NGO in Rajasthan & Its Kitchen

Reportedly, Rajasthan is the seventh most populated state in India. Of its total population, 24% is aged between six and fourteen. And, the question of concern is its education scenario. Rajasthan has the fourth lowest literacy rate in the country and has the lowest female literacy rate of just 52.66% (Census 2011). The state is also haunted by high rate of out of school and school drop-out rate. Rajasthan reported a 6.6% improvement in its literacy rate in ten years as against a countrywide improvement of 9.2%. It is one of the four BIMARU states that has lowest literacy rate and learning outcomes; the other states being Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. To address this situation, several measures have been taken by the government, and the Mid-Day Meal Scheme is one such intervention. As a supporting arm to the government’s effort, The Akshaya Patra Foundation is serving mid-day meals to more than one lakh government school children by operating as a NGO in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Nathdwara, Ajmer, and Baran.

Mid-day meal in Rajasthan

The Foundation has been providing mid-day meal in Rajasthan since 2004 by establishing its first kitchen in Jaipur. Currently, Akshaya Patra feeds a total of 1,70,723 children in 2,672 government schools across the state. The NGO operates two types of kitchen in the state – centralised kitchens and decentralised kitchens. The centralised kitchens serve children in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Nathdwara, and Ajmer whereas decentralised kitchens provide meals in the Baran region. Of the four centralised kitchens, three kitchens namely Jaipur, Nathdwara, and Ajmer are ISO 22000:2005 certified kitchens and the Jodhpur kitchen is in the process of certification.

The hi-tech centralised kitchens of the Foundation are equipped with roti-making machines, grinding machines, potato peeler machines, vegetable cutting machines, daliya roasting woks, atta kneaders, flour mill machines, cauldrons, trolleys, RO plants, rice-cleaning machines. Each of the kitchens has dedicated customised delivery vehicles. To suit the local taste, the kitchens follow a North Indian menu comprising of roti (Indian flatbread), dal (lentil curry),  rice, mixed vegetable curry, kadhi (curd-based curry), biscuits, khichdi (a dish made of rice, lentils, and vegetables), sweet daliya (a cereal-based dish), cake, biscuit, and kheer (rice-based Indian dessert).

Similar to all kitchens of the Foundation, the Rajasthan kitchens strictly adhere to hygiene and cleanliness practices while preparing meals. Kaizen, Continuous Improvement Projects and Six Sigma methodologies form an integral part of these kitchens too. While providing wholesome mid-day meals to school children in Rajasthan, this NGO in Jaipur also implements various eco-friendly measures in its kitchen operations to save cost and reduce carbon footprint while maintaining efficiency of production. Some of the initiatives taken in the kitchens of Rajasthan are:

  • Solar power panels
  • Sewage Treatment Plant
  • Reed bed plant
  • Liquid Off Take (LOT) system to reduce LPG consumption
  • Regular lab testing for emission, air etc.

The Foundation has not stopped at just providing mid-day meal in Rajasthan, rather it has also been actively involved in various socio-developmental initiatives such as Shoes Distribution, Talents Hunt, and Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan.

Akshaya Patra wants to expand its reach and benefit more children in the state. But, in doing so, it requires your support. You can be a part of the NGO’s mission to nourish children by either opting to contribute funds, donate a vehicle to deliver meals to schools or by adopting a school. By contributing towards the NGO’s cause you will ensure that children receive at least one nutritious meal per day. It will also make you a changemaker striving for a healthy and educated tomorrow. Take a step for children, support their meal, and get prepared to witness a nourished and educated India.

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How mid-day meal plays an important role in Government Schools

The Mid-Day Meal Scheme is one of the most important interventions by Government of India to promote education. On 28 November 2001, the Supreme Court of India passed a mandate 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.” Hence, under this scheme, children of government school receive free and nutritious meals on school days. It has been observed that the Mid-Day Meal Scheme has had a significant impact on the nutritional and educational status of children. During 2016-17, 9.78-crore children from 11.40-lakh schools had benefited from this scheme.

mid-day meal benefits

The government encourages the participation of NGOs by providing ample support with the intention to multiply the mid-day meal benefits i.e.:

  • avoid classroom hunger
  • increase school enrolment
  • increase school attendance
  • improve socialisation among castes
  • address malnutrition
  • empower women through employment

Since NGOs work at the grass root level and the role of NGOs is very crucial in furthering the benefits of mid-day meal, the government has set certain criterions as per NP-NSPE guidelines to select a partner NGO. Only upon fulfilment of the criterions the NGO will be considered for government partnership and also receive aid from the government in the form of grants and subsidies. The Akshaya Patra Foundation is one of the main mid-day meal NGOs in India that fulfil and adheres to the NP-NSPE guidelines. The NGO had begun implementing the mid-day meal programme in June 2000. And, after the Supreme Court’s mandate, it partnered with the government to continue the programme. This partnership was a welcome progression for the Foundation in providing nutritious meals and supporting the education of children.

