How Akshaya Patra is Contributing to Development of Society

NGO for children

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

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

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

ismail-malik-principal-gujarat-school

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

 

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

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

Akshaya Patra Initiative

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

mid-day meal objective

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

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

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

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

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Do items in your shopping basket add up to Rs. 95?

“Your total bill amount is Rs. 3,542”, said the cashier as he handed over the bill to me.
I took out my wallet, paid him the amount. And, as he was packing the items in a bag, I wondered ‘has my needs increased, am I buying impulsively, or has the prices of the commodities skyrocketed.’

Shopping basket

Graphically speaking, I fail to understand how my grocery bill constantly shows an upward trend every month. I don’t remember when was the last time somebody handed me a bill of below Rs. 1,000. It does bother me, but again with the usual humdrum and busy schedule, I forget about it until the next shopping. And, then came the moment of truth when on a regular day at work, I saw my colleague donating to an NGO named The Akshaya Patra Foundation. After she finished her transaction, I enquired about the NGO. Her reply completely left me amazed.

She said, “Akshaya Patra is an NGO for children that provide food to government school children on every school day. The NGO has been operating the school meal programme for the past 17 years. It has a pan-India presence and presently serves school lunch to more than 1.6 million children.” At this, I stopped her and said that it must be a really expensive affair because grocery for one household itself costs somewhere between Rs. 2,500 – Rs. 3,000. My colleague smiled and said, “Akshaya Patra feeds 3 children for an entire year with Rs. 2,850.” And, she pointed towards the donation page of the NGO. I was totally stumped at what I had just heard and what I was seeing on the screen.

She added, “Though I am in a situation where I can afford food, I know how the hunger pangs feel. On the days when I have to skip my breakfast and rush to office, or skip my lunch to complete a report, my body and mind give up. It becomes very difficult to remain focussed on what I am doing. Well then, what about those children who aren’t even sure of getting their next meal. This particular fact drew me to support Akshaya Patra’s cause because their effort ensures at least one nutritious meal per day. That’s why on every special occasion like my birthday, my parents anniversary or during festivals I make online donations for NGO.”

And, before I could process all that she was saying, my colleague scrolled down the page and said, “When you donate to Akshaya Patra, you also become eligible for 80G deduction on your donated amount. This means the amount you donate becomes eligible for tax exemption, a benefit that you can utilise at the time of income tax filing.”

That evening, to find answers to the innumerable questions popping in my head, I read up on the humongous task that Akshaya Patra is doing. In the end, I realised that maybe I can never bring down my grocery bill, but I sure can ensure nutritious meals for children for an entire year with an amount less than my monthly grocery expense. And convinced with Akshaya Patra’s endeavour, I took my first ever step towards contributing charity!