NGO in Rajasthan & Its Kitchen

Reportedly, Rajasthan is the seventh most populated state in India. Of its total population, 24% is aged between six and fourteen. And, the question of concern is its education scenario. Rajasthan has the fourth lowest literacy rate in the country and has the lowest female literacy rate of just 52.66% (Census 2011). The state is also haunted by high rate of out of school and school drop-out rate. Rajasthan reported a 6.6% improvement in its literacy rate in ten years as against a countrywide improvement of 9.2%. It is one of the four BIMARU states that has lowest literacy rate and learning outcomes; the other states being Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. To address this situation, several measures have been taken by the government, and the Mid-Day Meal Scheme is one such intervention. As a supporting arm to the government’s effort, The Akshaya Patra Foundation is serving mid-day meals to more than one lakh government school children by operating as a NGO in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Nathdwara, Ajmer, and Baran.

Mid-day meal in Rajasthan

The Foundation has been providing mid-day meal in Rajasthan since 2004 by establishing its first kitchen in Jaipur. Currently, Akshaya Patra feeds a total of 1,70,723 children in 2,672 government schools across the state. The NGO operates two types of kitchen in the state – centralised kitchens and decentralised kitchens. The centralised kitchens serve children in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Nathdwara, and Ajmer whereas decentralised kitchens provide meals in the Baran region. Of the four centralised kitchens, three kitchens namely Jaipur, Nathdwara, and Ajmer are ISO 22000:2005 certified kitchens and the Jodhpur kitchen is in the process of certification.

The hi-tech centralised kitchens of the Foundation are equipped with roti-making machines, grinding machines, potato peeler machines, vegetable cutting machines, daliya roasting woks, atta kneaders, flour mill machines, cauldrons, trolleys, RO plants, rice-cleaning machines. Each of the kitchens has dedicated customised delivery vehicles. To suit the local taste, the kitchens follow a North Indian menu comprising of roti (Indian flatbread), dal (lentil curry),  rice, mixed vegetable curry, kadhi (curd-based curry), biscuits, khichdi (a dish made of rice, lentils, and vegetables), sweet daliya (a cereal-based dish), cake, biscuit, and kheer (rice-based Indian dessert).

Similar to all kitchens of the Foundation, the Rajasthan kitchens strictly adhere to hygiene and cleanliness practices while preparing meals. Kaizen, Continuous Improvement Projects and Six Sigma methodologies form an integral part of these kitchens too. While providing wholesome mid-day meals to school children in Rajasthan, this NGO in Jaipur also implements various eco-friendly measures in its kitchen operations to save cost and reduce carbon footprint while maintaining efficiency of production. Some of the initiatives taken in the kitchens of Rajasthan are:

  • Solar power panels
  • Sewage Treatment Plant
  • Reed bed plant
  • Liquid Off Take (LOT) system to reduce LPG consumption
  • Regular lab testing for emission, air etc.

The Foundation has not stopped at just providing mid-day meal in Rajasthan, rather it has also been actively involved in various socio-developmental initiatives such as Shoes Distribution, Talents Hunt, and Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan.

Akshaya Patra wants to expand its reach and benefit more children in the state. But, in doing so, it requires your support. You can be a part of the NGO’s mission to nourish children by either opting to contribute funds, donate a vehicle to deliver meals to schools or by adopting a school. By contributing towards the NGO’s cause you will ensure that children receive at least one nutritious meal per day. It will also make you a changemaker striving for a healthy and educated tomorrow. Take a step for children, support their meal, and get prepared to witness a nourished and educated India.

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The impact of mid-day meal in Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state of India. And, it is reported that over the next 10 years, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar will together account for 31% of youngest Indian population between five and 14 years. This indicates that education and health will play deciding factors for them to turn into assets for the country. As per the Census 2011, the literacy rate of Uttar Pradesh is just 67.7%. Among the many factors that affect school enrolment and literacy rate is the provision of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. The Supreme Court mandated Mid-Day Meal Scheme was introduced in the state in September 2004. And, currently this scheme covers over 123.57-lakh students in 1,14,125 primary schools and 54.94-lakh students in 54,394 upper primary schools in the state. Over the years, the state has observed tangible impact of the scheme in school enrolment, attendance, and health of the students. And, this impact was furthered by The Akshaya Patra Foundation, and NGO in Lucknow.