Undeniably, school plays an important role in the socio-economic development of society. It is a place where children from various backgrounds mingle together promoting the culture of unity and brotherhood. The education they receive at school prepare them to achieve their goals and become successful in their lives. But, children of government schools mostly come from economically challenged backgrounds. So, even though education schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan are being implemented, the difficult financial conditions force these children to choose work over school. And, this is where the real potential of mid-day meal surfaces. Mid-day meal acts as an attractive incentive for parents to send their children to school with the sole hope that the young ones will receive at least one plate full of meal for the day. Thus, by giving the assurance of food, the Mid-Day Meal Scheme brings children to school, regularises attendance, checks drop-out rate, and helps children to receive the education they rightfully deserve.

Akshaya Patra is aware of the tangible and sustainable impact of mid-day meal. Hence, taking the onus, it conducts regular impact studies of its school lunch programme, the results of which are heartening. The several impact studies suggest that there has been a marked improvement in factors related to enrolment, attendance, health, and socialisation. To multiply this impact and bring more children under the purview of its school lunch programme, Akshaya Patra seeks supporting hands. And to make it easy for donors, it offers a quick and secure online platform. Through this platform, one can donate for the mid-day meal programme instantly from anywhere and at any time, with the provision of receiving tax exemption benefits too. It will be worth a step if you donate to charity. It will provide food and education to many deserving children while making you an important link in the chain of social development and national progress.

UP’s Education Status – Enrolment, Dropouts and Mid-day Meal

Mid-day meal in UP

Uttar Pradesh is not only the most populous state of India but also home to India’s largest child population with 200 million aged between five and 14 years. This indicates that Uttar Pradesh will soon add 200 million people to the Indian workforce. But, whether they will be assets or liabilities depends on their current health, education, and developmental status. So, let’s quickly review the current educational scenario in Uttar Pradesh.

Education in UP

The Government has taken several steps to improve this critical situation in the state, and one of the important interventions is the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. The provision of mid-day meal in UP was introduced in September 2004. And, currently, this scheme benefits over 123.57-lakh students in 1,14,125 primary schools and 54.94-lakh students in 54,394 upper primary schools in the state. Along with government efforts, NGOs such as The Akshaya Patra Foundation has also stepped in to extend the benefits of mid-day meal in UP. And, over the years, it has been observed that the Mid-Day Meal Scheme has had a tangible impact on the school enrolment, attendance, and health of the students.

Akshaya Patra, an Indian mid-day meal NGO made its foray into Uttar Pradesh in August 2004 by establishing a centralised kitchen facility in Vrindavan. Gradually, in March 2015, the Foundation established itself as an NGO in Lucknow with its second centralised kitchen in the state to serve the school children in Lucknow. Both the kitchens are ISO 22000:2005 certified and together they are providing freshly cooked nutritious school lunch to 2,11,680 children in 3,021 schools of the state. The menu of mid-day meal in UP consists of locally palatable roti-subzi (Indian flatbread with mixed vegetable curry) along with other native food items so that maximum children eat their school lunch readily and joyfully.

According to a third party assessment of the Mid-Day Meal Programme run by Akshaya Patra revealed that there is a positive trend on the studied variables: elimination of classroom hunger, social equity, nutrition and health, enrolment, retention, and attendance. The report studied eight locations of Akshaya Patra and the overall score of Uttar Pradesh was 9.43 on a scale of 10. This indicates that while there is a visible change in the health and education scenario, there is also ample opportunity to multiply the impact.

The Government and NGOs are doing their bit to improve the current educational situation of Uttar Pradesh. But, as members of the same land, we too are responsible to uplift the society. Donate to charity and partake in the efforts to empower children. Even if we can improve the lives of at least a fraction of the 200 million children, it will be a significant move towards progress. Our contribution and participation have the potential to transform millions of young lives. So let’s wholeheartedly pitch in to make the children of Uttar Pradesh assets for the state and the nation!

