How can parents prepare their child for the school year?

Children are usually both nervous and excited when going back to school after vacation. But if the parents keep their cool and help them, the children can confidently look forward to the new school year. Here are some tips to help you prepare your child:

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Make a supply list

Children dread a scolding or punishment at school over small things like lunch box, shoes or bag. Make sure you create a supply list way ahead of school and have everything ready for the first day. Your role as a parent is similar to the role of several NGOs like Akshaya Patra that are working in India for sending millions of children back to school every year.

Talk to them about their fears

Parents must be clear about what their child is dreading most about school. This will ensure that the children aren’t bullied at school and will give them the confidence to face their fears. Listen to them and ensure that they don’t suffer from separation anxiety as they get into the habit of leaving home every day.

Drop them off the first day

If possible, drop your children on the first day or first week of the school to instil a sense of protection and confidence. Throughout the time, prepare them for school, tell them about the exciting things that await them at school and what all they can do in the new school year.

Involve them for a cause

One of the best ways to make children value education is to get involved in meaningful causes such as donating for mid-day meals in India. You may choose to donate for education in India through online fundraising campaigns with Akshaya Patra. The role of this NGO is to bring dropped-out children back to school by providing them with wholesome meals. You can donate for education in India or involve your children in an online fundraising campaign so that they learn the importance of school.

As you prepare your children for another school year, remember that there are several NGOs working to play a vital role in bringing millions of children back to school. You can contribute as well by simply involving yourself in online fundraising campaign or donating online.

This Holi, Colour a Child’s Life | Donate for a cause

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Celebrated across India with great energy and abundant love, the festival of colours now knocks at your door for a new meaning. Holi 2017 is here and the celebration in India is as exciting! While we create a vibrant atmosphere with colours on this day, let us take a moment to understand how we can make the festival more meaningful.

But before that, why do we celebrate Holi?

A festival for all, Holi marks the arrival of spring with the sky donning a full moon. On this day, farmers come together to offer prayers for a good harvest. The history of Holi from is quite interesting and has great significance; a time when Hiranyakaship’s sister, Holika, protects Prahlad from two obstructions – fire and his father’s pride; depicting a fight of good over evil.

Holi gets its name from this historic event and is in reference with Holika. Even today, many follow the custom of burning Holika’s effigy (known as Holika Dahan). The importance of Holi is not just the fight but letting truth prevail. This Holi, you can pledge to give this day a new meaning – you can help us fight hunger among children.

Being an NGO in India, Akshaya Patra plays the role of children’s guardian. The Foundation provides nutritious mid-day meals to school children and by this, it also encourages children to attend school. Considered as one of the top NGOs in the country, Akshaya Patra reaches out to over 1.6 million school children in India.

How can you make a difference? By supporting a child’s education

As we talk about fighting evil, we would like to highlight the importance of erasing hunger among children. Mid-day meal benefits every child studying in government and government-aided schools while for a few, this meal is the only full meal that they consume for the day.

India is home to millions of malnourished children. To change this condition, many schemes and initiatives have been undertaken by the government and NGOs; Food for Education is one of them. By providing children mid-day meals that are freshly cooked and nutritious, Akshaya Patra aims to achieve two critical UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) – Zero Hunger and Quality Education.

Sponsor a child for year

This Holi, you could take responsibility of a child by donating Rs 950. By contributing this amount, you choose to sponsor the child’s meals for an entire year. Also, the good news is your donation, under section 80G of Income Tax Act, can get you 100% tax exemption benefit. All you have to do is choose to sponsor a child.

For Every Child’s Education in Karnataka!

As a child, what was the first thing you did after waking up? The answers may differ – finish pending homework, get ready in a rush, complain about disappeared items like tie, belt or socks, or help the younger sibling get ready.

For every childs education

For many Akshaya Patra beneficiaries, their morning tales are quite different. While one wakes up to help mother fetch water from a nearby tank, another wakes up to clean the house. Although it’s not a relaxed morning, their energy in classrooms never takes a back seat. While the Government is providing them free education, an NGO in Karnataka is ensuring that they do not drop out of school due to hunger.

Akshaya Patra provides mid-day meals to more than 4 lakh school children in Karnataka. Through this initiative, we have understood the importance of two aspects that eventually orients children’s future – food and education; ones that play a key role in Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme.

Because, children matter

India is home to one-third of the world’s poor and millions of children in the country are away from school to earn a single meal a day. Although hunger is a prevailing condition, we believe there are sufficient resources to provide food for children in the country.

