Quality food produced through Six-sigma methodology at Akshaya Patra

What makes Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme (MDMP) world’s largest serving wholesome lunch? Is it the numbers? Over 1.6 million children. Or is it the demographic? 13,636 schools across 12 states in India. What truly makes MDMP, run by a non-profit organisation, large is that the meals served have become actual incentives for children in India to attend schools and achieve academic success. Children of all these government institutions don’t skip schools because of scrumptious lunch they get to relish.

600x400-for-blog

This large-scale impact, created with the help of charity donations, was made possible by streamlining a six-sigma methodology that goes into the cooking and serving of these meals every single day. The funds raised, for Mid-Day Meal Programme, help us fill over 1.6 million stomachs every day.

MDMP is like a high-scale project of a company 

Akshaya Patra functions like a private company by ensuring quality of production and delivery. The quality inspection, storage and preservation of raw materials follow the standards set by Food Safety Standards Act 2006 (FSSA); the rice is supplied by the Food Corporation of India (FCI); all the kitchens follow ‘First In, First Out’ and ‘First Expiry, First Out’ methods while using the raw materials for cooking. The vessels used for cooking are made of 304 grade stainless steel. Well-trained cooks and supervisors ensure quality control while cooking for these kitchens run by the top NGO that’s on a mission to feed the children.

Hope stories testify quality 

Children usually have the habit of skipping lunch, so engrossed they are in their games and sports. But beneficiaries of MDMP enthusiastically have their lunch every day and the prospect of a nutritious meal encourages them to come to school regularly. Several hope stories we came across over the years testify how MDMP has influenced the lives of the children positively.

Initiatives that draw accountability  

Akshaya Patra keeps a strict policy of transparency to maintain complete accountability of the quality of meals being served. The non-profit organisation often engages in several initiatives to involve the society so people are encouraged towards charity fundraising or donations for the cause of food and education. These events publicly involve the society and hold the non-profit organisation accountable for quality. 

Innovative kitchens that set benchmarks

When 100,000 meals are cooked in a single state-of-the-art centralised kitchen, repeated experiments can make it possible. So Akshaya Patra partnered with Innovation Alchemy for scaling up its kitchens without compromising on the quality. As a result, these centralised kitchens have become a subject of study and research. They have been featured on National Geographic channel’s India’s Mega Kitchens. You can read about them in the book God’s Own Kitchen.

Donors trust MDMP

 It’s the transparency of the MDMP scheme that makes prestigious companies and trusted brands often lend a helping hand in terms of charity donations and fundraising. In April 2017, SBI foundation donated a generous amount to the non-profit organisation and would be invested towards 1250 hot insulated vessels to keep food hot for 8-10 hours. The insulated hot boxes would be distributed amongst Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Guwahati and Nathdwara kitchens. Apart from organisations, Akshaya Patra allows individuals to contribute smaller amounts in sponsoring a child or in simply donating for the overall cause. Due to the generous charity donations and fundraising, Akshaya Patra is able to comply with quality and hygiene standards set every day in the Mid-Day Meal Programme.

 

Feed school children this Father’s Day!

Fathers who believe in their children are those who are able to instil a strong sense of confidence among their children. Children need this. As fathers, you can feed children with values, beliefs and a sense of pride. As the world honours the spirit of fatherhood on Father’s Day, let us lend a helping hand to all those fathers who provide for their family.

Fathers Day

There are millions of children who are thankful that their fathers allowed them to go to school. These children come from humble families where there are too many mouths to feed and only few people bringing food to the plate. So a non-profit organisation in India – Akshaya Patra reaches out to help these families by feeding the children with wholesome lunch in schools. Now the fathers truly had someone to help them feed their children.

Akshaya Patra is on a mission to feed the hungry and eventually end classroom hunger. The non-profit organisation is driven by the principle – no child shall be deprived of education due to hunger. As a result, the organisation has been able to feed millions of school children by also promoting education.

This has turned out to be especially crucial in rural areas where parents cannot practically ensure that their children go to school regularly. Many of these parents are daily wage workers who may work until dusk to be able to feed the family. But when the children are motivated to attend schools due to a nutritious meal served free of cost, this solves a major part of the problem.

Feeding the children with wholesome lunch has truly turned out to be a mission of physical and mental growth of the children. Isn’t it what all fathers want for their children? You may help some of these fathers by being part of the school lunch mission. Donate to charity today.

