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.

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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

This Teacher’s Day, Let’s Make Education Accessible to Children

A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind and touches a heart, it is said. And when children are free to use their hands for writing, their mind for thinking and their heart for learning, true education happens. But many children in India are deprived of education due to inaccessibility to school. They are forced to work to earn their meals. The need to for donation for education in India is a need of the hour.

Teachers day

Every year on Teachers’ Day, we hear amazing tales of extraordinary teachers who chose children charity as a mission of their lives. We learn about some of them who went an extra mile to donate or teach or volunteer for education in India. Many of these set great examples of teaching or doing children charity, became life mentors and brought several children to the light of education.

Our heart especially reaches out to hundreds of dedicated teachers serving in Government or Government-aided schools.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation serves mid-day meals to children in thousands of such schools. The volunteers interact with teachers who freely extend their support to the foundation in serving a wholesome lunch. These teachers encourage children to enjoy their meals and come to the school regularly.

The foundation is observing Hunger Month in September by educating teachers and students about the ill effects of under nourishment. The organisation is spreading awareness about the need to feed the children through charity or donation. We are thankful to teachers who are helping us fight hunger this month.

You may be a teacher or someone who is touched by a teacher’s charity. You may consider helping the society by donating for education in India. All donations with The Akshaya Patra Foundation gain income tax exemption. Donate today.

Role of NGOs in uplifting children

Non-government organisations often take up charity for children because they know children are the future of the nation. There’s a long list of NGOs in Bangalore that are involved in the causes related to children.

mid-day meal in school

Among them is a prominent NGO in Bangalore, Akshaya Patra that provides food and education to children through charity resources. This specific charity for children aims at reducing classroom hunger, thereby, bringing children to schools. NGOs like this are playing a crucial role in eradicating both hunger and illiteracy among children. The NGO in Bangalore follows a certain guideline which is used while preparing a wholesome lunch in their kitchen. With its state-of-the-art kitchens that prepare hygienic food, the NGO ensures that more and more schools are added in the list of serving the food in Bangalore schools.

This cause also encourages parents to send their children to school and gives them an equal opportunity to study as well as get a healthy meal. Akshaya Patra believes that both physical and mental growth of children could be stunted if they are not served nutritious food.

Even as the government in India strives to make primary education free and compulsory for children, school drop-out rate continues to rise. And the major cause of this rise is classroom hunger. The only effective way to eliminate this cause is to serve wholesome mid-day meals in schools so children are motivated to attend schools every day.

The NGO gives its well-wishers an opportunity to contribute towards this charity by inviting online donations, encouraging people towards online fundraising campaigns and partnering with corporate sector for resources and volunteers. You can also play a major role in helping NGOs such as Akshaya Patra by choosing to contribute in whatever way you can. Sponsor a child today!

 

This NGO in Ahmedabad wants to take children back to school

Zinkal Wariya is a beneficiary of an NGO that serves mid-day meals in schools of Ahmedabad. A student of standard VIII at Bhadaj village in Ahmedabad, Zinkal wishes to join the army in future. Apart from sports and her passion, she looks forward to school for the nutritious mid-day meals served by an Indian charitable trust. She knows the day menus now that involve daal bhaat, subzi-roti, khichdi, sukhdi, daal dhokli and the likes.

Donate for a cause

Like Zinkal, several children in Ahmedabad are motivated to come to school regularly because they are being served nutritious meals every day by the NGO in Ahmedabad Akshaya Patra. These children today feel fearless about their future because they don’t go back home empty stomach and have enough energy to study throughout the day. Their basic nutrition needs are fulfilled to a great extent through the healthy meals served by the Indian charitable trust. This NGO in Ahmedabad also serves children across India.

Through this, the NGO in Ahmedabad aims to address both hunger and education for children. The NGO is targeting remote schools in Ahmedabad in order to reach out to more and more children with wholesome lunch. For that, the charitable trust needs resources so that Indian children don’t miss schools due to hunger.

Donating to a charity like this should come more like a responsibility towards an educated society for future. Children who grow up having nutritious food and valuable exposure to education found a more civilised and a more sensible society. As adults, they would be motivated to educating their children to make India a developed society. Such a society is able to nurture innovators and positive influencers who have the power to change the world.

The NGO is committed to bring more children to schools in Ahmedabad. Your contribution would help them in their endeavour Donate to this Indian Charitable Trust.