Akshaya Patra’s Highlights of 2017-18

Akshaya Patra Kitchen

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is recognised as the world’s largest NGO-run school lunch programme. It is an Indian NGO implementing the Mid-Day Meal Programme across 12 states in India covering more than 14,000 government schools in 36 locations. Over the past 17 years, with the vision of ‘No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger’, this charitable trust has impacted lives of over 1.7 million school going children. Strategic planning, execution, and its operational model of Public-Private Partnership have contributed to Akshaya Patra’s sustainability and expansion. It has been continuously progressing towards its mission of ‘feeding 5 million children by 2020’. Each year the NGO plans futuristically and steers its efforts to achieve it. As the journey for the new fiscal begins, here are the highlights of the past Financial Year 2017-18:

Akshaya Patra Achievements

In keeping with two of its core values – accountability and transparency, Akshaya Patra discloses its audited financial statements and operational progress of every financial year in the form of Annual Reports. The NGO Annual Report updates all its stakeholders on its overall developments and achievements along with stating the plans for the next fiscal. Each year, the Foundation’s Annual Reports have received much appreciation at the global and national platforms. During 2017-18, the report received the prestigious:

  • Golden Shield Award 2017 for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).
  • PRCI Collateral Awards 2017 at the 11th Global Communication Conclave.

With respect to operations, Akshaya Patra expanded its reach to nine more locations across the country:

Akshaya Patra kitchen locations

This Indian NGO is leaving no stone unturned to maximise the impact of the Mid-Day Meal Programme. And, the progress by far affirms that the Foundation will continue to move ahead and transform lives of children to create generations of healthy and confident citizens.

Read our beneficiaries hope stories at: https://www.akshayapatra.org/stories-of-children

The impact of mid-day meal in Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state of India. And, it is reported that over the next 10 years, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar will together account for 31% of youngest Indian population between five and 14 years. This indicates that education and health will play deciding factors for them to turn into assets for the country. As per the Census 2011, the literacy rate of Uttar Pradesh is just 67.7%. Among the many factors that affect school enrolment and literacy rate is the provision of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. The Supreme Court mandated Mid-Day Meal Scheme was introduced in the state in September 2004. And, currently this scheme covers over 123.57-lakh students in 1,14,125 primary schools and 54.94-lakh students in 54,394 upper primary schools in the state. Over the years, the state has observed tangible impact of the scheme in school enrolment, attendance, and health of the students. And, this impact was furthered by The Akshaya Patra Foundation, and NGO in Lucknow.

mid-day meal

In Uttar Pradesh, Akshaya Patra provides mid-day meal in two locations – Vrindavan and Lucknow. The NGO began its journey of providing mid-day meal in Uttar Pradesh by establishing the Vrindavan kitchen in August 2004. Currently, 1,20,262 children in 2,010 schools get benefitted from this kitchen. The kitchen at Lucknow was established in March 2015 and presently provides mid-day meal to 91,418 children in 1,011 schools. Keeping hygiene and cleanliness as our topmost priorities while preparing mid-day meals for children, both the kitchens in Uttar Pradesh are ISO 22000:2005 certified. The mid-day meals served in Uttar Pradesh follow a local palate inclusive of roti with subzi, so that maximum children readily and joyfully eat their school lunch.

As part of self-assessment of the Mid-Day Meal Programme, Akshaya Patra time and again conducts third party assessments. One such assessment was conducted by Sigma Research and Consulting Pvt. Ltd. in 2014. The report studied eight location of Akshaya Patra based on the variables pertaining to four main objectives: elimination of classroom hunger, social equity, nutrition and health, and enrolment, retention and attendance. The assessment showed a positive trend on all the variables and the overall score of Uttar Pradesh was 9.43 on a scale of 10. This reveals that while there is significant impact of the mid-day meal in Uttar Pradesh, there is also scope for creating more impact.

Currently, Akshaya Patra is providing nutritious school lunch to 2,11,680 children in 3,021 schools in Uttar Pradesh. This means each day millions of children are able to attend school and take steps towards their aspirations. You too can act as a catalyst by choosing to sponsor a child. Come forward and join the ‘unlimited food for education’ motto of this NGO in Lucknow.