Read our blog on Father’s Day!

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:

Opportunities-for-children

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.

3 Ways Every Student Can Stay Organised!

The school year is back with the same excitement and anticipation. Aren’t you looking forward to it? But how would you spend this school year differently?

Education-for-children

We at Akshaya Patra, one of the children’s charities engaged in feeding the hungry, work for children who are excited to come back to school every year. We have some ideas for you to stay organised this year.

Write down your timetable and carry it with you

Writing down your class timetable twice can save you from a lot of hassles like late arrival or missing a class. Write down your timetable at the back of a classwork notebook and always carry it in your class. Keep one timetable always pasted on the wall of your house for reminders.

Keep your bag organised

How many times have you been rebuked in class simply because you forgot to carry your homework copy? That happens when you fail to organise your schoolbag. Now that you have already written down your timetable, make sure you keep your bag organised according to it.

Carry your daily needs

Apart from books, what do you need in your bag? Is it a handkerchief, a water bottle, a box containing pencils and pens? Make sure you carry all your daily needs in your bag. Nobody likes boys and girls who always borrow things like pencils or erasers from other students. This habit will make you self-sufficient and also help you value your belongings.

Children, now that you are back to school, make the new academic year’s resolution to always keep your things safe. There are children who cannot afford these things and often, children’s charities all over India have to work hard to get these children some basic school needs. Do you know that many organisations work to help such children?

Akshaya Patra is on a mission of feeding the hungry through its school lunch programme. If you know anyone who can contribute in this cause, do encourage them to sponsor a child, so they can help that child get both food and education. Spread the good news today.

Donate to feed children this Akshaya Tritya!

One of the most auspicious days for Hindus and Jains, Akshaya Tritiya is the birthday of Lord Parshurama and also the day when the Pandavas received the Akshaya Patra. The word ‘akshaya’ means ‘never diminishing’ and the ‘Akshaya Patra’ was a vessel that held unlimited food. This day is also when the goddess of nourishment – Annapurna Devi – was born. It is a day that celebrates plenty and prays for it – plenty of prosperity, plenty of food and plenty of success.

akshaya-trithiya

The festival is also considered to be the most fortuitous day for charity. People donate on Akshaya Tritiya as it is believed that doing so brings them a wealth of blessings. Thus, this is the perfect occasion to contribute to The Akshaya Patra Foundation, as just like the ‘Akshaya Patra’ in the Mahabharata, the NGO too provides unlimited food to children across India as part of its ‘food for education’ initiative. So, count your blessings and bring a plateful of cheer to the lives of children too with your generous contribution!

Water is an essential part of children’s nutrition

Most nutritionists recommend that children must get three meals in a day along with two parts of healthy snacks. As far as the lunch is concerned, Akshaya Patra ensures that school children get a proper diet through its Mid-Day Meal Programme. The organisation has fed over 1.6 million school children so far.

Water - Nutrition

Clean drinking water is an integral part of the Akshaya Patra school lunch menu that this top NGO serves to the children. Children are often never concerned about how much water they need for proper hydration. But water is an essential part of their daily nutrition. Water helps keeping their body temperature stable and it is responsible for carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells, protects tissues and organs, soothes joints and removes waste.

Apart from meal time, children would typically drink water after playing outside and thirsting for it. It doesn’t usually strike them that they need more water. Children aged between nine and 13 need 1.6 litres/6 glasses (boys) and 1.4 litres/5 glasses (girls) of water every day. In the 14-18 age-groups, boys need to drink at least 1.9 litres/7 glasses and girls need to drink at least 1.6 litres/6 glasses per day. Apart from water, children can also be fed low-fat milk that nourishes them without giving them sugar or additives that are found in soft drinks or flavoured mineral water. Akshaya Patra encourages children to drink sufficient water after their meals. You can also play a part in this charity fundraising.

Of course, children must be taught to consume more water during hot days or if they are indulged in a lot of outdoor activities or sports. In India, the easily available drinking water is tap water. But the good news is tap water contains fluoride that helps in developing strong teeth. However, the children who go to government schools in India often don’t have access to clean tap water at their homes. We ensure that a wholesome meal apart from clean drinking water is provided to all the children going to the government schools. These children can be benefitted through charity fundraising for Akshaya Patra. Donate for an NGO 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?

SEO_donateFor-A-Cause_600X400_V2

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.

