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.

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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.

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Mid-Day Meals in School Motivate Children to Aspire High

There are several benefits of the mid-day meal scheme being run by The Akshaya Patra Foundation in schools. Many of these benefits relate to the health of the children and their physical and mental growth. However, a bonus about this service is that children learn to have aspirations about their career.

Feed a dream

These children, who are beneficiaries of mid-day meal in states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka or Madhya Pradesh, become conscious of their career choices. For instance, Sanjana Borashetti, a student of Class VIII in a Government school in Huballi, scores highest in her class. She is motivated to come to school because she never wants to miss the benefits of the mid-day meal scheme being run in her school.

Since often her house is deprived of electricity, she wishes to work in the direction of public amenities. She wants to become a district collector when she grows up.

When Sanjana experienced the basic benefit of the mid-day meal scheme, she understood the importance of fulfilling basic necessities for others.

Be it in Tamil Nadu or Madhya Pradesh, the mid-day meal is being served keeping the local cuisine in mind. Thus, children enjoy food and never miss school. Regular attendance keeps them informed about the world and inspires them to compete with their peers.

Many of these children get sponsorships from various donors who give generously for Akshaya Patra. The donors get the benefit of tax exemption. But nothing makes the donors happier than reading success stories of children who dream for their future.

If you are someone who wish to help children receive the benefits of mid-day meal scheme, do lend us a helping hand. Your donations are eligible for tax exemptions. As Akshaya Patra observes the Hunger Action Month and focuses its attention towards states like Tamil Nadu, you can choose to help today.

Why Children Need a Wholesome Meal

What makes the world’s largest NGO-run mid-day meal programme significant? It’s because it feeds the children with wholesome meal. This kind of meal aids in growth of their body and mind. During their childhood, children are more prone to develop at least one of the micronutrient deficiencies such as vitamin A, iodine, iron, zinc or folate. They must be given a wholesome meal in sufficient quantity to ensure their body develops with their age.

Food for children

The mid-day meal programme run by The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO that has kitchens across India. One of them is in Surat. From their state-of-the-art kitchen in Surat, the meal is supplied to various schools in and around Surat.

The NGO is feeding the children in Surat as part of its nation-wide programme that’s run in collaboration with the Government. This programme lays emphasis on the wholesomeness of the meals because these meals directly impact children’s growth. The NGO, that began operations in the year 2000, works in active collaboration with the government and government-run schools in order to feed the children.

In Surat, the school children are especially excited as they are getting their favourite meals every day served by the NGO’s volunteers. As part of the Hunger Action Month, the NGO is trying to take mid-day meals to more schools in Surat and other parts of Gujarat.

The contributors or donors to the NGO get the benefit of 80G deduction in income tax. That way more donors are encouraged to contribute and help in feeding the children. However, it’s not just the 80G deduction that encourages people. Many people in the city take out time to volunteer in the kitchen. They help the staff in cooking the meals and serving it to the children.

The kitchen of this NGO in Surat especially uses pulses such as Toor dal, fortified soy dal, green gram whole, Urad dal, peas, Moong dal, cow pea, green gram sprouts, soy products like- chunks, flakes, Gram dal, Bengal gram whole, channa dal etc. while preparing the meals. Since the menu is already in place, the meals are always healthy and wholesome and benefit the children.

Feeding the children with wholesome meals is significant today if we want our children to experience a healthy growth. You can join us this month as we observe Hunger Action Month and attempt to eliminate hunger among children in India.

This Teacher’s Day, Let’s Make Education Accessible to Children

A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind and touches a heart, it is said. And when children are free to use their hands for writing, their mind for thinking and their heart for learning, true education happens. But many children in India are deprived of education due to inaccessibility to school. They are forced to work to earn their meals. The need to for donation for education in India is a need of the hour.

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Every year on Teachers’ Day, we hear amazing tales of extraordinary teachers who chose children charity as a mission of their lives. We learn about some of them who went an extra mile to donate or teach or volunteer for education in India. Many of these set great examples of teaching or doing children charity, became life mentors and brought several children to the light of education.

Our heart especially reaches out to hundreds of dedicated teachers serving in Government or Government-aided schools.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation serves mid-day meals to children in thousands of such schools. The volunteers interact with teachers who freely extend their support to the foundation in serving a wholesome lunch. These teachers encourage children to enjoy their meals and come to the school regularly.

The foundation is observing Hunger Month in September by educating teachers and students about the ill effects of under nourishment. The organisation is spreading awareness about the need to feed the children through charity or donation. We are thankful to teachers who are helping us fight hunger this month.

