How Akshaya Patra is Contributing to Development of Society

NGO for children

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an NGO in India implementing the Mid-Day Meal Programme for the past 17 years. The very establishment of this NGO was based on the vision, ‘No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger’, implying that food and education are vital for the proper growth of children; and healthy and educated children are a sign of a progressive society.

Akshaya Patra commenced the Mid-Day Meal Programme from Karnataka’s Bengaluru location in June 2000 by providing school lunch to 1,500 children in five government schools. Over the years, the Foundation has strategically expanded its reach across the length and breadth of the country, impacting millions of young lives.

The impact of the NGOs’ school lunch programme becomes evident in the conclusion of many studies done in association with third-party research agencies. The impact studies conducted at regular intervals indicate that the mid-day meal has significantly increased school attendance and enrolment, decreased drop-out rate, improved health, as well as enhanced socialisation among children. This has also been acceded by school teachers and headmasters of beneficiary schools across the country. Appreciating the Mid-Day Meal Programme:

ismail-malik-principal-gujarat-school

Ismail Malik, Principal, Antti Kumar Prathamik Shala, Padra Taluk, Vadodara, Gujarat said, “The mid-day meal has brought a tremendous decline in the student drop-out rate. In the primary school, the increase in attendance is nearly as high as 60% to 70%. The numerous awards that now decorate the school office are a testimony to this.”

 

g-ranganath-policy-colonyG Ranganath, Head Master, Government High School, Policy Colony, Karnataka said, “The government, by partnering with organisations like Akshaya Patra have ensured that children receive tasty and nutritious meals. The programme has been successful in reducing child labour and improving school enrolment and attendance.”

In an effort to ensure overall development for children, this Indian NGO has also taken various ‘beyond the meals’ initiatives alongside its core school lunch programme.

Akshaya Patra Initiative

This NGO in India has seen the tangible result of the Mid-Day Meal Programme and to multiply its impact and benefit more children:

mid-day meal objective

Presently, Akshaya Patra provides mid-day meals to 17,12,460 children studying in 14,173 schools in 36 locations across 12 states of India.

Akshaya Patra ReachThe Foundation aims to increase this reach to millions more. A humongous task indeed, but possible to achieve with the support of everyone! There are many ways by which you can transform young lives: sponsor a child, become an Akshaya Patra Ambassador, volunteer with the organisation, be an online mascot, be a CSR partner, celebrate special occasions with the organisation, and spread the word about the Foundation’s cause.

In conclusion, by providing a meal per day to each of the 1.7 million children, Akshaya Patra is nurturing young individuals who are cognisant of their current unfavourable situations and have all the willpower and zeal to make their future better. It is creating a sustainable change for the whole society by developing generations of abled and dependable individuals whose resolute will take the society and the nation in the path of progress and prosperity. By associating with Akshaya Patra you too can be a strong link in the chain of change-makers.

Choose to sponsor a child. Choose to support their meal. Choose to uphold determined dreams.

Advertisements

Consider tax exemption for a cause

The universe has a unique way of working and we never know how and when it brings us an opportunity to support and do something good for others. Here is a small incidence that introduced me to the path of charity. Just a week ago, I was consulting with my friend on how to cut down on tax. During the discussion, we came upon various ways such as housing loan, house rent allowance, children education allowance, medical insurance, donations, and the like. Though I had heard of these means, but contributing donation was something new for me. Curiously, I furthered the discussion on it. And, patiently my friend familiarised me with the whole concept of tax deduction on charity, the gist of which I have narrated below.

Food for children

Witnessing the impactful groundwork of NGOs, the Government of India has made a provision wherein contributing donations to registered NGOs or charitable trusts can exempt you from paying taxes on the donated amount under Section 80G. You can either claim for 100% or 50% exemption on the donated amount based upon the NGO you have donated and the terms set by the Income Tax Act. This is applicable for both online donations and offline donations.