mid-day meal

In Uttar Pradesh, Akshaya Patra provides mid-day meal in two locations – Vrindavan and Lucknow. The NGO began its journey of providing mid-day meal in Uttar Pradesh by establishing the Vrindavan kitchen in August 2004. Currently, 1,20,262 children in 2,010 schools get benefitted from this kitchen. The kitchen at Lucknow was established in March 2015 and presently provides mid-day meal to 91,418 children in 1,011 schools. Keeping hygiene and cleanliness as our topmost priorities while preparing mid-day meals for children, both the kitchens in Uttar Pradesh are ISO 22000:2005 certified. The mid-day meals served in Uttar Pradesh follow a local palate inclusive of roti with subzi, so that maximum children readily and joyfully eat their school lunch.

As part of self-assessment of the Mid-Day Meal Programme, Akshaya Patra time and again conducts third party assessments. One such assessment was conducted by Sigma Research and Consulting Pvt. Ltd. in 2014. The report studied eight location of Akshaya Patra based on the variables pertaining to four main objectives: elimination of classroom hunger, social equity, nutrition and health, and enrolment, retention and attendance. The assessment showed a positive trend on all the variables and the overall score of Uttar Pradesh was 9.43 on a scale of 10. This reveals that while there is significant impact of the mid-day meal in Uttar Pradesh, there is also scope for creating more impact.

Currently, Akshaya Patra is providing nutritious school lunch to 2,11,680 children in 3,021 schools in Uttar Pradesh. This means each day millions of children are able to attend school and take steps towards their aspirations. You too can act as a catalyst by choosing to sponsor a child. Come forward and join the ‘unlimited food for education’ motto of this NGO in Lucknow.

How Does Akshaya Patra Manage Food Production Process

Cooking for a large number of people is challenging as it requires that the chef ensures all elements are in place. In the kitchens of The Akshaya Patra Foundation, it’s an everyday operation that runs like clockwork.

Stop Hunger

The Foundation, an NGO in Bangalore, which runs the school lunch programme for children across 12 states in the country, now serves hot lunches to over 1.6 million school children every day. It supplies freshly-cooked food from 34 kitchens and is scaling up with every passing day. The food prepared here is distributed in 13,800+ schools.

Akshaya Patra’s established systems and process have been dealing with an emergent situation with ease.

Quality Assurance during procurement

The Supplier Quality Management System (SQMS) process covers subprocesses like supplier selection, supplier qualification, supplier rating, etc., to ensure the right and best raw materials are procured. One can sponsor a child to ensure a needy child is part of the system.

Storage and Handling 

Fresh vegetables are procured on a daily basis. Cold storage is used to store ready-to-cook cut vegetables to retain freshness. Rice is supplied by the Food Corporation of India.

Quality and Safety during cooking 

All kitchens of Akshaya Patra follow a standard process. This process is charted out to ensure hygiene and quality. Personal hygiene and Food Safety training are provided regularly to the kitchen staff to ensure hygiene standards are met.

Food Packing and Transportation 

The distribution staff picks the food from kitchens and delivers it at various schools around the kitchen. They travel by delivery vans fitted with a honeycomb structure to prevent food from spilling. The vehicles are also insulated to maintain the temperature of the cooked meals. The vans are also equipped with GPS, which makes it easy to monitor the van and ensure the food reaches the school on time.

The large centralized kitchens, on an average, have the capacity to cook up to 2,00,000 meals. For running such large scale operation, one can donate to charity to be part of the operations.

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.

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.

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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.

Akshaya Patra Observes World Earth Day

earth-day

Earth day is observed every year across the world on April 22nd to make people aware of the importance of protecting the environment. The irony is that despite celebrating for the last 46 years, we still are unaware of the means and ways of protecting our blue planet. Earth is the only planet in the universe where life is possible but if it is continuously abused without any restraint there will be no life at all soon. We should understand that, besides us, there are many other organisms that share our planet. Our Planet which had abundant resources needs to be preserved and conserved for future generations too.