You may be a teacher or someone who is touched by a teacher’s charity. You may consider helping the society by donating for education in India. All donations with The Akshaya Patra Foundation gain income tax exemption. Donate today.

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.

Taking the Leap to Fight Hunger: Expanding Footprints in India

The cause of ‘food for education’ urgently needs a boost and Akshaya Patra is expanding its reach across the country to achieve this. With its mission – ‘No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger’ – the Foundation is marching ahead to erase classroom hunger in India. The role of NGOs in India – to bring about social betterment – is fulfilled by the Foundation in partnership with State and Central governments in India. Its current reach of over 1.6 million beneficiaries, who receive a wholesome mid-day meal every day, is set to take a big leap.

In 2016, the Foundation established its presence in Maharashtra by launching its very first kitchen in the state in Nagpur. In Andhra Pradesh, it added two more kitchens – at Kakinada and Mangalagiri. In neighbouring Telangana, Akshaya Patra laid the foundation stone for its first high-tech mega kitchen at Khandi in Telangana. Come the next academic year, this kitchen will feed more than 1,00,000 children in the region and its construction cost will be borne by the Infosys Foundation, which has donated for education in India by making a contribution of Rs 18.03 crore towards the Foundation for this project.

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December 2016 also saw the Foundation set the stage for a major expansion in Uttar Pradesh. It will set up 11 new kitchens in the state in the districts of Varanasi, Ghaziabad, Agra, Allahabad, Kanpur, Etawah, Kannauj, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Rampur and Ballia. Shri Akhilesh Yadav, Honourable Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP), performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the same, on December 26, 2016 at Lok Bhavan, New Secretariat, Lucknow. These new kitchens will expand the Foundation’s reach to 13 lakh beneficiaries in UP from 2,11,680 children it is presently feeding, benefitting 10,88,320 more children from the next academic year.

To reach out to millions more children in the country and aid their quest for education via nutritious mid-day meals, the Foundation needs the support of all the individuals committed to eradicating classroom hunger. Join Akshaya Patra in nourishing the health and furthering the education of India’s children by making a donation towards it. These donations also avail donors tax exemptions under sections 35AC and 80GGA of the Income Tax Act.

Help secure the future of India’s children. Support ‘unlimited food for education’!

Of Quality Education: what defines quality?

Running a children’s charity would mean providing the little ones the basic necessities of life which they are deprived of for various reasons. Akshaya Patra opened its doors to Indian children in the year 2000 by providing them mid-day meals in government schools and government-aided schools. Vision: No child should be deprived of education because of hunger.

Ever since India began its Mid-Day Meal Scheme, the drop-out rates have decreased and enrolment rates in schools have increased. However, Mid-Day Meal is only one of the factors in making this possible. With the help of central and state governments, Akshaya Patra, an NGO in India, has been providing mid-day meals to school children for the last 16 years.

Now with more and more children in schools, the country is focusing on Quality Education – one of the goals proposed by UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). In 2015, the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) proposed Sustainable Development Goals to 194 countries. Among the 17 aspirational goals with objective to transform the world, the fourth goal is Quality Education. Akshaya Patra is playing a vital role as an NGO in India in education sector, highlights the understanding on Quality Education.

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What is Quality Education?

According to a paper presented by UNICEF, five points define Quality Education.

  • Learners who are healthy, well-nourished and ready to participate and learn, and supported in learning by their families and communities;
  • Environments that are healthy, safe, protective and gender-sensitive, and provide adequate resources and facilities;
  • Content that is reflected in relevant curricula and materials for the acquisition of basic skills, especially in the areas of literacy, numeracy and skills for life, and knowledge in such areas as gender, health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS prevention and peace;
  • Processes through which trained teachers use child-centered teaching approaches in well-managed classrooms and schools and skillful assessment to facilitate learning and reduce disparities;
  • Outcomes that encompass knowledge, skills and attitudes, and are linked to national goals for education and positive participation in society.

(Source: unicef.org/education/files/QualityEducation.PDF)

The first point talks about students who are ‘healthy, well-nourished and ready to participate.’ This very objective is followed by Akshaya Patra in its large-scale feeding initiatives.

Quality Education, we believe leads to remarkable success. With literacy rates rising, we should also focus on providing inclusive and quality education to ensure progress.

UNDP states: “Achieving inclusive and quality education for all reaffirms the belief that education is one of the most powerful and proven vehicles for sustainable development. This goal ensures that all girls and boys complete free primary and secondary schooling by 2030. It also aims to provide equal access to affordable vocational training, to eliminate gender and wealth disparities, and achieve universal access to a quality higher education.”

