So, join hands with Akshaya Patra and provide ‘unlimited food for education’.

UP’s Education Status – Enrolment, Dropouts and Mid-day Meal

Mid-day meal in UP

Uttar Pradesh is not only the most populous state of India but also home to India’s largest child population with 200 million aged between five and 14 years. This indicates that Uttar Pradesh will soon add 200 million people to the Indian workforce. But, whether they will be assets or liabilities depends on their current health, education, and developmental status. So, let’s quickly review the current educational scenario in Uttar Pradesh.

Education in UP

The Government has taken several steps to improve this critical situation in the state, and one of the important interventions is the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. The provision of mid-day meal in UP was introduced in September 2004. And, currently, this scheme benefits over 123.57-lakh students in 1,14,125 primary schools and 54.94-lakh students in 54,394 upper primary schools in the state. Along with government efforts, NGOs such as The Akshaya Patra Foundation has also stepped in to extend the benefits of mid-day meal in UP. And, over the years, it has been observed that the Mid-Day Meal Scheme has had a tangible impact on the school enrolment, attendance, and health of the students.

Akshaya Patra, an Indian mid-day meal NGO made its foray into Uttar Pradesh in August 2004 by establishing a centralised kitchen facility in Vrindavan. Gradually, in March 2015, the Foundation established itself as an NGO in Lucknow with its second centralised kitchen in the state to serve the school children in Lucknow. Both the kitchens are ISO 22000:2005 certified and together they are providing freshly cooked nutritious school lunch to 2,11,680 children in 3,021 schools of the state. The menu of mid-day meal in UP consists of locally palatable roti-subzi (Indian flatbread with mixed vegetable curry) along with other native food items so that maximum children eat their school lunch readily and joyfully.

According to a third party assessment of the Mid-Day Meal Programme run by Akshaya Patra revealed that there is a positive trend on the studied variables: elimination of classroom hunger, social equity, nutrition and health, enrolment, retention, and attendance. The report studied eight locations of Akshaya Patra and the overall score of Uttar Pradesh was 9.43 on a scale of 10. This indicates that while there is a visible change in the health and education scenario, there is also ample opportunity to multiply the impact.

The Government and NGOs are doing their bit to improve the current educational situation of Uttar Pradesh. But, as members of the same land, we too are responsible to uplift the society. Donate to charity and partake in the efforts to empower children. Even if we can improve the lives of at least a fraction of the 200 million children, it will be a significant move towards progress. Our contribution and participation have the potential to transform millions of young lives. So let’s wholeheartedly pitch in to make the children of Uttar Pradesh assets for the state and the nation!

National Education Day: There’s a need to strengthen educational institutions

National Education Day

The National Education Day, the annual observance to commemorate the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first education minister of independent India. It is the day commemorated to strengthen the educational institutions in the country and raise the quality of education.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad served from August 15, 1947 to February 2, 1958. He laid foundations of the education system after the country became independent. He was instrumental in establishing national education system wherein free and compulsory education, until the age of 14, was introduced. An institution like Indian Institutes of Technology was also brought in under his guidance in the year 1951. He introduced University Grants Commission in 1953. His contribution in the development of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and the Faculty of Technology of the Delhi University has been phenomenal. He gave importance to adult literacy.

The late South African President and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela said: ‘‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’’ Mandela hit the nail on the head in a way that the informed individuals understand their rights and duties.

Role of NGOs is crucial in ensuring that no one is left out of the education system. The Akshaya Patra Foundation has been playing a major role in ensuring that children stay in school and hence, it today reaches over 1.6 million children across the country.

The objective of celebrating the National Education Day should be to strengthen our educational institutions and raise the quality of education. It should be an occasion to remember Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s contribution in laying the foundations of the education system in Independent India as well as to evaluate performance in this field. This would go a long way in advancing India as a knowledge economy and society.

It’s also an occasion to focus on finding means to educate the people left out of the system for various reasons. Any help extended towards achieving this, through NGOs, for instance, are considered tax deductible donations.

For strong institutions and a robust education system, we not only need the adequate infrastructure, but also need good teachers who not only teach what’s prescribed in the syllabus, but are in fact, inspiring and turn the students thinking individuals.

For achieving this, the system needs to ensure that there is the right type of training given to teachers. While Akshaya Patra ensures children attend school every day by incentivising them with food, charity donations from individuals can ensure that this can be minimised.

How NGO’s in Uttar Pradesh is Ensuring Children’s Development?

Educating children and ensuring they remain healthy in the region has been an important goal for NGOs working across the world. Many NGOs in Uttar Pradesh or Bihar are working on the similar lines. This helps in increasing the awareness level of children. Many NGO’s in Lucknow are working towards ensuring that the children get quality food and education.

Education for children

Therefore, NGOs like The Akshaya Patra Foundation are reaching out to children in schools of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh among other states. The foundation is serving wholesome meals to school children. The NGO has a state-of-the-art kitchen in Lucknow from where mid-day meals are supplied to various Government and Government-aided schools in Uttar Pradesh.

This has a deeper implication. When children are motivated to attend schools, they develop dreams and aspirations of a career. Education opens up various subjects and avenues. As a result, children learn about their own inclination towards certain subjects. This in turn helps them to take steps towards a fruitful career in the subject they like.

When the NGO in Uttar Pradesh reaches out to school children, it becomes a part of the children’s growth. Children attending schools regularly discover the charms of science, language, politics, geography or humanities. This encourages them to explore their interests. The foundation laid during the younger days forms is important as that helps the children pick their career choices. The Stories of Hope demonstrate how children relish the opportunities of a great career.

NGOs like Akshaya Patra are taking these aspirations to far-off schools in and around Lucknow. These are areas where access to information is often limited. And so when children are exposed to regular dose of education and knowledge, they heartily appreciate it. The NGO thus calls for donors to sponsor a child and pave a career path for him/her. When donors choose to sponsor a child, they become part of his/her growth and become instrumental in his career development. You can contribute and help these children realise their life’s goals. Sponsor a child today.

Penning A Bright Future with Literacy

penning-a-bright-future-banner

International Literacy Day, observed on September 8 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), commemorates its 50-year anniversary in 2016. This day recognises the importance of literacy and promotes it through engagement on national and international levels. It is being celebrated under the banner ‘Reading the Past, Writing the Future’ this year.

According to the 2011 census, India’s literacy rate was 74.04% (82 .14% among males and 65.46% among females). The nation has made strides in literacy rate, with active efforts from the Government and organisations like The Akshaya Patra Foundation through its initiatives like food for education, but there is still a long way to go. The cause of literacy must certainly be on the top of the agenda for social improvement, as high rates of literacy benefit the individual and society in numerous ways.

Source: To know the ways to improve literacy rate, visit: International Literacy Day