Many governmental and non-governmental organisations have come up with programmes and initiatives to bring awareness to protect earth. Even though, Akshaya Patra is not directly related to conservation of earth, the organisation implements measures to preserve the environment. They implement many eco-friendly initiatives as:

  • ‘Bio Oorja’ kitchen stoves that use biomass pellets as fuel which has helped in minimizing fuel cost by 50%.
  • The biogas plant produces about 40-50 kg of biogas from about 1000 kg of waste. (Read Consuming with Care blog to know more about the biogas plant.)
  • LED lights have been installed in the kitchens that are extremely energy efficient.
  • Recycling of water is done using Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) and the waste water is used for washing vehicles used to transport the food.
  • There are solar plants to reduce dependency on bio-fuels. Technological innovation measures are implemented that has the capacity to produce 70 units of power a day is used to run all the applications in the kitchen that work on single phase power like the computers, fans and other systems. The plant runs through the use of photovoltaic (PV) cells which convert sunlight to direct current electricity through the course of the day.

Through these measures, Akshaya Patra has reduced its dependence on non-renewable sources of energy.  By using data analytics, the number of meal delivery routes has been reduced by five, lowering the fuel consumption and vehicle emission each month.

All these measures by and large adopted by Akshaya Patra contribute in protecting our environment.  We should understand that it is not only on April 22nd, we have to observe earth day. Every day should be observed as Earth day to prevent our earth from being destructed further.

 


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Idea Cellular Programme Conducted in Jaipur School

The UPS Sindhi Government School of Sanganer in Jaipur hosted an Idea Cellular Programme recently.

A team from Idea along with BEEO of Sanganer block participated in the programme. Mukul Khanna, Idea State Head was the chief guest of the occasion. Raghupati Dasa coordinated the event.

Roti Making

Roti making machine at Akshaya Patra Kitchen in Jaipur

The programme was kicked off with a visit to the Akshaya Patra kitchen.  During the visit, the Idea team got a live experience of the different processes involved in the making of the mid-day meal.

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In the second half of the programme, the Idea team served mid-day meals to children in the UPS Sindhi School. In return, the students entertained their guests through various dance programmes.  The school children also got an opportunity to exhibit their writing skills through an essay competition titled ‘sharing to society.’ The programme held by the Akshaya Patra Jaipur concluded with prize and memento distribution.

You can read more about the program at http://www.akshayapatra.org/news/idea-cellular-programme-held-in-jaipur

Akshaya Patra applies technology to run the mid-day meal programme

There are several advancements in technology that has indeed made our lives easy but how much of these development can benefit society from a three sixty degree view. Technology has indeed made impactful interventions but are we able to harness enough to benefit all?

Talking about mid-day meal we can have a distinct view on its applications and benefits. The Mid-Day Meal Scheme is one of the largest free school lunch programme initiated by the Government of India. It is to ensure that children receive nutritious meals and can concentrate on studies rather than on earning a square meal. It is to tackle classroom hunger and promote education. In order to implement this, there are kitchens across the country to run the programme. As these kitchens have to cater to thousands and millions of children every day, they are categorised as centralised kitchens and decentralised kitchens. Centralised kitchens are mechanised kitchens equipped for mass production of mid-day meal and they also act as nodal kitchen for a set of schools in a particular region. This model of kitchens is viable and largely seen in urban areas.

Akshaya Patra Centralized Kitchen

Signs of technological intervention are a sure sight in all the kitchens of The Akshaya Patra Foundation. A walk into any kitchen unit of the Foundation will give a well maintained factory-like feel. A closer look will reveal that it is a kitchen that bustles up every morning to prepare thousands and millions of meal. Right from huge rice cauldrons beginning with 500 litres cooking capacity and dal cauldrons with capacity of 1,200 litres to 3,000 litres of dal, there are mechanised roti making machines that can roll out 200,000 rotis from 6,000 kilograms of wheat flour. Not just for cooking, Akshaya Patra also utilises technology in storage and delivery process. There are cold storages in each kitchen to store ready-to-cook cut vegetables to retain freshness. For delivering the cooked food, the NGO makes use of custom-made insulated vehicles to control temperature loss so that freshness of the cooked meal remains intact till it is served to the children. In order to ensure safety and on-time delivery, methods like logistic charting for route optimization and GPRS are adopted and implemented in the kitchens.

Akshaya Patra Mega Kitchen

There many more applications of technology that have helped in continuous increase of productivity, enhanced quality and improved service. These interventions have also potentially affected sustainability of each kitchen allowing the Foundation to increase its beneficiary base. Yet, Akshaya Patra continues to explore newer avenues to further advance its capacity of feeding millions of children and move forward in eradicating classroom hunger.