The impact of mid-day meal in Rajasthan

In 2002, Rajasthan became one of the first states to implement the SC directive of providing cooked mid-day meals in government and government-aided schools across all its 32 districts. Since then there have been noticeable changes in the school environment resulting in increased enrolment at the elementary level, particularly of the girl child, significant improvement in health and quality of education, decrease in school drop-out rate, while also addressing the hunger and malnutrition issue to quite an extent. A 2016 study titled, ‘School Feeding and Learning Achievement: Evidence from India’s Midday Meal Program’ stated, ‘Continued exposure to mid-day meals contributed to an increase in test scores. Reading scores improved by 18% for children exposed for five years to mid-day meals, in comparison to children who had been exposed to mid-day meals for less than a year. The arithmetic test scores witnessed an improvement of 9%.’ To further this impact, The Akshaya Patra Foundation made its advancement towards Rajasthan in February 2004 as a mid-day meal serving NGO in Jaipur.

mid-day meal impact in Rajasthan

Akshaya Patra began its service with the introduction of the Jaipur kitchen in February 2004, followed by Baran (2005), Nathdwara (2006), Jodhpur (2013), and Ajmer (2016). To facilitate its Mid-Day Meal Programme, Akshaya Patra follows the centralised format of kitchen in Jaipur, Nathdwara, Jodhpur, and Ajmer, and operates the decentralised format in Baran for being a remote area. The three kitchens at Jaipur, Nathdwara, and Ajmer are ISO 22000:2005 certified facilities affirming the NGO’s commitment towards cleanliness, hygiene and other vital aspects of kitchen operations. Acknowledging the importance of maintaining a local taste for children to enjoy their meal, Akshaya Patra’s menu for mid-day meal in Rajasthan include rice, roti (Indian flatbread), dal (lentils curry), pulao (a rice-based dish cooked in a seasoned broth) and vegetable dishes. The strategic expansion of the NGO has resulted in its current beneficiary base of 1,70,723 children in 2,672 schools.

Taking reference from two impact studies: Akshaya Patra: Feeding India’s Schoolchildren – Harvard Business School 2007, and Assessment of Mid-Day Meal Programme in eight states – Sigma Research and Consulting Pvt. Ltd. 2014, it is observed that Akshaya Patra’s school meal programme resulted in consistent attendance of children, decrease in drop-outs and long absences, improved concentration, and significant improvements in nutritional level, height, and weight. Along with impacting the lives of children in Rajasthan, Akshaya Patra is also feeding children across 11 more states and has a total beneficiary base of over 1.6 million children. While it is moving ahead on its path to feed 5 million children by 2020, it requires your generous support. By choosing to donate towards this NGO you will also avail the benefits under 80G tax exemption in India. Come and join in the efforts of Akshaya Patra so that ‘No child in India is deprived of education because of hunger.’

Fundraise for Akshaya Patra for your special occasion

Doesn’t it feel good to celebrate your special days with much fun and fervour? Sure, it does. Now, how about including a few more guests in your celebration? These guests are young, ambitious, and for whom a plate full of sumptuous meal makes a day special! To know what struck this idea in me, just read on.

Fundraise for Akshaya Patra

Recently, I came across The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO meeting the mid-day meal requirement of children across India. While I was going through their sphere of work, reach, and impact, I came across an interesting way to get involved with the organisation and thus came upon the above-mentioned idea of making our special celebrations more meaningful. The NGO provides a platform to make a donation in honour of someone, in memory of someone, and also for all your special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, and festivals. Just by contributing Rs. 2,850 from our celebration fund, we can feed three children for an entire year. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

Akshaya Patra has been in the service of children for the past 17 years. Currently, the NGO feeds 1.6 million children in 13,839 schools across 12 states in India. Aside from the visible improvement in the nutritional levels of children, the mid-day meals have also resulted in better concentration among children, increase in regular attendance, and a progressive decline in school dropout rate. The NGO aims at feeding 5 million by 2020. Indeed a herculean task, but it is definitely possible if we all pull in to support this cause. The online fundraising platform of Akshaya Patra is a convenient and reliable way to contribute towards the cause. Further, this platform also gives you the opportunity to create your own online fundraising campaign.

The ambitious stories of Akshaya Patra’s beneficiaries testify the committed and sincere effort of the organisation. This charity for children is not only feeding the hungry stomachs but also feeding the hidden hopes and dreams of millions of children. So, when we make them a part of our special occasions, not only will we spread hope, but also nurture a generation of well-fed, well-read, and self-reliant citizens. Let us together contribute towards a meal-full present and a resourceful tomorrow!