Akshaya Patra’s Food for Education initiative embraces two most critical sustainable development goals – Zero Hunger and Quality Education. You can show your support by sponsoring a child’s meal for an entire academic year. Make a charity donation and win tax exemption in India.

Are you looking for a tax exemption? Try donating for a cause

Have you thought of making a donation and also earn tax exemption? It’s simple. As per IT sec 35AC/ 80GGA, if you make a donation of Rs 500 or more to Akshaya Patra, you will be eligible for a 100% tax exemption.

What is Tax Exemption?

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an NGO registered under section 35AC of the Income Tax Act 1961. Therefore every donation above Rs 500 made to The Akshaya Patra Foundation is eligible for a 100% tax exemption under Section 80GGA.

The exemption is calculated by reducing the donated amount from your taxable salary. For instance, if your taxable income per year is Rs 200,000 and you make a donation of Rs 5,000 then your net taxable income will become Rs 195,000. Your tax will now be calculated on this new amount basis the prevailing tax rates.

Is it important to donate for a cause?

Yes, if you would like to witness equality and fairness in society. Many NGOs in India and individuals are working towards strengthening the nation by working towards education, empowerment, employment, improvement of living conditions and so on. An NGO’s role in India is of utmost importance today.

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Similarly, Akshaya Patra, an NGO in Bengaluru is working towards children’s education by providing them with fresh nutritious mid-day meals. In the last 16 years of our service, the growth has expanded from 1500 hundred to over 1.6 million beneficiaries pan India, thanks to charity donations. Food for Education is a concept where children are given meals within school premises so to encourage them to attend school. In India, many children often do not go to school and unfortunately, their economic condition is such that they are made to help parents with work or look after their younger siblings at home.

In a situation where there are often far too many mouths to feed, education is given least importance. The most practical solution to this problem is to bring children to school and provide them with one-time meal, known as Mid-Day Meal.

100% Tax Exemption in India

Akshaya Patra is a registered charity for children working across 11 states in India. Donations to Akshaya Patra are eligible for 100% tax exemption in India under Section 35 AC/ 80 GGA of the Income Tax. Under Section 35 AC of the Income Tax act, the Central Government – on recommendation from the National Committee for the Social & Economic Welfare – has notified the Project “Mid-Day Meal Programme run by The Akshaya Patra Foundation” as an eligible project for the allowing of 100% deduction of the contribution made by the Assesse.

When you make a contribution, you receive a certificate of 100% tax exemption benefit along with Thank You letter via courier or post. You may use the certificate to avail the benefit for the respective financial year. There are many reasons to donate to a great cause. This is one of them. Donate to charity today!

Revisiting 2016: Akshaya Patra’s Achievements and Future Plans

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Two billion meals and counting. One of the greatest achievements of Akshaya Patra during 2016 was undoubtedly the feeling of reaching this number that got us all thrilled and excited. We became conscious that 2016 was just one of the several years that has contributed towards reaching out to millions of children through Food for Education initiative. It was a result of year-to-year and day-to-day hard work of several people. The Akshaya Patra Foundation celebrated the serving of 2 billion meals, in the presence of Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Honourable 13th President of India in August 2016.

Methodical approach to reaching out children

As we surged ahead to achieve our targets in 2016, we kept our eyes on a very methodical approach to achieving goals. Akshaya Patra didn’t start off as simply a children’s charity. We knew the depth of the problem of hunger among children and so we started from the root.

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KIGA 2016

On October 15, 2016, The Akshaya Patra Foundation was awarded the prestigious Kalam Innovation in Governance Award 2016 (KIGA 2016). The award was presented during the 1st Edition of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Memorial Summit on ‘Innovation in Governance’ held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. Though our children’s charity bagged several awards such as AVA Digital Award, Six Sigma Award, Nikkei Asia Award, this specific award on governance inspired us the most to reach out more and more children and set loftier goals.

More centralised kitchens in 2017

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Centralised Kitchen

The largest Akshaya Patra kitchen can cook nearly 100,000 meals every morning. Currently 25 centralised (automated) kitchens and 2 decentralised kitchens are established across India. This has been made possible due to several charity donations through which people have sponsored kitchen equipment to expand our reach. A similar initiative was taken in December 2016 when Akshaya Patra and the Infosys Foundation laid the first foundation stone of Telangana’s first high-tech, Centralised Mega Kitchen in Khandi. The Infosys Foundation had given away Rs 18.03 crores, generously as charity donation committing to cover the entire construction cost of this kitchen, which will use highly advanced technology. Over 1,00,000 children in Telangana will be fed nutritious mid-day meals prepared in this kitchen, beginning the next academic year.

