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
Taste of joy

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
Ballari-Roti-Making

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.

The Importance of Healthy Childhood

Nothing is as fraught with significance as healthy childhood because this is where a better future roots. It ensures good physical, mental and emotional health which ultimately contributes to the multifaceted growth of an individual. Unfortunately, many from the marginalised sections of our society are defenseless against undernutrition and the choice of giving up on education. Sad, isn’t it? However, there are exceptions and this is where NGOs’ roles in India come to play. Akshaya Patra, a Bangalore-based prestigious child NGO has been providing selfless service since 16 years and has served more than 2.12 billion quality meals so far.

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As a moral obligation, we too should help in ensuring healthy living conditions for all kids especially the underprivileged ones and help them grow as a fit individual for following reasons.

  1. Healthy food provides good immunity power and reduces disease risk

These days it is common to see children having weak eyesight, low stamina, muscular pain, high vulnerability to cough and cold etc. Most of these general problems are consequences of improper nutrition. It is essential to intake a healthy and balanced diet as it provides vital nutrients for the strengthening of immunity power and hence reduces the risk of diseases in children. At growing age, developing healthy eating habits and good resistance against diseases is relatively easy. So the diets should be accordingly planned.

  1. Healthy meals are the key to the cognitive, physical and social development of children

The quality of meal that children consume determines the overall growth of their body and mind. Their concentration, learning abilities, skills, physique, and interaction habits are all a direct function of how well their bodies are supplied with required nutrients. It is observed that children who are well fed are often more cheerful, intelligent, optimistic and surely healthier. Akshaya Patra, the child NGO of Bangalore, takes good care of this aspect in the meals that it provides. It abides by the dietary norms of central Mid-Day Meal Scheme and the prescribed levels of nutrition. The efforts of such organisations truly prove what great roles the NGOs in India can play in eradicating undernourishment.

  1. Healthy today, better tomorrow

If kids are ensured with a healthy childhood, there are ample chances that the results stay long-term. Good physical and mental development imply good dedication towards education, gaining knowledge, learning moral values, increased productivity, better judgment of right and wrong, and a healthy body of course. Thus a balanced diet including sufficient quantities of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber should be provided as each component has its own contribution to the overall development. We have the power to secure better future by taking care of the nutrition of our children as well as of those who are unaware and helpless.

Undoubtedly, giving some of what we have to ensure a healthy childhood and a better future for all kids is the best gift ever. Donate to sponsor a child’s meals for an entire year!

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.

10 Ingredients that make Mid-Day Meal a Healthy Eat!

The 21st century has made us more food conscious than ever. We take interest in understanding the importance of healthy food, nutrition intake, and calories and so on. To simplify the food theories, we have even created food pyramids and graphs based on age groups. Today, we all know what kind of food is acceptable for children and what isn’t.

As an NGO, Akshaya Patra aims to feed the children the right amount of mid-day meals with sufficient nutritional values. We believe mid-day meal benefits every child. Before we share our little secret on keeping children healthy, here’s a bit of history on Nutrition. The word ‘Nutrition’ means ‘nourishment’ and first originated in Latin during early 15th century. Centuries later, when hunger was identified as an issue, a prefix Mal which means ‘bad’ was used to describe poor nutritional levels – malnutrition.

For Akshaya Patra, it is important that children receive the right amount of nutrients in their food. Here’s a list of ingredients used in mid-day meals along with their nutrition value:

nutritional-value-of-mdm

 

To break the cycle of hunger among children, a country must do a lot – introduce nutritional school lunch programmes, ensure initiatives are reaching the target group, prioritise education, stabilise low-income families with subsidies and health care benefits, and many more. Akshaya Patra’s menu of mid-day meals is such that it covers the basics of nutrition intake and calories, making it one of the best diets for children!

Besides clothing and shelter, food is one of the basic needs for humans. We have reached a point in time where most of us are able to afford these basic needs however, lack of food among children continues to be a persistent issue. Let’s act to ensure children receive the two most important elements that can help them grow – food and education. Sponsor a child by donating Rs 950 and be assured that he or she will receive wholesome mid-day meals for an entire academic year!

Eliminating Hunger is a Crucial Step for India

The Global Hunger Index (a tool designed to measure global hunger) released by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) shows that India ranks 97 out of 118 countries – ‘Serious’ hunger. As many as 43 countries are under the ‘Serious’ category whereas 45 countries are low. For India to tackle the hunger problem by feeding the hungry, the current policies have schemes have to be more stringent and accessible to people in need.

While the government and many NGOs are working towards feeding the children with wholesome meals, there is a need for us to act together as a society. Given the number of children who require food in our country, Akshaya Patra, a children’s NGO based out of Bengaluru, is providing healthy meals to over 1.6 million school children in 11 states in India. The Foundation is also focusing on reaching out to 5 million children by 2020.

