NGO in Telangana & Its Kitchen

According to the ‘Telangana Socio-Economic Outlook 2018’, there is a substantial discrepancy in literacy rate across the state. While Hyderabad fairs significantly with 83.2%, Jogulamba Gadwal district is struggling with 49.9% literacy rate. It has been reported that of the total 31 districts, 26 districts have literacy rates below the State average of 66.54%. In order to bring the low scoring districts at par with the high scoring districts, the government is putting in lot of efforts. In support of the government’s effort, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO in Hyderabad began its mid-day meal service in the state in 2008.

Purpose of mid-day meal programme

On 28 November 2001, the Supreme Court of India passed a mandate stating, “We direct the State Governments/Union Territories to implement the Mid-Day Meal Scheme by providing every child in every Government and Government assisted Primary School with a prepared mid-day meal.” Through this scheme it was intended to:

  • avoid classroom hunger
  • increase school enrolment
  • increase school attendance
  • improve socialisation among castes
  • address malnutrition
  • empower women through employment

Headquartered in Bengaluru, Karnataka, Akshaya Patra wanted to give these advantages of mid-day meal scheme to the children of India. Hence, after its inception in 2000, the NGO started expanding its reach across the country. The Foundation made its foray to Telangana by establishing its first kitchen in Hyderabad in 2008. Currently, this NGO is feeding a total of 91,675 children in 805 government schools across the state.

Akshaya Patra Kitchens in Telangana

mid day meal in Telangana

Beginning its journey in 2008, today Akshaya Patra is providing mid-day meal in Telangana from its three centralised kitchens located in Hyderabad, Narsingi, and Kothagudem. Recently, the Foundation inaugurated its fourth kitchen in Kandi and it is the NGO’s largest one-of-a-kind hi-tech mega kitchens. Equipped to feed 1-lakh children per day, this kitchen was built in partnership with the Infosys Foundation.

With a grant of INR 18.50 crore, Infosys Foundation funded the entire construction cost of this kitchen. Alike all Akshaya Patra kitchens, the Telangana kitchens strictly adhere to hygiene and cleanliness standards in all its kitchen processes too. To improve productivity and efficiency of operational processes, Kaizen, Continuous Improvement Projects and Six Sigma methodologies are a part of a Telangana’s kitchen operations.

The kitchens of Telangana feature all the aspects of centralised kitchens such as cauldrons, trolleys, rice chutes, grinding machines, RO plants, and the like. Each of the kitchens has dedicated customised delivery vehicles to transport cooked meals to all beneficiary schools. The NGO in Hyderabad makes use of biogas briquettes and solar power as form of fuel and energy to operate the kitchen.

Menu of Telangana kitchens

Akshaya Patra has designed its meal menu to suit the local taste so that children enjoy their meal to the utmost. In line with the same, some of the menu items served to children in Telangana are: rice, lemon rice, sambar (a mixed vegetable and lentil curry), sundal (a South Indian dish, a dry legume-lentil preparation spiced, tempered, along with fresh coconut), pappu (a type of South Indian lentil curry), tomato pappu, vegetable biryani (a popular rice dish), and vegetable korma (an Indian dish made with vegetables and yogurt)

Socio-developmental initiatives

Besides providing mid-day meal, the Hyderabad kitchen is also involved in various socio-developmental initiatives to ensure betterment of the beneficiaries and the society. Some of the initiatives are:

  • Conducting awareness programmes
  • Life skills programme
  • Scholarship programme
  • Anganwadi Feeding
  • Feeding expecting and lactating mothers

As a mid-day meal NGO, Akshaya Patra wants to multiply its reach so that many more children receive the advantages of mid-day meal scheme. For this, the NGO operates in a Public-Private Partnership model, and while it is receiving aid from government, it also requires support and involvement of the civil society. Partake in the Foundation’s endeavour of providing ‘unlimited food for education’. Choose to donate to charity by either contributing funds online, sponsoring a school for a year or by donating a meal delivery vehicle. Your one contribution can make a huge difference in a child’s life. And, did you know that you can feed a child for the entire year with just Rs. 950!

