What charitable organisations in India are truly practising?

Phillips Brooks had said – charity must begin at home but must not stay there. There are hundreds of charitable organisations in India that are taking their work to the whole world. They are making the world notice vital causes that influence mankind. One such charity in Bangalore is the Akshaya Patra Foundation that has combined the cause of education with feeding the children.

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It’s a charitable trust in India that’s dedicated to serving mid-day meals to school children. Its centralised kitchens are located in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and UP.

Charitable organisations such as this are practising fair ways of carrying out educational missions for children in India. The charity in Bangalore has set standards of transparency in terms of accounts, funding, online fund-raising and distribution of resources. Every charitable act conducted by organisations such as this has been influencing a whole life of a child.

These organisations are also setting great examples of accountability – a trait that’s especially needed in today’s world replete with corruption. Channelising technology and social media, these charitable trusts are involving people actively in their missions in India. Today, these organisations are tech-savvy bodies that move intelligently and keep their donors in complete knowledge of their processes and execution.

This is steadily building the confidence of people and encouraging them to donate towards charitable trusts in India. Education and children are the two factors that are crucial for a more intuitive and futuristic society. Investing in these is equivalent to investing in your own future. This apart from the satisfaction that you get to positively make a difference into the lives of children is personally gratifying. Donate for this charity today.

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How can parents prepare their child for the school year?

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

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Make a supply list

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

Talk to them about their fears

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

Drop them off the first day

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

Involve them for a cause

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

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

Make a Gift of Wholesome Meals for Children this Ugadi!

 

A new beginning heralds new hopes and dreams, as we bid goodbye to the times that were and look to the future. The festival of Ugadi – as it is called in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and known variously as Yugadi (Karnataka), Gudi Padwa (Maharashtra), Thapna (Rajasthan), Sajibu Nongma Panba (Manipur) and Cheti Chand (in the Sindhi community), marks the New Year for communities across India on March 29, 2017. Spring is in full bloom to welcome the festival, which is celebrated with much enthusiasm, with elaborate rituals and much feasting. On this occasion, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a top NGO in India, would like to wish all its supporters a very Happy Ugadi!

Wide arrays of special dishes are prepared to celebrate Ugadi in its various forms across the country. These include the Puran Poli/Holige/Bobbattu and Ugadi Pachadi among others, which members of a household feast on after they’ve done their ritual worship. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the bounty of nature – food – was available to those who most require it? India’s children—those who carry the promise of a bright New Year and new tomorrow on their shoulders – need to have abundant food for their well-being. A well-fed child is healthy and concentrates well in class; a mid-day meal benefits his or her education and secures it.

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Akshaya Patra has been working tirelessly over the past 17 years to nourish school children in India. The role of NGOs in India is to aid social betterment and Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme is the largest such NGO-run initiative in the world, providing nutritious, wholesome mid-day meals to over 1.6 million children across 11 states in India. The auspicious occasion of Ugadi is a wonderful time to pledge your support to the cause of ‘unlimited food for education’, so that India’s school children do not know classroom hunger and are empowered to pursue their future dreams. All it takes to feed one child for a whole year is a sum of Rs 950. Donate to charity to make the New Year a happy one for these children!

Get Insights on How to Make a Difference by Donating

Have you experienced the feeling of making a difference? It’s fulfilling. Many Akshaya Patra donors have helped Mid-Day Meal Programme in reaching out to millions of school children every day. Whether it’s a small or big amount, we are sure that the amount has made a big impact. Donating not only creates a positive environment for children’s future, but also ensures your good health by leaving you joyous. Incredibly!

How to make a difference by donating?

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If you have not tried donating earlier, you might be a bit skeptical about donating for a cause. What we would like to say is try something small. For example, a simple thing you can do is gift a stationery kit or an exam kit to a child who comes from an economically weak background. Here are two ways you can make a difference by donating towards children’s growth.

Sponsor a child

There are millions of Akshaya Patra beneficiaries whose responsibility could be in your hands. Out of millions of children we reach out to, you could take responsibility of one by donating Rs 950. This amount ensures the child receives mid-day 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.

