Feeding initiatives implemented by Akshaya Patra in India

Food first, everything else comes later! We all will agree to this.

THE AKSHAYA PATRA FOUNDATION Spreading hope through food!

Food is the basic necessity of any living thing, and so is true for humans too! We all have experienced hunger at some point or the other. We have also experienced the repercussions of staying hungry – low energy, tiredness, inability to concentrate or focus, unproductive, and health issues such as headache, gastric, acidity and so on. And these are the conditions we may undergo for missing out may be a meal or two. Then, imagine those who go hungry every single day! Yes, hunger is a much bigger problem than we can comprehend.

Hunger facts from around the world

The cause of hunger varies ranging from socio-economic backgrounds to natural or man-made disasters. To tackle this situation, world organisations, governments of countries, and non-governmental organisations have intervened at various levels. Yet, hunger remains a persistent problem. Amidst all the strides made around the world, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a non-governmental organisation in India is also making efforts to combat hunger among children and disaster-hit survivors.

Akshaya Patra implements the Mid-Day Meal Programme in partnership with the Government of India. Established in 2000, it is one of the oldest mid-day meal NGOs in the country. Through this programme, Akshaya Patra provides free school lunch to children studying in Government schools and Government-aided schools. Presently, the NGO feeds 1,765,436 children in 16,785 schools situated in 49 locations of 12 States and 1 Union Territory namely Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Silvassa, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, and Uttar Pradesh.

Aside from the Mid-Day Meal Programme, this charitable trust in India also provides nutritious food in Anganwadi centres and has been a part of several disaster relief operations within and beyond the Indian boundaries.

akshaya patra feeding programme

 

Together, we can battle the hunger crisis and defeat it too. Support non-governmental organisations in India like Akshaya Patra because these organisations not only fill hungry stomachs but also nurture children right from the beginning. They also extend a helping hand to disaster-affected people during the hour of crisis. When you support to feed the children or contribute towards disaster relief feeding, you truly uphold the spirit of humanity.

Everyone has equal right to food.

So, take a step to support those who lack the means to access it.

 

Resolving Global Issues Surrounding Children

Millions of children across the world are denied the opportunity to enjoy childhood and are still in search of basic necessities like food, education, shelter and safety.  Child trafficking, child marriage, poverty, malnutrition and child labour are some of the main global Issues surrounding children.

Child trafficking

Image Courtesy: cseindiaportal

Child trafficking affects millions of children across the world. Children are bought and sold for various activities including forced labour.  According to a 2012 report released by the International Labour Organization, 21 million people are trapped in forced labour across the world.  Of the total, 5.5 million are below 18 years.  Children’s Organization of Southeast Asia (COSA), Children of the Night, Called to Rescue, Love 146 and Maiti Nepal are some of the charities working to end child trafficking and exploitation across the world.

child_marriage

Image Courtesy: newzimbabwe.com

Similarly, more than 700 million women marry before turning 18 and about 250 million get into wedlock before age 15, according to a data released by the UNICEF in 2014. Though efforts to end child marriage have been going, the custom is still prevalent in several parts of India. The after effects include early pregnancy, school dropout, violence, abuse and exposure to HIV and AIDS.  Some of the charitable organisations trying hard to free young children from the clutches of early marriage include Girls Not Brides, Care and Breakthrough.

Poverty is another issue we need to take care of. About 1 billion in the world live in poverty, according to UNICEF.  Poor nutrition claims 3.1 million young lives every year. In developing countries, about 100 million children are underweight and 66 million primary school children go hungry to school. Poor nutrition can damage the immune system and increase a child’s risk of contracting deadly diseases. It can also affect learning ability, cognitive and physical development of children.

Feed the hungry children

Image Courtesy: brighterbrains.org

Some of the organisations fighting hunger and poverty include Action against Hunger, the U.N. World Food Programme and Bread for the World Institute. In India, apart from the government, charitable organisations like The Akshaya Patra Foundation, Annamrita, No Hungry Child, Annapoorna of Adamya Chetana distribute mid-day meals in schools. Initiative taken by these charitable organisations has helped fight hunger and improve nutritional status of underprivileged children in India.

It’s also shocking to know that about 100 million children are homeless and live on streets.  The reasons differ from war or poverty to harmful diseases. Some of the children are orphans, while some live in streets to support their families. Street children, according to UNICEF, are the most difficult to protect and provide education and care.  They face risks from various sources including the police and are sometimes murdered as part of the cleaning up of the city. Charitable organisations like Youth Advocate Program International (YAP International), Consortium for Street Children (CSC), Dreamz (Mumbai), Support (Mumbai) and Railway Children have helped improve the situation and given new meanings to the lives of street children across the world.

Akshaya Patra Inititative4

Image Courtesy: Akshaya Patra

In addition to this, millions of children today are trapped in child labour. Children are often forced to work in several dangerous environments.  A data from UNICEF shows that about 150 million children are engaged in child labour including mining, quarrying, domestic service or agriculture.

However, the number of children who work in India has come down over the past few years.  In 2011, only 43.53 lakh children aged between five and 14 were working compared to 1.26 crore in 2001, thanks to the work of organisations like International Labour Organization, The Child Labor Coalition and Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA).  Apart from them, the list of charities for children also includes UNICEF, United Nations and Save the Children.

There is no doubt that these issues have made children’s lives miserable and hard. But, the situation has definitely improved than earlier, thanks to the thousands of charitable organisations across the world that have engaged in charities for children.

If the good work of charitable organisations continues at this pace, we can soon completely free our children from these issues and return their rights.