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’!

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Global Hunger Index 2016 Says India is at ‘Serious’ Level

The hunger problem has spread its roots so widely and deeply all around the world that eradication of hunger seems a distant dream without the coherence and cooperation of each one of us. We’ve earned enough of luxury for ourselves but we also need to realize that there’s no better expenditure of money than making a donation to feed the hungry. According to the 2016 Global Hunger Index Report, roughly one in four children is affected by stunting and 8 per cent of children are affected by wasting.

We witness many of them daily and the sight really breaks our heart. But we somehow manage to move on. If everybody starts working towards change, imagine the results? We need to make a paradigm shift and to perfectly exemplify this. Akshaya Patra, an NGO registered under Section 80G of Income Tax Act, has been doing outstanding work since 16 years. If you look at the history of mid-day meal scheme in India, you will notice two important positive results: increase in school enrolment rate and decrease drop-out rates. But there’s still so much to do.

The scourge of global hunger

Hunger is comprehensively measured and tracked at the global, regional, and country levels by a tool called the Global Hunger Index. According to the 2016 GHI Report, ‘Regionally, the highest GHI scores, and therefore the highest hunger levels, are still found in Africa, south of the Sahara and South Asia. As a matter of fact, India, a South Asian country, is a home to 33% of world’s undernourished children. And if our ignorance towards this problem is persistent, we’ll ultimately end up with distressingly high level of hunger around the globe. Now, this is where Akshaya Patra lets and urges us to help those in dire need of our sponsorship with an additional benefit of tax exemption in India. We need to realize our responsibilities towards society and raise funds for children charity.

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The two most critical sustainable goals

By pledging to eradicate undernourishment and provide unlimited food for education, Akshaya Patra targets the two most critical UN sustainable goals: Zero Hunger and Quality Education. The history of mid-day meal tells you that Akshaya Patra has presented a chance to fulfill dreams for those 1.7 million children who are deprived of education because of hunger. The splendid outcomes have made Akshaya Patra well-recognised across the world. With the perpetual expansion of such selfless programmes and philanthropic donors raising children charity open-handedly, the decrement in undernourishment and increment in literacy level is assured.

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A strong stand against all other national challenges

Various inhibitions to development like gender inequality, poverty, crimes, violence etc. are inextricably linked with education. Nelson Mandela realised this long back. He described education as a weapon to change the world and a great way to foster peace in societies. Unfortunately, many children are deprived of education because of financial incapability and social backwardness.

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Let’s embrace the humanitarian core and do some charity donations today, not as a gesture of tokenism but as an ardent yearning to defeat hunger. Make a donation in honour of someone today.

Eliminating Hunger is a Crucial Step for India

The Global Hunger Index (a tool designed to measure global hunger) released by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) shows that India ranks 97 out of 118 countries – ‘Serious’ hunger. As many as 43 countries are under the ‘Serious’ category whereas 45 countries are low. For India to tackle the hunger problem by feeding the hungry, the current policies have schemes have to be more stringent and accessible to people in need.

While the government and many NGOs are working towards feeding the children with wholesome meals, there is a need for us to act together as a society. Given the number of children who require food in our country, Akshaya Patra, a children’s NGO based out of Bengaluru, is providing healthy meals to over 1.6 million school children in 11 states in India. The Foundation is also focusing on reaching out to 5 million children by 2020.

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Why should we focus on children’s food demands?

Children are the future. Considering the magnitude of hunger problem in India, many NGOs are setting up initiatives to eliminate hunger especially among children – they are stunted, poorly nourished and do not receive one square meal a day. Going by the GHI score, 38.7% of children below five years are stunted – it means that the weight is not appropriate for their height (they are too thin). In 1992, this score was 61.9. That’s a difference of 23.2% in the last 24 years.

With an initiative like ‘Food for Education,’ by Akshaya Patra, the advantages are doubled to make hunger a history – the child is educated and also, he or she is completely nourished with nutritious meals.