In Karnataka, we began our operations in 2000 and with every passing year, we have expanded our presence in different states. Today, we serve over 1.6 million school children across India. Here are the two recent updates from Akshaya Patra Karnataka:

  1. Taste of Joy in Bengaluru
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Employees at Global Village Tech Park

The Akshaya Patra food truck was at Global Village Tech Park in RR Nagar, Bengaluru on February 23, 2017, as part of its Taste of Joy initiative. About a 1,000 people working at the tech park got a taste of nutritious meals, served hot! The initiative, besides offering people a taste of the food we prepare, also brings to their notice our cause of Food for Education aimed towards eliminating classroom hunger.

  1. Roti-making machine installed in Ballari
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Inaugurating the Roti making machine 

Recently, we inaugurated our first roti-making machine in South India at Ballari kitchen. The 40-feet machine, donated by Vijaya Bank as part of its CSR activities, is fully automated and has the capacity to produce 20,000 rotis per hour. We would like to thank Vijaya Bank for their generous support towards our Food for Education programme.

You can care for our cause too!

Our focus continues to be hunger relief among school goers through nutritious mid-day meals every day! To ensure that a child is not deprived of education due to hunger, you can contribute Rs 950 to feed a child for an entire year! Donate to charity and get 100% income tax exemption.

Global Hunger Index 2016 Says India is at ‘Serious’ Level

The hunger problem has spread its roots so widely and deeply all around the world that eradication of hunger seems a distant dream without the coherence and cooperation of each one of us. We’ve earned enough of luxury for ourselves but we also need to realize that there’s no better expenditure of money than making a donation to feed the hungry. According to the 2016 Global Hunger Index Report, roughly one in four children is affected by stunting and 8 per cent of children are affected by wasting.

We witness many of them daily and the sight really breaks our heart. But we somehow manage to move on. If everybody starts working towards change, imagine the results? We need to make a paradigm shift and to perfectly exemplify this. Akshaya Patra, an NGO registered under Section 80G of Income Tax Act, has been doing outstanding work since 16 years. If you look at the history of mid-day meal scheme in India, you will notice two important positive results: increase in school enrolment rate and decrease drop-out rates. But there’s still so much to do.

The scourge of global hunger

Hunger is comprehensively measured and tracked at the global, regional, and country levels by a tool called the Global Hunger Index. According to the 2016 GHI Report, ‘Regionally, the highest GHI scores, and therefore the highest hunger levels, are still found in Africa, south of the Sahara and South Asia. As a matter of fact, India, a South Asian country, is a home to 33% of world’s undernourished children. And if our ignorance towards this problem is persistent, we’ll ultimately end up with distressingly high level of hunger around the globe. Now, this is where Akshaya Patra lets and urges us to help those in dire need of our sponsorship with an additional benefit of tax exemption in India. We need to realize our responsibilities towards society and raise funds for children charity.

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The two most critical sustainable goals

By pledging to eradicate undernourishment and provide unlimited food for education, Akshaya Patra targets the two most critical UN sustainable goals: Zero Hunger and Quality Education. The history of mid-day meal tells you that Akshaya Patra has presented a chance to fulfill dreams for those 1.7 million children who are deprived of education because of hunger. The splendid outcomes have made Akshaya Patra well-recognised across the world. With the perpetual expansion of such selfless programmes and philanthropic donors raising children charity open-handedly, the decrement in undernourishment and increment in literacy level is assured.

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A strong stand against all other national challenges

Various inhibitions to development like gender inequality, poverty, crimes, violence etc. are inextricably linked with education. Nelson Mandela realised this long back. He described education as a weapon to change the world and a great way to foster peace in societies. Unfortunately, many children are deprived of education because of financial incapability and social backwardness.

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Let’s embrace the humanitarian core and do some charity donations today, not as a gesture of tokenism but as an ardent yearning to defeat hunger. Make a donation in honour of someone today.

Of Quality Education: what defines quality?

Running a children’s charity would mean providing the little ones the basic necessities of life which they are deprived of for various reasons. Akshaya Patra opened its doors to Indian children in the year 2000 by providing them mid-day meals in government schools and government-aided schools. Vision: No child should be deprived of education because of hunger.