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Partnership with Infosys Foundation

And now Akshaya Patra is all set to feed its nutritious mid-day meals to a greater number of beneficiaries in Uttar Pradesh (U.P). The Foundation will launch 11 new kitchens in the state. The groundbreaking ceremony for the same was performed by Honourable Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Akhilesh Yadav on December 26, 2016 at Lok Bhavan, New Secretariat, Lucknow. These new kitchens will be established in the districts of Varanasi, Ghaziabad, Agra, Allahabad, Kanpur, Etawah, Kannauj, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Rampur and Ballia.

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Groundbreaking ceremoney

In U.P, Akshaya Patra currently feeds 1,05,000 children and 66,000 children from its Vrindavan and Lucknow kitchens respectively, totalling to 1,71,000 children across 3021 schools. The introduction of the 11 new kitchens will take its nutritious meals to a total of 13 lakh or 1.3 million beneficiaries every day in the state, making this the Foundation’s largest intervention in India. Thus, every kitchen will feed over 1 lakh children from the next academic year.

All these initiatives have been happening with the help of several volunteers, Akshaya Patra staff, the Government of India and hundreds of donors. Like every year, Akshaya Patra has published audit reports keeping the finances transparent. Our charity donations are as per the rules of tax exemption in India and we keep our donors in the loop as to how their money is spent. You can join hands with us as we strive for another fruitful year of our quest for curbing hunger among children.

3 Stories of Hope from Akshaya Patra Would Make Your Day!

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Hope is a good thing. If you can still relate to this famous thought from the American classic The Shawshank Redemption, you are most likely an optimist. Regardless, it’s always good to know that hope can change things. It can inspire action and evoke positive spirits.

A lot of people engage in charity donations in the hope of building a better tomorrow. Had it not been for hope, several children charities wouldn’t get enough resources to help children. The Government of India works with several non-profit organisations and partners with local bodies in order to provide education, food and medical aids to deprived children. Donors are benefitted through tax exemption in India if they choose to donate to organisations such as Akshaya Patra.

Akshaya Patra is a children charity that engages in providing mid-day meals to school children around India. All of its donations get the benefit of tax exemption in India while the organisation works in tandem with the government.

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Back here at Akshaya Patra a children charity, we get to reap the rewards of great work in the form of various hope stories that we get to hear from beneficiaries. One such child is Manthan Jikarda who studies in Class VI at Maharana Pratap Primary School in Surat, Gujarat. He says, “Akshaya Patra food is tasty and protein-rich, which is why we like it. It is very nutritious, prepared using carrots, pumpkins, and other such healthy vegetables. The menu is different every day; sometimes there is Dal Dhokli, sometimes Khichdi.”

But that’s not half as exciting as seeing him come to school every single day and attend his classes sincerely. Manthan aspires to be a stage actor, wanting to entertain a live audience with his dramatic performances. He is an active participant in various extra-curricular activities that the school organizes.

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Riddhi Barot, an Akshaya Patra beneficiary from Veer Narmad Primary School in Saradnagar Tarsali, Vadodara, studying in Class VII, is another touching story of hope. She is the daughter of a father who works in an electric shop and a mother who is a homemaker. She has two siblings –sister Siddhi (Class V) and brother Jai (Class II), studying in the same school. What truly makes Riddhi stand out is that her inspiration comes from the noted Gujarati writer, freedom fighter and social reformer, Jhaverchand Meghani. This girl wishes to become a pilot when she grows up. Her focus is a matter of wonder for both her teachers and her parents. Riddhi loves Science and English apart from being an active member of scouts and guides. It is children like her who keep us motivated and restore hope that investing in today’s children is the best way to change the world.

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Similarly, Shri Baba Amte Primary School in Surat often echoes with the sound of a beautiful voice. This singer is an 11-year-old Divya Chandrakar who studies in Class VI. Contradictorily enough, she wants to be a dancer. This Akshaya Patra beneficiary brings so much joy and cheer to her class when she enters. Divya Chandrakar wants to be a figure in elegance and become a dancer. She says, “At school, we can study, play, learn new things and have nutritious meals.”

These hope stories have often moved parents of other children and they have been motivated to send their children to school. Let’s add more stories of hope. Donate to charity today and win tax exemption.