Her story teaches you two life lessons – to dream big and to save water!

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Vidhi is a student of Class VII in Surat, Gujarat. Her story was documented by Akshaya Patra, an NGO in Surat which provides mid-day meals to over 1.6 million children in India.

Today – a student, tomorrow – a doctor. That’s Vidhi’s dream. Although she is yet to decide a particular subject to specialize, she is well aware that the path will invite hard work. “I know it will be difficult and I will have to work hard for it, but I am willing to do it,” she says. We believe it’s her determination to experience her dream someday.

Vidhi, like many students, enjoys participating in extracurricular activities such as dancing, drawing and elocution competitions, etc.  The last time she participated in an elocution competition, her topic was ‘The importance of saving water’. “If we stop wasting water by doing something as simple as turning our taps off properly, some of our water scarcity problems will definitely be solved.” She also spoke about implementing drip irrigation system as an effective measure to minimise water usage in agriculture.

As an NGO in Surat, Akshaya Patra which provides mid-day meal is encouraging 1,43,293 children to attend school. Vidhi is also an Akshaya Patra beneficiary, who apart from receiving education also enjoys nutritious mid-day meals. She says, “The food provided to us is good for health as it contains many nutrients required by our body. We get soybean, Dal Bhaat, Dal Dhokli, Thepla, etc. I like soybean and Dal the most, but I also like other food items that we get.”

Vidhi’s father works in a mall, while her mother works as a house help. Because the day begins early in a hectic situation, there’s an assurance for the family that Vidhi will be given food in school. “Nobody will like it if Akshaya Patra stops providing meals to our school, because then, we will have to get our lunchbox from home and that will be difficult for most of us.”

Read more stories of Akshaya Patra Beneficiaries at: Stories of Children


Akshaya Patra’s primary focus continues to be Mid-Day Meal Programme which aims to end classroom hunger among school going children. In this journey, your contribution will make a difference for many children. You can donate for education in India by choosing to sponsor a child or more!

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Are Mid-Day Meals Playing a Role in a Student’s Academics?

In the last five decades, literacy has evolved and shaped India in many facets – be it industrialisation, per capita or even the standard of living, literacy takes the credit. When you examine the literacy graph of India and compare numbers, the gradual developments bring a smile – thanks to the government benefits and donations for education in India. While there are many factors that play a role in achieving 100% literacy rate, a children’s NGO, Akshaya Patra, is focusing on enabling a student’s academic performance through food for education initiative – the Mid-Day Meal Programme.

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Implemented in 2000, Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme (food for education initiative) is now the world’s largest NGO-run feeding initiative based out of Bengaluru in Karnataka. Every day, over 1.6 million children are benefitted through this programme which prepares and delivers fresh-nutritious food to 13,260 schools at lunch time.

Here’s a quick look at two main factors that affect a student’s academic performance:

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Learning facilities and environment: It’s rather difficult to expect a child to learn in a classroom without sufficient study materials (text books, notepads, pen, and etcetera) and grasp lessons. It’s more problematic if the school is set up in a noisy surrounding and the exchange between teacher and students is put to a stop. While the government is making continuous efforts to provide provisions to children and build better infrastructure, many NGOs, with the help of education donations, have sprung to lend help to the government in ensuring children excel in their academics.

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Socio-economic status: In many scholarly articles and research studies, it has been proved over and again that the socio-economic status of a family is an integral criterion for student’s performance – this includes the family members’ occupation and revenue which defines the economic condition. Akshaya Patra enables many families by providing a resource to their children – mid-day meals – which in turn lessens the strain of feeding a stomach in the house. To ensure the child does not have to bear the responsibilities of earning, the Foundation through its programme encourages every child to attend school and also be assured to eat healthy meals.

Why are Mid-Day Meals a boon to children?

It is a resource that stabilises education.  But along with it come nutrition, good health and well-being, academic achievement and quality performance.  Akshaya Patra, with its dynamic initiative to provide food for education, has reached the milestone of serving more than 2 billion meals in the last 16 years. This milestone is a greater encouragement for the Foundation to continue its mission.

