When was mid-day meal started by Akshaya Patra?

One firm vision – ‘No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger’… just 1 kitchen to cook meals for 1,500 children… began the journey called Akshaya Patra!

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a non-profit organisation in India. In partnership with the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, and various State Governments, Akshaya Patra implements the Mid-Day Meal Scheme across the country. It was established in 2000 and is headquartered in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

Akshaya Patra serving children 2000

Akshaya Patra then…

Once the idea of providing school lunch was conceptualised, Venu Vadana Gopal Dasa conducted a detailed research to choose the schools in need of the meals. Reminiscing the past, he says, “I went to explore the surrounding areas in Bengaluru and found that the schools in the outskirts and rural areas were in maximum need of a school Mid-Day Meal Programme. I visited Government schools in areas like Peenya, Chikkabidarakalu and Makali and was moved by the plight of the kids there. We then approached these schools and served the first meals on 3 June 2000 to a total of 1,500 children in five Government schools.”

Over a period, the impact of this initiative was witnessed in the form of increased enrolment, regularity in attendance, improved health, and better concentration during class hours. The overwhelming response from the schools brought to fore the need for the Mid-Day Meal Programme, leading Akshaya Patra to expand its service to more schools.

Initial hurdles…

The initial journey for this non-profit organisation in India wasn’t a smooth sail. The main concern was lack of food packing vessels and vehicles to transport the cooked meals. Philanthropists Mr Mohandas Pai stepped in by donating the first vehicle to transport food to the schools and Mr Abhay Jain promised to get more support in the form of donors to contribute for the programme.

A welcome progress…

As Akshaya Patra was already providing food for education through its school meal programme, it was called to give testimony for verifying the efficacy of providing cooked meals to schools. Following this, the Supreme Court of India passed a mandate on 28 November 2001 stating “We direct the State Governments/Union Territories to implement the Mid-Day Meal Scheme by providing every child in every Government and Government assisted Primary School with a prepared mid-day meal.” This was a welcome progression for Akshaya Patra and the Foundation partnered with the Central Government and various State Governments to implement the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in a public-private partnership model.

Akshaya Patra now…

A journey that began by nourishing 1,500 children in one location has today grown to becoming a movement with 17,65,597 children in 45 locations across 12 states in India. The partnership with the Government under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme and constant support from well-wishers and donors helped Akshaya Patra to expand the food for education programme during the course of 18 years. It also aided the non-profit organisation in India to initiate several child-centric programmes such as Anganwadi feeding, scholarship, talent development, along with supporting the Foundation’s disaster relief feeding service.

Akshaya Patra in future…

With the mission to nourish 50 lakh children in India by 2025, Akshaya Patra is moving forward strategically and sustainably. The Foundation is certain that with concerted effort from the Government, the policy-makers, corporates and businesses, and the civil society, we will be able to create generations of healthy, educated, and resourceful citizens; empowering them to take on the mission called Prosperous India.

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Why should you associate with The Akshaya Patra Foundation?

Alone, we can start a change, together we can sustain it! THAT’S THE POWER OF WORKING TOGETHER.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an Indian non-profit organisation supporting education of children by providing them with nutritious meals on each school day. It is one of the pioneer NGOs in the mid-day meal sector with a history of more than 18 years in service of children.

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What else does Akshaya Patra do?

Aside from diligently implementing the school meal programme, this charity for children is also engaged in other feeding initiatives and ‘Beyond the Meals’ programmes.

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How can you help?

With the vision, ‘No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger’, Akshaya Patra aims at benefitting 5 million children by 2025. To achieve this humongous endeavour, this Indian non-profit organisation requires support from all sections of the society. It encourages people and organisations to step forward in support of nutrition and education of children. For this, the Foundation provides an elaborate volunteering platform where you can choose the way you want to support.

Act to bring the change you desire to see

You can choose to volunteer your time, be an online ambassador, be a knowledge partner, or you could also be the Foundation’s ambassador. You can also associate with this charity for children as a regular donor or you could also start an online fundraising campaign. As a supporter, you can also choose to sponsor a school, kitchen, or kitchen equipment or choose to fund any of the ‘Beyond the Meals’ programme.

Margaret Mead has aptly said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Well then, what’s the wait? Step forward and get your family and friends along to volunteer for those children who are in need today but on whom the country will be dependent tomorrow!

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.

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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.

 

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.”

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‘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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Akshaya Patra – Feeding Millions of Children Every Day

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an NGO in India feeding over 1.6 million school children every day. The organisation takes pride in having encouraged millions of children, through mid-day meals, to enroll in schools and be a part of education system. What makes this charitable trust the world’s largest NGO-run feeding programme is noteworthy; the organisation began its humble service in the year 2000 which is now impacting millions of children. With support from government, corporates, donors and many volunteers who have contributed to the cause, the organisation has grown in leaps and bounds.

Recently, the Foundation published its NGO Annual Report for the financial year 2015-16, which gives a 360 degree understanding on the Foundation’s dedicated efforts towards India’s children. The report also exposes behind-the-scenes of Mid-Day Meal Programme; from supervisors to drives who are a part of this ever-inspiring compassionate programme.