For instance, I identify with children-specific causes such as the right to education, child rights, and child health and development. So, I chose to contribute my taxable income to The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO for children implementing the Mid-Day Meal Programme in association with the Central Government of India and various State Governments. The Mid-Day Meal Programme is an initiative that provides freshly cooked nutritious school lunch to government school and government-aided school children on all school days. And, Akshaya Patra aims at providing ‘unlimited food for education’ with the intention of supporting the education of children. This NGO has been in the service of children for the past 17 years, with a current beneficiary base of over 1.6 million children across 34 locations in 12 states of India. The tangible impact of Akshaya Patra is clearly visible in the stories of children and the impact studies that have been conducted in association with third-party research agencies.

Personally, I was convinced with the service of Akshaya Patra and decided to make my foray into charity by donating to the Foundation. For more information on charity tax exemption, just click on tax-deductible donations. I am glad that I am saving tax by supporting millions of children, and would suggest everyone to connect with the cause.

Tips to Celebrate Joy of Giving Week with Disadvantaged Children

Nothing can be more satisfying or can give you more pleasure than knowing that whatever largesse you share will give direct benefits to the disadvantaged. It would be more so in case they are children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Joy of giving

What can you do to be sure that the donation you give is spreading happiness? On this Joy of Giving Week, also called the Daan Utsav, you can donate for a cause. While making others happy, you can be happy yourself by doing your mite for the needy.

It would make sense to do it through an NGO. You could do it through Akshaya Patra which is spreading happiness among the children during this Joy of Giving Week. An NGO knows the quantum of resources needed, and thus help direct your contributions to the right causes.

Let’s celebrate this week as a ‘Joy of Giving Week’ and feel the sense of happiness that would overtake you. Of course, it need not be about donating money alone.  Here are a few ideas to celebrate the ‘Joy of Giving Week’.

  1. Offer service: Take time out to offer some services at schools for disadvantaged children. Many of them need you. You can spend time with the children there, teaching them and playing with them. Helping to supplement their schooling with tuitions would allow them to improve themselves and be on a par with other children.
  2. At school: You could spend a day helping spruce up their school.
  3. Serve them meals: During festivals, which is a time of celebrations, you can indeed feel the ‘Joy of Giving’ by serving them meals.  The happiness on the face of the children can beat any happiness that you could ever experience.
  4. Help them in mental development: Gift the toys and indoor games that your children may have outgrown. Toys not only make the children happy, but would also help stimulate their brains, ensuring a better and wholesome mental development.
  5. Donate for nutritious meals: You could also donate to charity for some meals through Akshaya Patra.

These selfless acts can only ensure that you are contributing to a healthier and happier future for all these children. They face the danger not being able to have nutritious meal or even one-square meal a day.

Not to forget, you can also help out at the kitchens of Akshaya Patra that serve hot food to over 1.6 million children every day in 13,800+ schools in the country.

 

How can parents inculcate social responsibility among children?

9e9b7f879746fbd04640fb2fe8e88a80

James A. Baldwin once said, “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” One of the best ways that parents can teach their children to contribute to the development of the community is by setting examples of social service. Here’s how they can do it:

Volunteer for education

Take them along on weekends to teach children in slums who have no or little access to school and education. You can also teach them importance of opting for wholesome meal instead of junk by sponsoring meal for the children there. You can talk about Akshaya Patra that’s on a mission to get children back to school by serving them mid-day meals. They will realise the importance of wholesome meal. You can donate online on Akshaya Patra’s website and involve them in the activity.

Work for environment

Buy seeds and saplings and encourage them to plant those. They can also indulge in online fundraising to fund tree plantation drives. But most of all you can involve them in nurturing a beautiful garden at home so that they can learn to respect the environment.

Non-profit fundraising ideas

Children read and observe more than you can imagine. Have a brainstorming session with them at home discussing fundraising ideas. Reap some benefit out of this activity. For example, they can create an artwork that can be sold through social networking sites. The funds raised can be donated to non-profit organisations.