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How mid-day meal plays an important role in Government Schools

The Mid-Day Meal Scheme is one of the most important interventions by Government of India to promote education. On 28 November 2001, the Supreme Court of India passed a mandate stating, “We direct the State Governments/Union Territories to implement the Mid-Day Meal Scheme by providing every child in every Government and Government assisted Primary School with a prepared mid-day meal.” Hence, under this scheme, children of government school receive free and nutritious meals on school days. It has been observed that the Mid-Day Meal Scheme has had a significant impact on the nutritional and educational status of children. During 2016-17, 9.78-crore children from 11.40-lakh schools had benefited from this scheme.

mid-day meal benefits

The government encourages the participation of NGOs by providing ample support with the intention to multiply the mid-day meal benefits i.e.:

  • avoid classroom hunger
  • increase school enrolment
  • increase school attendance
  • improve socialisation among castes
  • address malnutrition
  • empower women through employment

Since NGOs work at the grass root level and the role of NGOs is very crucial in furthering the benefits of mid-day meal, the government has set certain criterions as per NP-NSPE guidelines to select a partner NGO. Only upon fulfilment of the criterions the NGO will be considered for government partnership and also receive aid from the government in the form of grants and subsidies. The Akshaya Patra Foundation is one of the main mid-day meal NGOs in India that fulfil and adheres to the NP-NSPE guidelines. The NGO had begun implementing the mid-day meal programme in June 2000. And, after the Supreme Court’s mandate, it partnered with the government to continue the programme. This partnership was a welcome progression for the Foundation in providing nutritious meals and supporting the education of children.

Undeniably, school plays an important role in the socio-economic development of society. It is a place where children from various backgrounds mingle together promoting the culture of unity and brotherhood. The education they receive at school prepare them to achieve their goals and become successful in their lives. But, children of government schools mostly come from economically challenged backgrounds. So, even though education schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan are being implemented, the difficult financial conditions force these children to choose work over school. And, this is where the real potential of mid-day meal surfaces. Mid-day meal acts as an attractive incentive for parents to send their children to school with the sole hope that the young ones will receive at least one plate full of meal for the day. Thus, by giving the assurance of food, the Mid-Day Meal Scheme brings children to school, regularises attendance, checks drop-out rate, and helps children to receive the education they rightfully deserve.

Akshaya Patra is aware of the tangible and sustainable impact of mid-day meal. Hence, taking the onus, it conducts regular impact studies of its school lunch programme, the results of which are heartening. The several impact studies suggest that there has been a marked improvement in factors related to enrolment, attendance, health, and socialisation. To multiply this impact and bring more children under the purview of its school lunch programme, Akshaya Patra seeks supporting hands. And to make it easy for donors, it offers a quick and secure online platform. Through this platform, one can donate for the mid-day meal programme instantly from anywhere and at any time, with the provision of receiving tax exemption benefits too. It will be worth a step if you donate to charity. It will provide food and education to many deserving children while making you an important link in the chain of social development and national progress.

UP’s Education Status – Enrolment, Dropouts and Mid-day Meal

Mid-day meal in UP

Uttar Pradesh is not only the most populous state of India but also home to India’s largest child population with 200 million aged between five and 14 years. This indicates that Uttar Pradesh will soon add 200 million people to the Indian workforce. But, whether they will be assets or liabilities depends on their current health, education, and developmental status. So, let’s quickly review the current educational scenario in Uttar Pradesh.

Education in UP

The Government has taken several steps to improve this critical situation in the state, and one of the important interventions is the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. The provision of mid-day meal in UP was introduced in September 2004. And, currently, this scheme benefits 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. Along with government efforts, NGOs such as The Akshaya Patra Foundation has also stepped in to extend the benefits of mid-day meal in UP. And, over the years, it has been observed that the Mid-Day Meal Scheme has had a tangible impact on the school enrolment, attendance, and health of the students.

Akshaya Patra, an Indian mid-day meal NGO made its foray into Uttar Pradesh in August 2004 by establishing a centralised kitchen facility in Vrindavan. Gradually, in March 2015, the Foundation established itself as an NGO in Lucknow with its second centralised kitchen in the state to serve the school children in Lucknow. Both the kitchens are ISO 22000:2005 certified and together they are providing freshly cooked nutritious school lunch to 2,11,680 children in 3,021 schools of the state. The menu of mid-day meal in UP consists of locally palatable roti-subzi (Indian flatbread with mixed vegetable curry) along with other native food items so that maximum children eat their school lunch readily and joyfully.