As we march ahead into a new year, our motto to feed children nutritious food continues to be a priority. You can help us achieve our target of feeding 5 million children by 2020! Here’s how you can support Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme:

Sponsor a child for year

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Out of millions of children who we reach out to, you could take responsibility of one 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, can get you 100% income tax exemption benefit. All you have to do is choose to sponsor a child.

Fundraise for Akshaya Patra

By creating one campaign, you can help us receive tremendous support from across the globe. In just a few simple steps, you can create a fundraising campaign on our website and share the campaign with your friends and family.

Unlock Smiles of Children

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This is an initiative by Akshaya Patra to feed more children across India. Unlock Smiles gives you an opportunity to feed a child for an entire year – visit our unlock smiles page, click on a smiley and donate. Once you have unlocked a smiley, your name will appear on the smiley.

You can join Akshaya Patra in ending classroom hunger for millions of children who are victims of under nutrition. We believe no child must be deprived of education due to hunger. Today, the organisation reaches out to 1.6 million children on every school day. But you can help us reach 5 million children by 2020. Help us end classroom hunger.

Celebrating Daan Utsav 2016

Daan UtsavJoy of Giving Week 2016 is here! This week-long event brings many individuals a step closer to donate to charity and helps in making a difference in society. Through noble acts of giving, India’s biggest philanthropic festival inculcates kindness among all of us.

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There’s a lot we can do to witness change and we believe change begins with you. Joy of Giving Week is one such platform that gives you opportunities to donate, make a difference and take with you a lasting pride of having contributed to society. Happiness is, after all, an act of giving.

About Akshaya Patra

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a Bengaluru-based children’s NGO, spreads joy with every meal served. After implementing its Mid-Day Meal Programme in 2000, the organisation’s beneficiary base has increased from 1,500 children to over 1.6 million children. In the last 16 years of its compassionate journey, Akshaya Patra has transformed the lives of many school children. This Daan Utsav, Akshaya Patra pledges to spread happiness with every meal. Help us enable more children to attend school – join us on the mission to feed 5 million children by 2020!

Every day is a fresh start for school children and teachers. Their days are packed with classes, lessons, assignments, tests, physical activities and so on. A break during the day is where Akshaya Patra comes in – serving nutritious mid-day meals to these enthusiastic children who fearlessly dream of their future. Mid-day meals bring joy.

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While India celebrates Joy of Giving week, read these testimonials by Akshaya Patra’s beneficiaries – every testimonial is an assurance that Mid-Day Meal Programme is indeed a boon for children.

“Joining the army will bring me a sense of pride. To fight for the country is the duty of every citizen in India. My dream started with my History lessons, where I was inspired by the many freedom fighters during India’s war for Independence. Many have fought for this country. Why can’t I do the same? I feel I am indebted to my country and I would like to serve my nation as an army officer. I love Akshaya Patra food for it gives me strength.”

Darshan, Karnataka

“I enjoy the Akshaya Patra mid-day meal on all days but my favourite is Wednesdays and Saturdays. We get pulao, khichdi and kheer, which are my favourites. At home, my mother doesn’t cook these delicacies because we can’t afford it. When I grow up, I want to become an actress and act in Assamese movies. Someday, I want to travel the world with my family.”

Pithali, Assam

“The mid-day meal has been a great relief for the parents. They feel that the children will at least get a nutritious meal if they attend school. Though the menu changes every day, the students look forward to eating dal-chawal, dal-dhokli, khichdi and sukhdi served by The Akshaya Patra Foundation. The children are able to enjoy the teaching process, since they are more attentive in class. They actively take part in various inter school sports activities too. The Mid-Day Meal Programme has positively impacted the children’s health in school.”

Reshmi Patel, Teacher, Gujarat

Read all the stories at our website: Joy of Giving Week

India’s biggest philanthropic event ends in a few days. Let’s take this opportunity to make a difference by donating to charity. Get involved in a cause today.

Be A Part of Joy of Giving Week with Akshaya Patra – Daan Utsav

When was the last time you gave to society? Now that Daan Utsav (Joy of Giving Week) 2016 has arrived, it’s time you and I celebrate the festival along with the nation and spread kindness by giving what you can to society.

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Daan Utsav, previously known as Joy of Giving, is a week-long festival celebrated in October all over India, since its launch in 2009. The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a children’s NGO based in Bengaluru, is happy to be a part of the initiative, by virtue of being a not-for-profit organisation.

This time of the year, many of us get busy looking for Joy of Giving Week ideas. What we don’t realise is that the most credible ideas are the simple ones – buying a meal for the ones in need, giving a blanket to the homeless, gifting a box of stationery to a child and many more. When we see someone on the street in need of support, we often tell ourselves that we do not have the provision to support that person. Well, you may not be wrong. After all, this person needs your consistent support and we as individuals are often capable of providing help in small measures. However, no act is too small in this regard. As the famous proverb goes – ‘Little by little, little becomes a lot.’

There are many NGOs in India serving a cause with a purpose to deal with pressing social and economic issues and to empower every citizen in the country. This year, you can celebrate the Joy of Giving festival with The Akshaya Patra Foundation. This NGO for Children provides mid-day meals to over 1.6 million children every day. Every meal is a joyous one for the child and for the Foundation. If you are looking for opportunities to give to society, you can collaborate with Akshaya Patra and support the leaders of tomorrow.

The Joy of Giving Week may end in a few days; however, let us continue to support society by giving. Get involved with Akshaya Patra and give to the future!