Social responsibility

It’s only when such thoughts and acts are encouraged among children that we can build a selfless society. When you choose to donate towards charity, it’s the biggest gesture you can make in order to encourage children towards social service. Sponsor a child today!

Give Something Back to Society by Volunteering

Volunteering gives you an opportunity to become an attentive citizen of society

Summer holidays have begun! If you have decided to educate your children or peers or even yourself on development issues this summer, you can get in touch with Akshaya Patra to learn about classroom hunger and how the organisation is tackling the issue. In addition to that, you can also volunteer at the kitchen and visit our beneficiary schools.

At Akshaya Patra, an NGO in Gujarat and 10 other states, we identified hunger to be an issue that affected children’s enrolment in schools. For instance, there are more than 3 lakh children who are benefitted by Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme in Gujarat. If not for this incentive, many children would have irregular attendance, a few would choose to opt out of school and others would have to bring food from home which becomes a challenge.

Today, we are feeding fresh meals to over 1.6 million children from government schools and government-aided schools. While the programme continues its operations in 11 states across India, many volunteers have pitched in their time and energy towards Food for Education initiative!

VolunteerMakeaDifference

Akshaya Patra offers various volunteering opportunities in two areas:

(i) Kitchens

Akshaya Patra operates 26 centralised kitchens across 11 states in India. As a volunteer, you can get involved in mid-day meal operations – peeling coconuts, sorting grains, loading and unloading of food, and so on.

(ii) Schools

We currently reach out to over 13,000 schools across the country. As a volunteer, you can serve mid-day meals, interact with children and organise activities for them. If you would like to propose a programme that will benefit the school, you can share the same with us.

By volunteering, you will help society and yourself by lifting up your spirit. If time does not allow you to take up volunteering services, you can sponsor a child’s mid-day meals for a year!

Three Important Reasons Why You Should Give Back

The word ‘Give’ in the context of ‘Giving Back’ has a very interesting meaning to it. According to Etymonline, “The Middle English noun yeve (Give), meant “that which is given or offered; a contribution of money,” often as tribute, or in expectation of something in return.”

giving-back-has-its-benefits

‘Giving back’ usually supersedes with the word society. Ever since, people realized that humanity could make a great difference, the race has been helping communities by empowering them. Similarly, Akshaya Patra has been feeding the children in India to ensure they do not experience classroom hunger.

If you have been thinking of giving back to society, now is the time! We collated three important benefits of giving back and here they are:

You will help someone grow

As an individual, you may want to give back to society by paying someone’s school fees. Many families who come from difficult background are burdened by their children’s schools fees and unable to pay, they choose to send them on work. This could be your chance to give back.

beneficiary-of-akshaya-patra

Giving back will not only help the child be a part of school system, but will also help you grow as a person. To understand the issues deeply and to step up to correct them is our responsibility and by giving back, you will have contributed to the growth of an individual, their family, and their community.

You will build stronger communities

Among many activities, Akshaya Patra regularly organises Health Awareness Programmes for school children with the help of corporates; these programmes include discussions and hygiene kit distribution.

jp-morgan

Kit Distribution

When we as a community go out to help another, it transforms and structures their living standards and also contributes to their health. This includes helping a community with a nursing home, a school, awareness programmes and basic infrastructure. For Akshaya Patra, a children’s charity, registered under section 80G of Income Tax Act, providing a mid-day meal is one way to empower a network a students.

And finally, you will spread happiness!

This is probably the most important reason for the giver and the receiver; happiness. The experience of giving back to society keeps you content! The inner joy of having transformed a life, without expecting returns, is a feeling that words cannot describe.

hello-new-shoes

Shoe Distribution

To experience this joy, go out and do your noble act that you’ve always wanted to do. Try visiting a school, buying stationery for a child or maybe even a pair of school shoes. The simple things in life tend to leave a curve on your face. Happiness is contagious and so is an act of giving back.

As you call it a day, think of reasons why you should give back to society and when you do, Akshaya Patra’s children will be waiting for your help.

Sponsor a child today!