Pay someone’s fees

Many children drop out of school and colleges due to the burden of fees. While the Indian Government has taken a great initiative to provide free education for children between 6 to 14 years, many children, once they move out of high school, their expenditure blocks them from studying further. You can take the responsibility to identify the person and pay his or her fees for the year! This will fulfill their dreams to learn!

What does Akshaya Patra do?

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an NGO in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and many other states, 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 organisation the world’s largest NGO-run feeding programme is noteworthy; the organisation began its humble service in the year 2000 with immense support from government, corporates, donors and many volunteers who have contributed to the cause and also donated to charity, the organisation has grown in leaps and bounds.

You can support Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme by donating for this cause while you also have the option to fundraise on our website.

Serving Hope in Every Meal by Akshaya Patra

As a baby, you’d cry for food and as a school child, you would run home right after the school bell rang because your stomach groaned for food. Your mother would then serve you a little snack to help you along with your homework. After a good wholesome dinner, you would call it a day! However, this isn’t the case for many children in our country simply because their situation does not allow them to expect a meal. If you’ve been cared for, how about you donate in honour of someone who looked after you? Read on to know why your contribution can make a difference in a child’s life.

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. The role of NGOs have expanded drastically over the years and at The Akshaya Patra Foundation, it is a promise kept to feed a wholesome meal to the underserved children across many states. With an ever-growing dedication, The Foundation has been feeding nutritious meals to more than 1.5 million children in India and aims to reach 5 million children by 2020.

Akshaya Patra beneficiary in Karnataka

Since its inception, The Foundation’s cause has been receiving generous support from many individuals, organisations and the Government. With the growing support, we believe we can help children escape classroom hunger. Most of our beneficiaries do not miss school only because they are served nutritious mid-day meals every day. For Ashwini, who is benefitting from Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meal programme, it is important that her studies are not interrupted due to a devastating situation in the family. In Ashwini’s life, each mid-day meal plays an important role by encouraging her to attend school on a regular basis. To know more of Ashwini’s hopes and that of other children’s whose education is assured through mid-day meals, you can visit hope stories.

Children benefiting from Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meals are more than encouraged to continue their studies with a hope of achieving something big—for it is hunger that steals their right to learn. When a child has to strive for food or sleep on an empty stomach, it creates an injustice to the humanity itself. By bringing nutritious food closer to children, Akshaya Patra helps them concentrate on education because when the school bell rings, they can run to the playground instead.

You can care for our cause too!

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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. 750 which feeds a child for an entire year! You can also make your contribution by donating in honour of someone you admire. By this, you not only honour an individual but you also honour the cause of ensuring that children are fed.

Why children are hungry?

The concept of happiness changes with each person. For a young child, happiness is the time he or she gets to play, learn and enjoy with friends. However, today, millions of children across the world miss out the opportunity to happiness. How children enjoy childhood when issues like hunger, poverty, illiteracy and malnutrition follow them since birth?

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Of course, we do have enough food to feed the entire world.  But still 795 million people (one in nine people) in the world are hungry and nearly 400 million children live in extreme poverty. But have you ever tried to find out the reasons behind this occurrence? Here are some reasons as pointed out by the World Food Programme (WFP), the largest humanitarian agency in the world fighting hunger.

Once fallen into the trap of poverty, according to the agency, it is tough to come out of it. The aftereffect is that people become weak and less capable of earning enough income to support their family.

Think how worse the situation will be when it is added with an unstable market. The fluctuating prices and high costs of food items, no doubt, can make lives of poor miserable and force them to either sacrifice food or to get satisfied with a cheaper and less-nutritious option, which is the start of malnutrition.

Like the unstable market, natural calamities also play a huge role in hunger. Floods, storms and drought can cause crop failures, losses of livestock and massive destruction of crops. Climate change and deforestation also pose threat to farmlands. Apart from these natural reasons, hunger and malnutrition can be sometimes a man-made phenomenon like war and riots.

Similarly, lack of important agricultural infrastructure, has an indirect connection with hunger and poverty. Lack of proper roads can increase the transportation cost, absence of enough warehouses can make it difficult to store the food and lack of proper irrigation facilities can lead to shortage in water supplies.  All these together, can affect distribution and cost of food items.

Though these issues can be solved, it is a shame to reveal that we waste about one third of 1.3 billion tons of food produced in the world.

