How Goodwill Ambassadors make an impact on NGO?

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Goodwill Ambassador, as the term suggests, is a person who advocates for a specific organisation or cause. They are mostly associated with causes or fields that promote welfare and development of the community at large.

Many NGOs – national and international – appoint Goodwill Ambassadors as a means to spread awareness and gather support for their respective causes. The work spheres of the appointed Goodwill Ambassadors are generally related to the cause of the NGOs or they genuinely feel for the cause. For example: if an NGO caters to the development of sports among not-so-privileged children then they will appoint a popular sportsman of the country as their Goodwill Ambassador.

Similarly, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a mid-day meal charity in India has appointed Goodwill Ambassadors to promote their cause of supporting education of children by providing school lunch. Here is a list of Ambassadors who are supporting Akshaya Patra by spreading awareness and getting involved with the Foundation’s cause:

Sanjeev-Kapoor

Sanjeev Kapoor – A celebrity Chef and Entrepreneur, Sanjeev Kapoor has been closely associated with Akshaya Patra. He has not only helped in raising funds during his visit to the US, but also participated and supervised cooking of 918 kgs of khichdi along with Akshaya Patra to set the world record.

Divya-Sathyaraj

Divya Sathyaraj – A professional nutritionist, Divya Sathyaraj has immense experience in working with children to improve their nutritional levels. She has also worked with children in refugee camps and has been associated with many NGOs.

Chef-Ramasamy-Selavaraju

Chef Ramasamy Selavaraju – Chef Ramasamy Selvaraju of Vivanta By Taj, Bengaluru, is a celebrated name in the world of culinary. He has been associated with Akshaya Patra for the past four years and have mentored seven ambitious beneficiaries of the NGO who dreams to make it big in the culinary world.

Shankar-Mahadevan

Shankar Mahadevan – A reputed composer and playback singer had composed a song to mark the Foundation’s one billionth meal celebration.

Impact of Goodwill Ambassadors

Be it a top NGO like Akshaya Patra or any other NGO, Goodwill Ambassadors potentially increase the NGO’s connectivity with the audience. In many ways, they amplify the role of NGOs by affirming that despite diversity in the nature of work, each NGO constructively contribute to the upliftment of the society. Depending on the popularity, people start associating a charity with the Goodwill Ambassador. Thus, Goodwill Ambassadors help charities gain visibility, reliability, and support for their respective causes.

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Hunger Action Month – A Campaign to Fight Hunger

There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread” – Mahatma Gandhi.

Fortunately, most of us do not have to think about where our meal will come from. Either it will be prepared at home or we can order a sumptuous meal at the click of a button. But, there are many who are not privileged even to get even a square meal per day. And, the number of such people are as high as 815 million, globally. Yes, hunger is an epidemic that has spread across almost all parts of the world. And, with 190.7 million people who suffer from hunger each day, India is home to 1/3rd of world’s hungry population. This is where food providing NGO role in India becomes extremely significant.

Hunger Action Month

Hunger action month

The month of September is observed as a Hunger Action Month across many countries. The origin of it dates back to 2008 when Feeding America, a United States-based non-profit hunger relief organisation, felt the need of a nationwide participation to deal with the hunger crisis. Since then, Hunger Action Month is observed annually with the aim to spread awareness and act to end hunger. This month-long campaign is a platform for the entire community to work together and ensure access to food for needy people. 

And, the best part is, hunger is a solvable problem!

How hunger affects sustainable development

Food is the basic need for survival for any living being. It provides the required energy to do all activities – physical and cognitive. When the stomach is empty, the only thought that clouds the head and heart is, food! In general, hunger leads to low immunity, deprived health, malnourishment, and delayed growth and development.

Hence, as an intervention several NGOs have taken up food as the core cause of their service, and The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO for children in India is one among them. Akshaya Patra has been in the service of providing nutritious meals to children since 2000. It implements the Mid-Day Meal Scheme across 12 states of the country and strives to eliminate classroom hunger to support education. Akshaya Patra’s cause is in sync with two Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations i.e. Zero Hunger and Quality Education. Classroom hunger leads to:

  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of concentration
  • Low levels of learning
  • Low academic performance
  • Lack of interest in school activities

Inferencing from the above-mentioned, it becomes evident that hunger poses as a major hurdle in sustainable development and progress of a country and the global community as a whole.

How can Hunger Action Month aid in improving Global Hunger Index

Global Hunger Index is a multidimensional statistical tool to measure the hunger status of countries across the world. The scores on this scale indicates the progress and failures in the fight against hunger globally. Remaining specific to India,

India ranks 100 among 119 countries in Global Hunger Index 2017. It has been categorised under the ‘serious’ range.

But, Hunger Action Month gives an opportunity to improve the hunger scores at a global level and at a national level. As a food-based NGO for children, Akshaya Patra campaigns for Hunger Action Month annually and urges supporters to generously participate in the campaign with the sole intention of creating a sustainable solution for hunger. When children are well-nourished and well-educated, they will grow up to be healthy, skilled, and resourceful citizens. Such citizens not only add prosperity to the family but also to the entire nation. Thus, there is a direct correlation between number of resourceful citizens and hunger index.

Conclusion

As a wrap, it is important to note that hunger is the number one cause of death in the world. This crisis can be dealt effectively only when the entire community actively gets involved to fight against the epidemic called hunger. 

This September, donate to end hunger. Your donation will enable Akshaya Patra to feed more children thereby increasing its present reach of 1.76 million children. You have the power to end hunger, use it by supporting school meals of children.

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one” – Mother Teresa.

Akshaya Patra’s relief service during natural disasters

Akshaya Patra's relief effort

Food, water, and shelter are the basic human needs. But, uncontrollable natural calamities such as earthquakes, floods, and the like snatches away these amenities in an instant. During such challenging times, the entire human community comes together in aid of the sufferers. As a response to tackle these calamities, many NGOs have taken up relief services as their core cause providing immediate relief like rescue, temporary shelter, provision of food and water, etc. along with helping people to resettle and deal with the after effects of calamities. Addition to these specialised relief NGOs, there are other NGOs such as The Akshaya Patra Foundation who step in to provide help during natural disasters.

Akshaya Patra’s disaster relief services

Akshaya Patra is an NGO in India providing mid-day meal to more than 1.7 million children on each school day across 12 states. Aside from its core cause, this NGO is actively involved in providing relief services during natural disasters by providing food and water to affected people. They have not only helped distressed people in India but also across the borders in Nepal. Below is a quick overview of Akshaya Patra’s proactive response so far:

Disaster reliefs by Akshaya Patra

Aside from the above mentioned, Akshaya Patra was also quick to respond to the devastating situation in Kerala and Coorg. The NGO is currently providing food to the affected people of these regions on a daily basis. Akshaya Patra has been serving all three meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – in Kerala since 13 August 2018 and in Coorg since 20 August 2018. So far, it has served more than 1.5 lakh meals as part of its relief service. Click here to read more on Akshaya Patra’s disaster relief services.

Be a part of Akshaya Patra

You can be a part of Akshaya Patra’s cause and its disaster relief activities by signing in as an NGO volunteer. By being a volunteer, you will not only be involved in the service of children but also be of help to people in distress. You can also raise funds for this NGO in India that will help to provide school meals to children and also help in providing disaster relief. Act now. Be a part of Akshaya Patra today!

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.

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!