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Akshaya Patra Kitchen Story

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in India implementing the mid-day meal programme across the country. The Foundation began its service way back in 2000. Since then there has been no looking back. Beginning with feeding 1,500 children in five Government schools of Bangalore city of Karnataka state, the Foundation has strategically increased is beneficiary base while also expanding to different locations. From having kitchen at just one location, Akshaya Patra gradually moved on to having kitchens at 23 more locations. Today Akshaya Patra is operational in 24 locations across 10 states.

Mid day Meal

Initially Akshaya Patra had only Centralised Kitchen units but gradually the need was felt to feed in the remote areas too. This made way to the adoption of Decentralised Kitchen format. As the name suggests, The Centralised Kitchen format of Akshaya Patra is a mechanised unit that can cook up to one lakh meals per day. Centralised kitchen units are meant to for large scale feeding and thus serve as node kitchen for a group of Government schools in and around the kitchen location. The centralised format of Akshaya Patra kitchen is mostly followed in urban and semi-urban locations. The terrain, accessibility and construction challenges that prevail in remote locations make the decentralised format suitable for such areas. The decentralised kitchens are run by Women Self-Help Groups (SHGs) under the guidance and supervision of Akshaya Patra’s kitchen process and operations module.

Akshaya Patra Kitchen

The similarity that runs through each kitchen while preparing meal for millions of children each is the strict and mandatory process of maintaining hygiene, cleanliness and nutrition. How the Akshaya Patra kitchens achieve this day in and day out? The answer is – compulsory adherence to Food Safety Management System in handling, preparing and delivering food to prevent food borne illness. At present 10 of the total kitchens are ISO 22000:2005 Certified and the remaining are on the quest towards achieving the same.

The state-of-the-art kitchen of Akshaya Patra has received prime time slot broadcast – ‘Shiksha Ka Mahabhog’ in the popular series Mega Kitchen of National Geographic Channel. A click at Akshaya Patra Kitchens will provide you a detailed draft about the functioning of the kitchens in feeding over 1.4 million children across India.

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The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an NGO in India works to eliminate classroom hunger through its mid-day meal programme Akshaya Patra reaches out to over 1.4 million children a day.

Akshaya Patra kitchen begins operation in Nepal

Akshaya Patra Kitchen in Nepal

The joint initiative of Jamsetji Tata Trust and Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha and The Akshaya Patra Foundation to set up a relief kitchen in Nepal began its operations on 19 June 2015. The first meal was served to 1,100 people of Bode location where people from worst affected areas have been provided makeshift accommodation. The kitchen provided fresh servings of rice, dal (lentils) and potato sabji(vegetable dish). Beginning with this Akshaya Patra will continue to provide freshly cooked food to the earthquake victims till stability is achieved in the Himalayan country.

The kitchen has been set up in a pre-engineered building with 2,500 square feet. 33 members of Akshaya Patra set up the entire facility in a record time of five days. This Akshaya Patra kitchen is equipped with four cauldrons- three with 600-litre capacity to cook rice and one with 1,200 litres capacity to cook dal. Other machines for the purpose of cutting vegetables and grinding are also a part of this Akshaya Patra relief kitchen. Strict adherence to hygiene and cleanliness has been employed in the kitchen. The kitchen is strategically located in Suryabinayak Chowk, Bhaktapur. Currently, this kitchen is serving food to 11 locations in and around Bhaktapur region namely Bhelukhel, Maheswari, Jella, Garun Kund, Kamal Binayak, Thulo Bayasee, Bayasee, Bode, Thali, Gokarneswar and Bhugmati.

Food for Nepal People

Akshaya Patra Chairman, Madhu Pandit Dasa thanked the Government of Nepal, Jamsetji Tata Trust and Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha for their continued support in setting up the kitchen facility to provide relief aid in the form of clean and hygienic food  to the affected population of Nepal.

Know more about Akshaya Patra Kitchen Facility at Nepal at: http://www.akshayapatra.org/news


The Akshaya Patra Foundation, NGO in India has implemented the mid-day meal scheme to feed the future of India. The organization is feeding the government school children of 24 locations across 10 states in India.

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