Inclusive development and addressing issues using this method is more important for India. That is, simultaneously focus on development of education, citizens’ rights, health care, housing facilities, job opportunities and so on. However, when one issue is looked down as least important, it multiples and becomes far more challenging.

Here’s what you can do to eliminate hunger in India

It has been proved over and again that India has sufficient resources to eliminate hunger. However, the existing challenges are a drawback. Distribution of food among families with low-income, building infrastructure to reach certain towns and villages, educating the farmers, ensuring fair-trade are some of the challenges.

Akshaya Patra’s school lunch programme benefits children from many small towns and villages to consume a square meal on every school day. Today, the organisation reaches out to 13,210 schools to feed the children. Keeping hygiene and quality in mind, mid-day meals are freshly prepared and are delivered to schools during lunch time.

You can get involved in this cause too! Contribute to the cause by sponsoring a child’s mid-day meals for an entire year. Also, you can learn how Akshaya Patra operates its Mid-Day Meal Programme by visiting our blog.

Achieving Zero Hunger

Hunger is one of the top issues the world faces today. About 795 million people, including children go to bed empty stomach. Is this happening because of food shortage? Of course not, we have sufficient food to feed everyone in the world.  Then what could be the reason?  There are several not just one cause and some of them include – fluctuating market, lack of proper agricultural infrastructure, natural calamities and poverty.

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It is high time that we solve these issues as hunger kills nearly 25,000 people a day and about 14,000 of them are children. Also the death toll from hunger is higher than the human loss caused by AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis together.

Solving these issues were the main aim when the United Nations launched the Zero Hunger Challenge (ZHC) in June 2012.  The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) held in Brazil also identified some key areas which can help in achieving freedom from hunger and improve nutritional status of individuals. They included empowerment of women, access or right to adequate food for all, importance to family farming and sustainable plus resilient food systems.

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However, reaching zero hunger also faced some major challenges like minimising the number of stunted children below 2 years to zero, providing 100% access to adequate food to everyone the whole year, achieving sustainability of food systems, attaining 100% growth in smallholder productivity plus income and finally ending loss or wastage of food.

Later in 2015, the Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) joined hands and set a goal to end chronic malnutrition and world hunger by 2030.

The conference concluded that to achieve freedom from hunger by 2030, we have to focus on agricultural development. About 40 per cent of the world’s population is depended upon agriculture for making a living.  Additionally, up to 80 per cent of food consumed in developing world comes from about 500 million small farms.

Agricultural development can be achieved through private and public investment in rural areas. This will help improve rural and agricultural productivity plus income and condition of the food insecure populations.

To end hunger, we also have to conserve crop diversity. However, over the past one century, there is about 75 per cent decline in crop diversity, according to the United Nations (UN). The loss of crop diversity can increase dependency on some major crops and can pose a threat to the zero hunger challenge. On the other hand, growing different crops can help achieve nutritional diets, improve lives of farmers and help in setting up a robust farming system.

Also about 150 million people can be saved from the grip of hunger if women farmers are given equal access to resources as men.

We can also achieve freedom from hunger by improving access to food through social protection programmes, increasing income via improved labour conditions and encouraging productivity- enhancing investments (improving infrastructure, access to market). For this we have to protect our natural resources, embrace agricultural practices which are easier to maintain.

Another factor which should be taken care of to achieve freedom from hunger is wastage of food. We waste about one third of 1.3 billion tons of food produced in the world.

We should also find a way to solve losses in production, storage and consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Taking these measures will definitely help us achieve freedom from hunger. However, to speed up the procedure and to meet the zero hunger challenge by 2030, each one of us should get involved and work towards it.

Yes, we can do it. Come forward and wipe out hunger from our soil. Make the world a happy, peaceful and healthy place to live.

 


 

Akshaya Patra is a not-for-profit organisation based in Bangalore. The foundation is providing mid-day meal to 1.4 million government school children across 10 states of India. Being an NGO in India, we are into the cause to eliminate classroom hunger and illiteracy. The foundation has a mission to serve 5 million children by 2020. Support Akshaya Patra’s cause by donating to NGO.