Ever since India began its Mid-Day Meal Scheme, the drop-out rates have decreased and enrolment rates in schools have increased. However, Mid-Day Meal is only one of the factors in making this possible. With the help of central and state governments, Akshaya Patra, an NGO in India, has been providing mid-day meals to school children for the last 16 years.

Now with more and more children in schools, the country is focusing on Quality Education – one of the goals proposed by UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). In 2015, the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) proposed Sustainable Development Goals to 194 countries. Among the 17 aspirational goals with objective to transform the world, the fourth goal is Quality Education. Akshaya Patra is playing a vital role as an NGO in India in education sector, highlights the understanding on Quality Education.

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What is Quality Education?

According to a paper presented by UNICEF, five points define Quality Education.

  • Learners who are healthy, well-nourished and ready to participate and learn, and supported in learning by their families and communities;
  • Environments that are healthy, safe, protective and gender-sensitive, and provide adequate resources and facilities;
  • Content that is reflected in relevant curricula and materials for the acquisition of basic skills, especially in the areas of literacy, numeracy and skills for life, and knowledge in such areas as gender, health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS prevention and peace;
  • Processes through which trained teachers use child-centered teaching approaches in well-managed classrooms and schools and skillful assessment to facilitate learning and reduce disparities;
  • Outcomes that encompass knowledge, skills and attitudes, and are linked to national goals for education and positive participation in society.

(Source: unicef.org/education/files/QualityEducation.PDF)

The first point talks about students who are ‘healthy, well-nourished and ready to participate.’ This very objective is followed by Akshaya Patra in its large-scale feeding initiatives.

Quality Education, we believe leads to remarkable success. With literacy rates rising, we should also focus on providing inclusive and quality education to ensure progress.

UNDP states: “Achieving inclusive and quality education for all reaffirms the belief that education is one of the most powerful and proven vehicles for sustainable development. This goal ensures that all girls and boys complete free primary and secondary schooling by 2030. It also aims to provide equal access to affordable vocational training, to eliminate gender and wealth disparities, and achieve universal access to a quality higher education.”

Akshaya Patra’s Food for Education initiative embraces two most critical sustainable development goals – Zero Hunger and Quality Education. You can show your support by sponsoring a child’s meal for an entire academic year. Make a charity donation and win tax exemption in India.

National Youth Day – Youth are the Change Agents of Tomorrow

Malala Yousufzai was still in her teens when she became the change agent for the world. She chose to change her little world – Swat Valley – first that didn’t have enough freedom of education for the women and children. It cost almost her life to become one of the most revered voices for human rights advocacy today.

That’s the impact one motivated youth can make. The leadership of her youth came from an innocent thought of educating girls in her area. The world has seen the impact of this child.

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As National Youth Day 2017 comes to a close, let us discuss how we can invest in children to create a better tomorrow.  Children can be change agents and history offers several examples right from late Anne Frank to Malala. What they really need is a healthy environment of growth, education and empowerment. How will that happen? When we feed the children with nutritious food, provide them with quality education and create an environment of learning.

Feeding the children

Studies have shown that nutritious meals have a part to play in the brain development of a child since the time he or she is an infant. Right from the mother’s milk, this nutrition journey must continue during his adolescence as well. Well-fed children are more active and alert and display a greater sense of leadership right from the childhood. Such children grow up to become able youth ready to lead their counterparts. Youth are always the reflection of the society and if they grew up in deprivation, regrets or revenge, they cannot create a healthy society. It’s important that their childhood is secured by providing them with the most basic human needs so that they become responsible youth with a great sense of accountability.

Facilitating education

Education cannot be separated from the overall development of children. So when NGOs like Akshaya Patra set out to establish more kitchens for serving mid-day meals in schools, the cause of education is further extended. For instance, as a government-partnered NGO in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, the organisation is able to feed school children who feel motivated to attend school every day. Its Mid-Day Meal Programme, in association with the government, in Andhra Pradesh has brought thousands of children to school. That way, Akshaya Patra has been able to employer the youth of tomorrow by feeding them while they are children. Educated youth are able to explore options of careers and goals easily since they have knowledge on their side.

Creating an atmosphere of learning

Along with providing mid-day meals, one of the objectives of Akshaya Patra is to ensure that children get a great learning environment. The organisation works tirelessly with the local schools checking on their attendance and finding hope stories in order to inspire other children to come to school. The scheme itself creates an environment where staff, volunteers and workers motivate children to study hard and have goals in life. Teachers are guided to be gentle so they can facilitate an amazing learning environment.