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Why should we focus on children’s food demands?

Children are the future. Considering the magnitude of hunger problem in India, many NGOs are setting up initiatives to eliminate hunger especially among children – they are stunted, poorly nourished and do not receive one square meal a day. Going by the GHI score, 38.7% of children below five years are stunted – it means that the weight is not appropriate for their height (they are too thin). In 1992, this score was 61.9. That’s a difference of 23.2% in the last 24 years.

With an initiative like ‘Food for Education,’ by Akshaya Patra, the advantages are doubled to make hunger a history – the child is educated and also, he or she is completely nourished with nutritious meals.

Inclusive development and addressing issues using this method is more important for India. That is, simultaneously focus on development of education, citizens’ rights, health care, housing facilities, job opportunities and so on. However, when one issue is looked down as least important, it multiples and becomes far more challenging.

Here’s what you can do to eliminate hunger in India

It has been proved over and again that India has sufficient resources to eliminate hunger. However, the existing challenges are a drawback. Distribution of food among families with low-income, building infrastructure to reach certain towns and villages, educating the farmers, ensuring fair-trade are some of the challenges.

Akshaya Patra’s school lunch programme benefits children from many small towns and villages to consume a square meal on every school day. Today, the organisation reaches out to 13,210 schools to feed the children. Keeping hygiene and quality in mind, mid-day meals are freshly prepared and are delivered to schools during lunch time.

You can get involved in this cause too! Contribute to the cause by sponsoring a child’s mid-day meals for an entire year. Also, you can learn how Akshaya Patra operates its Mid-Day Meal Programme by visiting our blog.

Akshaya Patra Serving a Plateful of Smiles | World Smile Day 2016

A warm smile is the universal language of kindness. No one said it better than late William Arthur Ward, a renowned author, who rightly related smile with kindness. It’s the principle that has inspired several acts of philanthropy around the world.

celebrateworldsmileday

Here’s a quick bite on World Smile Day! A commercial artist named Harvey Ball, who is known to have created the Smiley Face, initiated this day back in 1963 with a similar thought in mind. After his death in 2001, the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation created the slogan – Improving the world, one smile at a time. And smile, often the result of a moment of happiness, is a thing to be shared and spread around.

For many people around the world, just getting decent meals for one day is a matter of happiness. On World Smile Day, let’s pledge to donate to charity. If you have any non-profit fundraising ideas related to providing meals to school children, it will definitely help Akshaya Patra in spreading smiles.  

Healthy Meals for Kids

For children, food is directly related to happiness. A child’s day consists of the games he plays and the food he eats. And so at Akshaya Patra, feeding hungry children is not only a duty but also a matter of happiness. Through our Mid-Day Meal Programme, we strive to spread smiles with each meal. Being the world’s largest not-for-profit Mid-Day Meal Programme, the organisation serves wholesome food to over 1.6 million children in India.

What truly drives our initiative, however, is the smiles of various children who are now motivated to study and come to school. That’s because we believe it’s also equally vital to ensure their happiness in future by making them independent and educated. We wish to spread the happiness of aspirations among these children by taking care of their meals in school so they could focus on their mental and physical growth.

In government schools in India, several children have a natural acclivity for academics. They have dreams and are often inspired to make a difference in the environment around them. One such student is Bhanupriya who studies in a Government Higher Primary School in Bengaluru. Talking about her aspirations, she says, “There are many people who are unwell. I wish to be a doctor and serve them. I would treat poor patients for free.” (Read her story at Stories of Children)

bhanupriya-org

Akshaya Patra Beneficiary

Bhanupriya, like her counterparts in private schools around the country, has ambitions of her own. Dearth of resources around her is in no way a hurdle to her dreams but she makes the best of her school education and studies diligently. With the motto ‘food for education,’ Akshaya Patra aims at ensuring future happiness of children.

Happiness is Feeding the Hungry

Akshaya Patra offers several opportunities and invites people to contribute for the cause of happiness. We strive to engage people in civic-minded activities through non-profit fundraising ideas. Fundraising is definitely one of the most effective ways to help a cause – you can help feed a child for an entire academic year by donating only Rs 950!

akshaya-patra-smiles

Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme is run with the support of the government and many individuals and corporates. With small contribution, you can engage in deeper acts of happiness and kindness – it may turn out to be more rewarding than you think as you join hands with an organisation that has made a huge difference since the year 2000.

We have found a way to spread happiness through meals, have you? Donate today!

10 Healthy Eating Habits for Children by Akshaya Patra

National Nutrition Week has ended on the 2nd week of September. Before we can wrap up our series on Nutrition, we would like to talk about ten healthy eating habits that must be inculcated among children.