According to a third party assessment of the Mid-Day Meal Programme run by Akshaya Patra revealed that there is a positive trend on the studied variables: elimination of classroom hunger, social equity, nutrition and health, enrolment, retention, and attendance. The report studied eight locations of Akshaya Patra and the overall score of Uttar Pradesh was 9.43 on a scale of 10. This indicates that while there is a visible change in the health and education scenario, there is also ample opportunity to multiply the impact.

The Government and NGOs are doing their bit to improve the current educational situation of Uttar Pradesh. But, as members of the same land, we too are responsible to uplift the society. Donate to charity and partake in the efforts to empower children. Even if we can improve the lives of at least a fraction of the 200 million children, it will be a significant move towards progress. Our contribution and participation have the potential to transform millions of young lives. So let’s wholeheartedly pitch in to make the children of Uttar Pradesh assets for the state and the nation!

How you can make a difference this new year

It’s been over a week since we entered 2018. And, most of us would have strictly tried to stick to our New Year resolutions. Most popular among them, of course, are those relating to diet and weight loss.

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Most of us would have probably started slacking off on the resolutions to exercise every day or go for a walk every day. While looking for a resolution, why not look for something that you believe you can stick with, instead of doing something that you know is easy to not stick to.

It’s still not too late to start off on a resolution. Why not resolve to donate to charity this year. You could do so by contributing for the causes supported by The Akshaya Patra Foundation. By opting for regular payments, you will be happy that you are able to stick to the resolution and, the best of all, contribute to a worthy cause.

Impact from Reach

Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal today reaches over 1.6 million children across the said 12 states in the country. The children are supplied from 34 kitchens from 12 states.

A mere Rs 950 can feed a school-going child for a whole year. Imagine, the impact such a small amount can have.

The change that it can bring out in the life of a child by guaranteeing he/she can stay at school and not worry about lunch ensures that the child can stay focused on the task at hand, that of learning.  This is perhaps the biggest of the advantages of mid-day meal scheme.

The funds needed to support the growing movement, no less, can in fact be boosted. This can ensure that the children continue to enjoy wholesome meals every day. The Foundation has been tech-savvy. It has taken to online fundraising to stay with the times so that you can be part of the movement.

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.

How to make this Diwali special by involving in a social cause

Make this festival of lights special. There are numerous ways to do it. But by involving social cause in your celebration, you would be spreading joy among others too.

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How can you do so? One can get involved with a social cause. The Akshaya Patra Foundation is one such avenue for anyone looking to share their happiness with the disadvantaged. While you are ensuring someone is getting a chance to be happy, it’s a chance to light up many lives.

The non-profit fundraising ideas of an NGO, especially a credible one like Akshaya Patra, would be a good means of ensuring you have reached the right target group or groups.

Happiness cannot be measured, but can be felt, and can be contagious. If someone you know also notices that they too can be a part of the social cause, it’s no less than magical. Imagine the number of lives you can touch while indirectly encouraging others too to be part of the cause.

You can either make the donation yourself directly to the foundation or organize various fundraising activities. These can be anything engaging. The profit generated out of this can be used to donate towards the cause of feeding children. This way your source of joy will not be limited to your family and friends. Even these children whom you will be donating meals to can make you happy. As you donate towards the cause, you will be eligible for tax exemption in India.

This is just one of the ways you can reach the target group. In this case, mostly school children. By donating just Rs 950, you can assure a child a meal for one entire year. Apart from just filling their stomach, this will also help them prioritise studies over work.

Contribute towards ensuring every child in India is well-fed and educated. Donate to charity today.

This NGO in Ahmedabad wants to take children back to school

Zinkal Wariya is a beneficiary of an NGO that serves mid-day meals in schools of Ahmedabad. A student of standard VIII at Bhadaj village in Ahmedabad, Zinkal wishes to join the army in future. Apart from sports and her passion, she looks forward to school for the nutritious mid-day meals served by an Indian charitable trust. She knows the day menus now that involve daal bhaat, subzi-roti, khichdi, sukhdi, daal dhokli and the likes.