Revisiting 2016: Akshaya Patra’s Achievements and Future Plans

foodforeducation

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.

kiga2016forakshayapatra

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

akshaya_patra_kitchen_karnataka

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.

khandi

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.

up

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.

Opportunities for Disabled Children in India

world-disabled-day

According to Census 2011, over 26 million people are victims of disability in India. Of them, over 2 million are children and 71% of these children are from rural areas. If you look at disability around the globe, about 1 billion people (15% of the world’s population) are suffering from one or the other kind of disability.

These numbers are likely to grow simply because disability cannot be put to a stop. There are various branches of disabilities that root to multiple reasons. In such a scenario, it becomes important for every nation to deliver the right opportunities for the disabled section. A few years ago, United Nations produced a report on out-of-school children that said ‘34% of disabled children are out of school.’ Reason: lack of services made available for them.

Understanding Disability 

Disability, by no means, underestimates a person’s participation in a particular field. It is a condition that affects the person’s functionality. However, this can be solved by reworking on the environment. The gap between non-disabled people and the disabled must be bridged with support and care. For example, ensuring schools are fitted with wheel chairs and platforms for disabled are an advantage. There are many more aspects too such as – sign interpreters, audio aids, healthcare facilities, etc. Additionally, creating a framework to ensure the disabled are treated with equality helps us build a better nation.

The basic understanding of disability has changed over the years and there are less reports of discrimination; thanks to all the movements and opportunities through which people with disability could voice their opinions and demand for rights. International Day of People with Disability is marked on December 3rd to raise awareness and to create opportunities for disabled. Akshaya Patra, an NGO in India, feeds millions of children on every school day and many children we cater to are disabled (only the degree differs).

Akshaya Patra’s Role for the Disabled

Many children in government schools in India live with a disability. Akshaya Patra, an NGO that feeds underserved children with mid-day meals seeks to ensure children get equal opportunities so that they flourish with education. You can read the stories of Akshaya Patra beneficiaries (who are disabled) here.

The Foundation promises to build a sustainable programme to encourage children to attend school. One meal a day is not just to curb the hunger but to also ensure they receive their daily dose of nutrition. Mid-day meal benefits over 1.6 million children with freshly-cooked meals and this can be continued only with your support. On World Disabled Day, choose to make a donation in honor of someone. Let us ensure that 34% of disabled children who are out of school are inside the classroom.

Happy Kannada Rajyotsava – Akshaya Patra Pays Tribute

Every year, 1st November is observed as Kannada Rajyotsava. On this day, in 1956 all the Kannada speaking areas of South India were merged into a new state, Karnataka. Initially, the state was called Mysore, but this was considered too reminiscent of the old princely regiment, and the name was changed to Karnataka on 1st November 1973. Kannada Rajyotsava is celebrated with unified enthusiasm all over the state and across all age groups, religion, gender, and income groups. The state flag adorns all important locations, and the state anthem reverberates all day long. It is a day to celebrate the progress and development of the state. To praise the good deeds of local citizens, the State Government bestows the Rajyotsava Award on people who have contributed toward the well-being and development of the state in a noteworthy way.

kannada-rajyotsava

Just as the entire state celebrates Kannada Rajyotsava with much fervour, we at The Akshaya Patra Foundation, pay our sincere tribute to this state – the birthplace of our Foundation. We began our service to children in June 2000 by providing mid-day meal to 1,500 children across five Government schools in Bengaluru. Since then, there has not been any looking back. Today, we feed more than five lakh children in 2,841 Government and Government-aided schools every day, from our six specialized centralised kitchens located across the state – H.K. Hill (Bengaluru) feeds 87,882 children in 508 schools, Vasanthapura (Bengaluru) feeds 1,01,541 children in 646 schools, Ballari feeds 1,26,932 children in 577 schools, Hubballi feeds 1,52,423 in 807 schools, Mangaluru feeds 17,024 in 139 schools, and Mysuru feeds 23,450 in 164 schools.

But, this operational expansion in Karnataka has been possible mainly because of the steadfast support we received from the Government of Karnataka along with benevolent donors and charitable corporates. We sincerely thank every stakeholder for their constant support and hope this support continues as we look forward to feeding thousands of more children who are still waiting for their share of the wholesome mid-day meal.

This Kannada Rajyotsava, let’s pledge to eliminate classroom hunger
from all the schools of Karnataka