Donate for a cause

Those who wish to contribute to feed the children can be assured that their donations are investments in the youth of tomorrow.  Donate today.

What is Education? From a Child’s Perspective

Everyone has a right to knock the door to their destiny, to which, undernourishment, money, and lack of resources should never be a hindrance. Education is a journey we all live through. We cannot go through life and learn nothing. We as kids start to initially learn at our homes, from our family and from childhood friends. From trials and observations, we learn that pressing a switch downwards turns on the light. But formal education in school helps us understand what actually makes the light or device turn on. There’s no child who doesn’t have a dream of growing up and becoming a successful person. Education for children is a chance to pursue their dreams of becoming a doctor, teacher, scientist, musician or anything alike.

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All kids admire going to school and learning how to read and write, but not all kids can afford going to school. If you look at the list of NGOs in Bangalore, you will note that Akshaya Patra supports millions of children. The organisation provides healthy mid-day meals in schools and hence, feed the hungry to give them a chance to lead a better life. So, let us donate for education in India and support this noble mission of Zero Hunger and Quality Education.

A chance to repay their parents’ hardwork

At a very young age, children start to realize the fact that their parents work very hard and sacrifice a lot to provide them all the comfort and grant them all their wishes. They see education as a chance to repay these efforts with good grades and making their parents proud. If we help these kids by providing them a chance to go to school, they can not only prove themselves as harbingers of hope but also provide better living conditions to their parents when they grow up as independent individuals.

A chance to make themselves capable of helping others

Only he who wears knows where exactly the shoe pinches. Students who are deprived of daily meals and education very well know how effective mid-day meal benefits are. They also know how it feels to be plunged into a situation they cannot control. Children with such thoughts, see education as an opportunity to become capable of helping others first and themselves being benefitted later. We ought to appreciate this spirit and provide food for the education of these children who even have to go to bed hungry at times. There’s nothing more satisfying than feeding the hungry.

A chance to create their identity in this whole wide world

Education has different meanings and forms for different children. For some, it is language, science or mathematics while for some it is music, dance or art. Children are always very passionate about chasing their dreams and if provided with all the opportunities, they can excel at their interests. They wish to make their parents proud by doing something extraordinary for themselves, their families, society and their country. If such determined kids do not get a chance to get an education, in spite of our capabilities to help, what sense does our education make?

We ought to come forward and donate for education in India. Let the children continue having faith in humanity and kindness. Sponsor a child today and win tax exemption in India!

How Effective are Food for Education Programmes

If you’re reading this, you should call yourself fortunate. If going back home reminds you of delicious home-cooked food, you should call yourself fortunate. You’re fortunate because you’ve had the opportunity to learn and you’ve always got a tiffin box to carry in your bag or some money in the pocket for buying lunch.

Not many know that India is a home to 33% of world’s undernourished children. How can we not think of helping them? When you’ve more than you need, you should build a bigger table, not a higher fence. Seeing the present context, we need more supporters and food for education programs to get down to showing deep concern, spreading awareness, donating funds and providing healthy meals as an incentive to boost enrolment.

Akshaya Patra recently published its NGO annual report 2015-16 which gives insights into how the organisation reaches out to millions of children. Here’s how Akshaya Patra set forth in the path of reaching out to millions of children and are changing their lives.

A growth that’s no less than massive

Akshaya Patra has grown slowly and steadily. From 1,500 children a day to over 1.6 million children, the growth has been rising. It demonstrates that the role of NGO has always been aboard and determinant toward the goal of providing unlimited food for education. They’ve gone the extra mile, not only in well-managed technology, logistics, quality, and finance but also in strategies for sustainable working. The Foundation has gained trust of the philanthropic donors and beneficiaries as well.

Food for Education motivates children to pursue their dreams

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Children from the marginalised sections of society often wait to pursue their dreams. Food for Education programmes help them in doing this. The blue buses at Akshaya Patra not only carry freshly cooked nutritious meals to 1.6 million children across India but also the smile and hope to get good food. Ambitious beneficiaries like Dashrath Chauhan, Anjali Batti, Saraswathi, and Chetan are some of our much prized stories of hope.

Involvement of public

It is essential for a public-private relationship based organisation to have provisions for public’s involvement. Without the generous help from well-wishers, it is not possible for an NGO to function at all. These organisations act as a medium for the society to show compassion towards the needy. Akshaya Patra provides several opportunities such as fundraising, campaigning, volunteering, partnering and donating online to get involved in this endeavor of eradicating undernourishment and ensuring access to education for all. For accomplishing its mission of feeding 5 million children by 2020, Akshaya Patra gives a shout-out to everyone who is willing to help those in dire need.