The most concerning part comes when hunger strikes children. Childhood is one of the most important stages of growth in life and ousting hunger at this period is very crucial for remaining healthy later in life.

The good news is that there is a chance for hope. The World Food Programme (WFP) and millions of other non-profit organisations across the world have already started their fight against hunger. Interestingly, the World Food Programme has already provided food security to 80 million people in 75 countries and the day when we free the 400 million children from hunger and say proudly that ‘child hunger ends here’ is not far from reality.


 

Akshaya Patra is not-for-profit organization working for the development of underprivileged children to eliminate hunger and illiteracy. The NGO in India is serving mid-day meal to 1.4 million children across 10 states of India.

Fighting Child Hunger and Improving Education

Food is one of the essentials needed to survive on this earth. However, all of us are not lucky enough to receive a sufficient supply due to many reasons.  It is shocking to know that about 870 million people in the world struggle for a square meal every day due to extreme poverty.

Feed the hungry children

When we talk about hunger children always come at the forefront as they are the worst affected. Lack of food or nutrition during the early stages of growth can lead to several health problems and sometimes even to death. Here are some statistics on children and hunger:

  • Malnutrition kills about 3.1 million children every year
  • About 100 million children (one out of six) in developing countries fall below the recommended weight
  • One in four children in the world is stunted
  • About 66 million primary school children go hungry to school

Measures have been taken to bring these numbers down and works by The World Food Programme (WFP), the largest anti-hunger agency of the UN in the world, have been quite inspiring. Interestingly, the agency feeds 80 million people in 75 countries every year.

From the past 54 years, the agency has been trying constantly to eliminate hunger and provide children an opportunity to attend school.  For this purpose, WFP supplies nutritious school meals to over 20 million children across the world.

The initiative has helped bring children back to school and bring hopes in millions of families. These meals, in a way, have also provided underprivileged children all the nutrition needed for growth.  The school meal programme has also given an opportunity to utilise the local resources and increase their demand.

Who else help school children in India – an overview:

A 2013 report on school feeding programmes across 169 countries released by the World Food Project ranked India 12th among lower middle income countries. During that time, India was feeding 114 million school children every day.

Some of the organisations which have helped improve lives of school children in India include:

  • The Akshaya Patra Foundation: The NGO, at present feeds freshly cooked nutritious mid-day meals to over 1.4 million school children in 10 states.

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  • Annamrita: The NGO feeds 1.2 million meals in eight states in India.

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  • Nanhi Kali: The NGO  helps provide education to girls

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  • Smile Foundation: is dedicated to empower underprivileged children, youth and women.

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These organisations have helped feed the hungry, provide education and empowerment and brought hope to millions of school children. However, there is a long way to go in eliminating classroom hunger altogether or providing education to all.

But, it is very much achievable. Just keep the good works going and soon ‘child hunger is gone’ will be a beautiful truth.

The bond between donors and Akshaya Patra

Donors are the pillars on which a NGO like Akshaya Patra relies on to keep working on its cause. Such is their role that building trust and good relationships is critical to the existence of the organisation. We need to achieve our goal and fulfil our mission and they are there to support us. This is a constant need that is likely be met by a number of donors over time.

Donor Relationship

Our relationship with donors builds a connection that result with potential funding. The stronger that trust and connection, the more likely donor will support Akshaya Patra. But it doesn’t mean that a donor who once supported us will keep extending the favour. So, it is essential to earn their loyalty and trust again and again.

How do you earn this? We have to comply with the rules and regulations and communicate.

When communicating with donors, we have to address the key elements that shape a donor’s perceptions and willingness to continue supporting the mid-day meal programme. Donors want to know:

  • If The Akshaya Patra Foundation is using its funds effectively and efficiently for the intended purpose
  • Are we effecting positive change on the lives of children we serve every day
  • Do we have a good image and reputation

Akshaya Patra has to communicate effectively. It has to be as clear, direct and honest in the communication both verbally and in writing. Follow up on donors regularly. Akshaya Patra needs to send written summaries of key issues and actions. It needs to be responsive to donor requests. Questions need to be asked to understand what is being requested and when it is due. There should be honest interactions.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation has to be realistic and deliver on the promises made. It has to be careful not to compromise the quality of the programme. It has to use donor funds as expected. The financial transparency it observed stringently is also a key factor that allows donors to trust the organisation.