Dictionaries define nutrition as “the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.” Unfortunately obtaining food for health and nutrition worldwide has proved to be tougher challenge than it was perceived. Providing healthy food for children is a concern that transcends geographical boundaries. Fresh and healthy food is a basic right of every child, and there is a need to make sure that they get it every day.

healthy-eating-habits

  1. Balanced diet

Children need to be taught early that nothing is tastier than a complete nutritious meal. One of the objectives of mid-day meal at Akshaya Patra is to provide a balanced diet to the children as a healthy eating habit.

  1. Praying before eating

We count it as a healthy eating habit. Akshaya Patra wishes to educate children apart from feeding them. One of our practices is to ensure that the children say their prayers before starting to eat food. This helps them realise the value of food and that they should be thankful to the Almighty for providing them with food.

  1. Eating together

Families must eat together at home and friends must have lunch together at school. There’s nothing more joyous than enjoying a great meal together, discussing about taste and favourite foods. At Akshaya Patra, eating together fulfills our objective of supplying mid-day meal in a healthy environment.

  1. Eating slowly

It’s vital to have the habit of eating slowly as it helps in controlling weight. This ensures that they chew their food properly leading to better digestion. Eating fast causes obesity. Studies have shown that nearly 60 percent of overweight children aged 5 to 17 had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease and 25 percent had two or more. Also, obese kids have an 80 percent chance of staying obese their entire lives.

  1. Attractive foods

Another healthy eating habit is to include colourful foods, vegetables and fruits in children’s meals. This encourages children to enjoy food and look forward to meals.  At Akshaya Patra, we prepare a variety of food for children to ensure that they really enjoy the experience of having mid-day meal at school.

  1. Water instead of concentrated drinks

In modern day meals, we have got into the habit of consuming concentrated juices or cold drinks or soda instead of water. While fresh juices do have some merit, most preserved juices have more calories than we know.  But water should be the choice during meals for children since it boosts immune system and digestion.

  1. Learning when to stop

Another healthy food habit is knowing when your stomach is full. Toddlers and younger kids find it hard to understand the signals that their stomach sends to their brain. Children should be taught signs of fullness clearly from the time they learn to eat their own food.

  1. Healthier snacks

Today, there are several varieties of snacks available for children, many of which are not healthy. Snacks such as fried foods, packaged foods, noodles, potato chips etc are readily available but are far from healthy. As a healthy eating habit, children must be taught to consume fruits, juices, nuts etc. as alternative snacks.

  1. Less sugar and salt

At Akshaya Patra, the amount of sugar and sweets is an important parameter of a nutritious diet. While we always send extra salts with our transport vans, we teach the children to avoid using too much salt and sugar in their meals. Salt and sugar are the leading causes of heart-related diseases as adults and must be cut down right from the childhood.

  1. Discouraging eating meals before TV

Eating dinner or lunch before television is a common practice among modern families. However, this kills the joy of eating and distracts children from truly savouring their meals. Children often complain of hunger afterwards if they have consumed their meals while watching TV.

There are millions of children still who don’t get healthy food. They need to be reached and fed. We encourage you to donate to NGO towards unlimited food for education so that we are able to take our mid-day meals to more and more children.

How Nutritional Value is Important for Children?

Dictionaries define nutrition as “the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.” Unfortunately obtaining food for health and nutrition worldwide has proved to be tougher challenge than it was perceived. Providing healthy food for children is a concern that transcends geographical boundaries. Fresh and healthy food is a basic right of every child, and there is a need to make sure that they get it every day.

role-of-ngos

Unfortunately, we live in a divided world where one section of the society is wasting food while the other is deprived of it. Children are on the receiving end because quite often they are not the bread-earners to be able to fetch food. Several children, who do get food, may not get a diet full of health and nutrition.  At Akshaya Patra, when our target of 2 billion meals was achieved recently, nutrition was still top of our priority. 

The Global Nutrition Report 2016 reveals data on the status of hunger, malnourishment and poor diets in children and adults as well. The report suggests that it’s even more difficult for little children who have to experience hunger and a hard time to get meals twice a day. Nutrition is required for children so as to ensure their growth and a hunger-free life. In India, however, the reality is major part of the population isn’t capable of arranging food for hungry children even once a day.

Nutritional status of children in India:

  • UNICEF reports, almost 20% of children less than 5 years are wasted due to undernutrition.
  • Approximately 61 million children are stunted due to chronic undernutrition
  • More than one-third of wasted children and three out of every ten stunted children in the world, live in India itself
  • Millions of children suffer from micronutrient malnutrition and calorie deficiency
  • The ratio of underweight children is in rural areas increase every year unexpectedly
  • Around 50% of the children under 5 years are underweight and prone to infections

 How’s nutrition vital for children?

Physical growth: Studies have proved that a child needs proper nutrition in order to achieve full height. The same is also true for the rest of his physical growth. There are children who suffer from several physical ailments due to lack of nutrition and good health.