Akshaya Patra, an NGO based in Bengaluru, runs Mid-Day Meal Programme in 11 states of India.

To read in Hindi, visit: about NGO in Hindi.

The Beginning of Quality Education

‘Education for all’ has been resonating in everybody’s mind and yes, India is on the path to achieving this. However, education does not always synchronise with quality. United Nations, in one of their papers presented at The International Working Group on Education Florence, Italy in June 2000 defines quality education in five points:

  • Learners who are healthy, well-nourished and ready to participate and learn, and supported in learning by their families and communities
  • Environments that are healthy, safe, protective and gender-sensitive, and provide adequate resources and facilities
  • Content that is reflected in relevant curricula and materials for the acquisition of basic skills, especially in the areas of literacy, numeracy and skills for life, and knowledge in such areas as gender, health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS prevention and peace.
  • Processes through which trained teachers use child-centred teaching approaches in well-managed classrooms and schools and skilful assessment to facilitate learning and reduce disparities.
  • Outcomes that encompass knowledge, skills and attitudes, and are linked to national goals for education and positive participation in society.

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The first point in particular talks about children who are well-nourished learners. What Akshaya Patra, a charity for children, is focusing through their Mid-Day Meal Programme is – increase a child’s nutrition intake as well as ending classroom hunger. Through charity fundraising activities, the Foundation receives sustainable help from several people and corporates across the globe.

Divya, one of Akshaya Patra beneficiaries, says she likes ‘warm and nutritious food.’ This one incentive that children receive every day encourages them to pursue their education without fear and also makes them aware of societal issues. Some of our beneficiaries testify that they would want to grow up to help the society – a value that helps spread kindness.

As we expand our Mid-Day Meal Programme to more schools and locations, we urge the people to contribute to a healthy future. Akshaya Patra’s donors can avail 100% tax exemption for donations above Rs. 500 as per section 80g of income tax act. This article gives you an overview of how you can avail the exemption and why it is important to donate for education in India.

Can You Feed a Child Today?

Even after gaining grounds on development in many sectors, India has been taking its own sweet time to combat against two major challenges of the present time – providing education and food to the underprivileged. According to 2016 Global Nutrition Report, 667 million children (in 129 countries) under the age of five have severe nutrition deficiencies which have resulted in: stunting, disproportion of height and weight, and overweight. Many organisations have been responsive to this but reaching the required level of pace is still a long way to go. This is where we need to realize our responsibilities towards society, donate generously to a cause, feed the children and do our bit in defeating all inhibitions to growth not as a gesture of tokenism but as a profound yearning to change the world.

Here’s how you can make a difference for children and help them to pursue their dreams by making a gift of an inexhaustible vessel of food and hope:

Why should you support Akshaya Patra?

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Akshaya Patra started off with 1,500 children a day which has now drastically grown to serve over 1.6 million children across 11 states of India. Seeing the splendid mid-day meal benefits, appreciations from many dignitaries including Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton, one need not have a second thought on contributing. The mission of this charitable trust is to serve 5 million children by 2020 which is achievable only if more of us care deeply about the cause and help in fundraising. Needless to mention, it is an overwhelming opportunity for us to contribute.

What can you do?

Akshaya Patra lets and urges you to help those in dire need of your sponsorship. And, you’ll be surprised to know that the amount to sponsor a child for a year almost equals a bill for two at a restaurant and so often, most of us do it fortnightly. Why not let the unfed taste some nutritious food as well? There is no better expenditure of money than donating some of it to a charitable trust who feeds the hungry. There’s so much to do and so fewer doers. Change the notion and make a donation in honour of someone!

How about the end-beneficiaries?

Mid-day meal is a strategic intervention to not only benefit children’s stomach but also to lay the foundation of a brighter India. It is a great satisfaction to hear beneficiaries like Aditya and Zinkal say that they are passionate about joining Indian army and serving the nation. Given the wings to fly, these ambitious kids would paint the sky in glory as Malala Yousafzai says, “One child, one book, and one pen can change the world.”

Do you know what the biggest threat to a needy is? It is a belief that somebody else, if not me, might help him. Embrace the humanitarian core and show that you care deeply about children who are underserved. Support us to feed the children!