Building a strong relationship with donors through open, two-way communication is the key to making Akshaya Patra successful. The confidence of people in the organization develops the willingness to support.


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Akshaya Patra applies technology to run the mid-day meal programme

There are several advancements in technology that has indeed made our lives easy but how much of these development can benefit society from a three sixty degree view. Technology has indeed made impactful interventions but are we able to harness enough to benefit all?

Talking about mid-day meal we can have a distinct view on its applications and benefits. The Mid-Day Meal Scheme is one of the largest free school lunch programme initiated by the Government of India. It is to ensure that children receive nutritious meals and can concentrate on studies rather than on earning a square meal. It is to tackle classroom hunger and promote education. In order to implement this, there are kitchens across the country to run the programme. As these kitchens have to cater to thousands and millions of children every day, they are categorised as centralised kitchens and decentralised kitchens. Centralised kitchens are mechanised kitchens equipped for mass production of mid-day meal and they also act as nodal kitchen for a set of schools in a particular region. This model of kitchens is viable and largely seen in urban areas.

Akshaya Patra Centralized Kitchen

Signs of technological intervention are a sure sight in all the kitchens of The Akshaya Patra Foundation. A walk into any kitchen unit of the Foundation will give a well maintained factory-like feel. A closer look will reveal that it is a kitchen that bustles up every morning to prepare thousands and millions of meal. Right from huge rice cauldrons beginning with 500 litres cooking capacity and dal cauldrons with capacity of 1,200 litres to 3,000 litres of dal, there are mechanised roti making machines that can roll out 200,000 rotis from 6,000 kilograms of wheat flour. Not just for cooking, Akshaya Patra also utilises technology in storage and delivery process. There are cold storages in each kitchen to store ready-to-cook cut vegetables to retain freshness. For delivering the cooked food, the NGO makes use of custom-made insulated vehicles to control temperature loss so that freshness of the cooked meal remains intact till it is served to the children. In order to ensure safety and on-time delivery, methods like logistic charting for route optimization and GPRS are adopted and implemented in the kitchens.

Akshaya Patra Mega Kitchen

There many more applications of technology that have helped in continuous increase of productivity, enhanced quality and improved service. These interventions have also potentially affected sustainability of each kitchen allowing the Foundation to increase its beneficiary base. Yet, Akshaya Patra continues to explore newer avenues to further advance its capacity of feeding millions of children and move forward in eradicating classroom hunger.


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What drives people to connect and contribute to a NGO?

What is the NGO all about? What does it do? Is it making a difference? How is it using funds in what it does? Why is it doing, what it does? Can it be trusted? These are a few of the palpable questions in one’s mind before making decision to act upon supporting a NGO.

Food for Education

As Akshaya Patra, as a world renowned NGO, what is the impact we are generating to make people act and help it make a change? What is our identity? It says we run the world largest NGO-run mid-day meal programme. The answer itself gives birth to many more questions which need to be answered. Are we building a personal connect with the people? When we say we are feeding millions of children in an effort to eliminate classroom hunger. When we say we nourish minds and nurture dreams. When we say we provide unlimited food for education. Are those enough to paint a real picture?

Questions need to be answered at the right time with the right information so the organisation stands out amongst other. Many people support because they connect with the work Akshaya Patra does. Helping children every day with nutritious food, yes! It builds that connection with many people. But there are others who look in for more before they decide to lend a hand. Some try to find out what’s in for them. One may say,

Yes! I am making a difference in children’s lives for the better is good enough for me.”

Or the fact that one get 100% tax exemption when one makes a donation above rs.500 make a positive impact to react. Or issues The Akshaya Patra Foundation is constantly trying to mitigate make one extend a helping hand. Some people asked about how the funds are spent, and Akshaya Patra has proper and unadulterated answers which make people get a clear picture. That does make a good impression. Akshaya Patra is the only NGO to be inducted in the ICAI Hall of Fame for winning the Gold Shield Award for Excellence in Financial Reporting five years in a row. That shows the commitment the organisation has on being transparent.

Donate for Charity

Akshaya Patra as an NGO in India needs to answer any and every questions related to its work and cause because that is what will drive people to connect and contribute to the organisation.


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