Mental faculties: Health and nutrition pave way for the children to develop their mental faculties. Any pediatrician would testify that the right balance of omega fatty acids in children’s daily diet contribute towards brain activity, development and capabilities. Similarly, each ingredient in a balanced diet adds to a child’s mental growth. That’s precisely why we combined mid-day meals with education in schools and emphasised on providing healthy food for children.

Feeling of wellness: Children who get regular diet and nutritious food are often active in their school and on playground. Remember that children are still exploring the world with their little experience. They have more energy that needs channelising physically. This can happen only when a child has ample nutrition in his body. Such children have a greater sense of well-being and wellness.

Health and nutrition have a lot of value in a child’s growth. It goes without saying that for the overall mental and physical development of any human being, nutrition plays a vital role. It becomes crucial especially for children who are not aware what’s best for them. The children need help and guidance along with a regular supply of nutritious food. We have been providing mid-day meals in schools through our centralised kitchens in 24 locations across 10 states.

You can help children get the right balance of diet with just a click. Donate to charity today!

Today’s Healthy Children, Tomorrow’s Thinking Youth

Hunger is not a problem, it is an obscenity. How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”  Anne Frank

What better occasion than the International Youth Day to ensure that our youth of the future are well-fed and well-educated in the present. International Youth day should be the day of joining hands with a non-profit organisation such as Akshaya Patra to provide food for the hungry across various schools in India. You may become a contributor to a substantially effective plan to turn children into healthy youth and to a wealthy Nation. But why should you do it?

Children and youth will lead future economic development

Developing youth -- Akshaya Patra

According to census 2011, India has 65% of the population below 35 years of age while United Nations survey says 28% is in the age group of 10-24 years. The youth percentage in India is highest compared to any country. It is said that where the youth percentage is rising, the economies of the country will soar, provided the children are being given good facilities for education, food and health. Only then it would lead to the economic growth and development of an individual as well as the country.  The donation you make to feed the hungry directly contributes to the social development in children as well the economic development of the country.

Literacy is an incentive

The mid-day meal programme enables you to hit three targets with one arrow. Where a family is not able to feed children, the mid-day meal programme brings them healthy food along with creating opportunity for learning. Akshaya Patra wisely incorporates education and development in the children while feeding them. Many individuals, organisations and companies have developed a sense of ethics and social responsibility while volunteering with or donating to Akshaya Patra.

Today’s healthy children are tomorrow’s wise youth

There are many ways you can participate in a country’s social, cultural and economic development. When you contribute in the mid-day meal programme run by Akshaya Patra, you are contributing towards not only social or economic development but cultural growth as well. Your small act of kindness affects these children and propagates a kind and generous culture. This programme also opens roads to numerous youth development programmes.

Investment in your future

While contributing to Akshaya Patra, you also get to know where exactly your money is spent. We comply by International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and Transparency Indian Accounting Standards issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and publish our annual report with financial audits. You also get tax exemptions and many CSR opportunities such as cause-marketing initiatives, strategy philanthropy through funds and in-kind contributions or events and sponsorships.

On this International Youth Day, donate to charity to transform children into healthy youth and safeguard our country’s fate, our future.

Uninterrupted Education for School Children

How does Mid-Day Meal Programme help school going children in India? The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO in India that serves mid-day meals to over 1.5 million children, can help you answer that just right. Children are not only getting nutritious wholesome meals everyday but are also encouraged to attend school regularly. We believe your contribution can help us reach 5 million children by 2020 and help you get 100% tax exemption.

Serving mid-day meals to school children creates a vicious cycle – a child like Ajay wakes up to attend school, sprinkles great lessons into his head, feasts on healthy food and returns home after a sumptuous meal, and looks forward to the next day.

Here is an infographic of a school boy who is having Akshaya Patra‘s mid-day meal:

Infographic_Life of a School boy_Akshaya Patra

According to the UN World Food Programme, one out of six children is malnourished in developing countries and roughly 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry—these are just numbers that indicate the severity of hunger. A recent article on Buzzfeed India (www.buzzfeed.com/gayatrijayaraman/broke-hungry-and-on-trend) recognised urban people who go hungry almost every day but their lifestyles reflect otherwise. In both scenarios, we have two classes of people who are unable to satisfy the stomach because food is far from reach. While one is unable to afford it, the other is not able to prioritise on food.

As a society, what can we do to curb hunger in India and how can you, as a working class Indian, benefit from contributing to Akshaya Patra? The Foundation believes in nourishing the young minds who are the future of tomorrow. Because education is of foremost priority, Akshaya Patra began serving mid-day meals to school children in India to reduce dropout rate and enhance class attendance. Thanks to the government, Akshaya Patra’s donors can benefit from 100% tax exemption for contributions that are above Rs. 500. All it takes is Rs. 750 to feed a child every year!