Spreading Smiles Through Food Every Day

The humble beginnings of The Akshaya Foundation started with it serving mid-day meals to about 1,500 children in the year 2000 to five government schools in Bengaluru. The foundation, known for its dedicated service, now aims to reach 5 million children every day by 2020.

NGO for Children

Having started with just one van transporting food from a kitchen in Bengaluru across the schools, the Foundation today serves over 1.6 million children across 13,800+ schools in 12 states across India. The food supplied is cooked in 34 centralised and decentralised kitchens operated by the Foundation. Corporates and Individuals donating for education in India have been a major support to the Foundation.

Built on a public-private partnership model, Akshaya Patra combines good management, innovative technology and smart engineering to deliver a nutritious and hygienic school lunch. It has taken one baby step at a time, and over time adopting a near corporate-style of functioning, including annual auditing by highly respected auditors. This has ensured that it is trusted by every donor. It also got the respect of many multi-national companies to support the cause of a top NGO like Akshaya Patra.

The Foundation’s kitchens are built leveraging the state of the art technology. The meals are prepared with a minimal human contact with the food and thus are extremely safe and hygienic.

Started with a vision that “No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger”, it has been very successful in meeting the aim to a very great extent. Despite the huge and daunting task ahead of it in a country where millions of children are born into economically-challenged families, it did not deter the Foundation.

But, to keeps its good work going, it needs continuous flow of funds. It’s only the NGOs’ role in India that ensures the needy children are reached across the country.  It has today come to be one of the largest such mid-day meal schemes in the world and it’s growing rapidly.

This NGO in Karnataka is contributing to eradicate classroom hunger

Karnataka celebrated its formation day recently. Akshaya Patra has many memories related to the state. Starting from first school to be benefitting from the meals cooked by Akshaya Patra, the non-profit organisation in Karnataka currently serves 2,968 Government and Government-aided schools in the state over 17 years of its existence in the state. It has been instrumental in bringing down the dropout rate among schoolchildren.

feed the children

Many NGOs work towards countering hunger and malnutrition. The Akshaya Patra Foundation has come to be seen as a major participant in the mid-day meals that reach thousands of children, mostly from the economically-challenged backgrounds. Given the reach and impact of the NGO, it is among the list of NGOs in Bangalore that are helping the children in many ways.

The State Governments have been partnering NGOs like the Foundation in implementing the Mid-Day Meal Programme in their efforts to increase the number of children in schools.

The NGO has been using the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model as a route to improve the quality and reach of the programme. The NGOs selected in this scheme are picked based on many variables set by the State Government. Such organisations must be transparent and of proven integrity. Akshaya Patra has been feed the children a wholesome meal every day.

The Foundation today helps feed over 4.86 lakh children in 2,968 schools in Karnataka. Over 2 lakh children from Bengaluru benefit from this initiative. They are supplied freshly-cooked food from kitchens in the city. Many corporates and individuals come together and make charity donations to enable the NGO to feed school lunch to these children.

The programme has only been increasing in its scope and reach over the years and is widening its reach fast.

How to make this Diwali special by involving in a social cause

Make this festival of lights special. There are numerous ways to do it. But by involving social cause in your celebration, you would be spreading joy among others too.

diwali-post

How can you do so? One can get involved with a social cause. The Akshaya Patra Foundation is one such avenue for anyone looking to share their happiness with the disadvantaged. While you are ensuring someone is getting a chance to be happy, it’s a chance to light up many lives.

The non-profit fundraising ideas of an NGO, especially a credible one like Akshaya Patra, would be a good means of ensuring you have reached the right target group or groups.

Happiness cannot be measured, but can be felt, and can be contagious. If someone you know also notices that they too can be a part of the social cause, it’s no less than magical. Imagine the number of lives you can touch while indirectly encouraging others too to be part of the cause.

You can either make the donation yourself directly to the foundation or organize various fundraising activities. These can be anything engaging. The profit generated out of this can be used to donate towards the cause of feeding children. This way your source of joy will not be limited to your family and friends. Even these children whom you will be donating meals to can make you happy. As you donate towards the cause, you will be eligible for tax exemption in India.

This is just one of the ways you can reach the target group. In this case, mostly school children. By donating just Rs 950, you can assure a child a meal for one entire year. Apart from just filling their stomach, this will also help them prioritise studies over work.

Contribute towards ensuring every child in India is well-fed and educated. Donate to charity today.