Yes, mid-day meals are a boon to children and for the nation. Here’s why:

– More children enrol in schools
– Promotes socialisation among children
– Reduces classroom hunger
– Enhances a student’s performance (academic, sports and cultural)

A quick thought for the mind: Post-independence, India faced many challenges in the field of Growth and Development. However, through numerous benefit schemes and opportunities, we as nation, are witnessing change in every field. Akshaya Patra’s initiative too intends change.

We believe every child deserves a fair chance and there is nothing more important than imparting education. Donate for education in India by joining Akshaya Patra in making every school a model of literacy development.

Pledge to Support a Girl Child This Dussehra

We often feel fortunate about living in the 21st century. Life has become as simple as it could ever be and the least one has to do is install an app to get his work done in a fraction of seconds. But, sadly in many parts of the world, nothing has been improved for girls yet. A UN report stated that worldwide, around 700-million girls did not have a right to decide when to marry and they are married as children. Early marriage leads to early pregnancy and hence weak health among girls. Often the reason for such a situation is lack of awareness and education.

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Why should you support a Girl Child?

Perspectives are changing with each passing year. From families’ abandoning the idea of girl child to now accepting the gender and providing equal importance, there has been a positive change. There are many charitable organisations that undertake initiatives to kindle awareness and gender equality by setting out programmes of employment, empowerment and education for girls. Also, there are many girls who have been benefitted by educational schemes and programmes.

Dussera is round the corner in India, and it is a symbol of the victory of truth, honesty and good against lies, deceit and evil. This year, it coincides with the International Day of the Girl Child on October 11, 2016. The purpose of this day is to run the mission of gender equality by 2030 by developing awareness of the importance of nurturing a girl child.

How can you make a difference this Dussehra?

Education for Girl: In order to create a literate, healthy and strong society, it is as important to educate a girl as it is for a boy. Education becomes a strong foundation for girls to improve their status in the society, stay aware about their lives, decide for their life and support the income generation in families. Educating a girl creates self-awareness and empowers other women and the society as well. Spreading awareness and promoting education is a way through which you can be a part of the celebration of International day of The Girl as well as Dussehra. You may simply sponsor a school for a year so more and more girls are encouraged to attend school.

Healthy and Nutritious Food: Girls and women in some families are deprived of healthy and sufficient meal. It’s not because they do not have access to food but due to lack of awareness since women are not the bread-earners in many households. This practice adversely affects girls’ as well as women’s health. The status can be improved, by providing food to girl children in schools and anganwadi centers or by volunteering.

Akshaya Patra is a philanthropic organisation that runs Mid-Day Meal Programme, in active collaboration with the government, for children in India who are deprived of education and food. The trust has its branches in 10 states in the country from where it caters to the needs of nutritious meals.  You have the option of contributing or donating a small fraction of the income in feeding a child throughout his/her education. This Dussera, let’s support a girl child by taking the responsibility of her one-time meal.

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This way you also get to donate for education in India as many children are deprived of education and nourishment. The trust, with the support of social enthusiasts and philanthropists, becomes successful in delivering food to millions of children and yet there are millions left who don’t go to school but strive hard for meals. You can reach them with meals. You may simply choose to donate online.

History of Mid-Day Meals in India

Madras Corporation under the British Empire initiated the Mid-Day meal Programme in 1925. Later, after independence, Tamil Nadu was the first state to run the programme in 1963, by supplying free lunches in government schools, government-aided schools and anganwadi centers. According to the legacy of mid-day meal in India, British administration formed the foundation for supplying food across the government schools for primary and upper-primary children. Subsequently, Government of India started the school meal programme to improve nutritional status of children and stop child labour. Akshaya Patra today actively works with the Indian government in supplying meals at a larger scale and is on a mission to eradicate undernourishment nationwide.

This year, Dussera brings us an opportunity of true celebration of the festival by truly fighting against the evil of illiteracy and undernourishment, and contributing towards creating a healthier, safer society for girls. This year let’s begin the celebration with the joy of giving something to society, contributing in its welfare and supporting a girl child.

Sources: unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/girl-child

un.org/en/events/girlchild/

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midday_Meal_Scheme#History