Donate for a cause

Like Zinkal, several children in Ahmedabad are motivated to come to school regularly because they are being served nutritious meals every day by the NGO in Ahmedabad Akshaya Patra. These children today feel fearless about their future because they don’t go back home empty stomach and have enough energy to study throughout the day. Their basic nutrition needs are fulfilled to a great extent through the healthy meals served by the Indian charitable trust. This NGO in Ahmedabad also serves children across India.

Through this, the NGO in Ahmedabad aims to address both hunger and education for children. The NGO is targeting remote schools in Ahmedabad in order to reach out to more and more children with wholesome lunch. For that, the charitable trust needs resources so that Indian children don’t miss schools due to hunger.

Donating to a charity like this should come more like a responsibility towards an educated society for future. Children who grow up having nutritious food and valuable exposure to education found a more civilised and a more sensible society. As adults, they would be motivated to educating their children to make India a developed society. Such a society is able to nurture innovators and positive influencers who have the power to change the world.

The NGO is committed to bring more children to schools in Ahmedabad. Your contribution would help them in their endeavour Donate to this Indian Charitable Trust.

What’s inside the wholesome plate served by a noted NGO in Ahmedabad?

What’s on your plate today? That is the primary agenda of a noted NGO in Ahmedabad serving wholesome lunch to school children every day, along with other children across the country. What are the elements in this special plate that make it truly wholesome?

Healthy happy children

Ahmedabad, among other things, is known for its delicious Gujarati Thaali (plate). So when this Indian charitable trust set out to serve wholesome meals to children, they were aware of the challenge. They decided to include nutritious elements from the traditional Gujarati Thaali and rotate the menu throughout the week. The menu that this NGO decided to serve in Ahmedabad begins with Soya Chunks Pulav, Mix Dal and Thepla on Mondays; Tur dal khichdi, Sabji with Kabuli Chana, Thepla and Chakri on Tuesdays; Jeera rice with Kabuli Chana, Dal Dhokli and biscuits on Wednesdays and so on.

There’s a good mix of pulses, vegetables and cereals apart from milk products, nuts and fruits. This Indian charitable trust understands what children need most – a balanced diet. This means the elements in every day’s lunch plate involves a good mix of proteins and carbohydrates.

This NGO in Ahmedabad is no other than Akshaya Patra that serves mid-day meals to school children in the city and also in other locations across the country. The charitable trust makes wholesome meal fun for Indian children by including sweets, milk products, fruits and nuts. Of course, local flavours play a major role in these meals which makes them interesting for school children.

Just like in Ahmedabad, every city has a set of local meals that have nutritious ingredients suitable for specific climate and this is duly recognised by the NGO. For instance, Thepla is a regular part of everyday meals in Ahmedabad, so the NGO includes it in almost every other day during the mid-day meal programme. Thepla contains fenugreek seeds, whole wheat flour, gram flour, pear millet flour, sourgham flour among others that are rich sources of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, calcium, dietary fibre and several dietary minerals.

If you think, every child in India deserves to get all the elements on his lunch plate every day, donate to charity today.

Let’s build a nourished India with online fundraising

As we celebrate World Population Day on July 11, how about thinking something different from just sharing insightful articles on social media pages. Can we channelise our resources, through online fundraising, for a nourished India. As of July 2017, India stands at 1.34 billion people. More than 50 per cent of this population is below the age of 25, including children. This demographic is our future but are they nourished and healthy enough?

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A non-profit organisation Akshaya Patra is striving to secure the future of India’s children by fighting hunger and sourcing resources through donations and non-profit fundraising ideas. The organisation serves wholesome lunch to school children in several states in India ensuring that no child in India misses school due to hunger.

In your online fundraising campaign, you can inform the community about how World Population Day was started by the governing council of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that works towards the reproductive health of the community especially women and the youth. It’s only apt that every one of us in India contribute towards making it a more nourished and a healthier country. Millions of children in India are either under nourished or hungry and we cannot have a healthy nation without feeding wholesome meal to children. We can donate to charities such as Akshaya Patra, or simply engage in online fundraising towards the cause of food and education.

Through online fundraising campaigns, we can raise awareness about how healthy children are better focuses towards their dreams and goals. When their basic need of nourishment is met, they are able to pursue professions such as medical, engineering, education, information technology or any other field of their choice and contribute positively towards nation’s development. Non-profit fundraising ideas don’t need a special talent, but only a strong will towards the cause.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation has been engaged in the cause of nourishment of children since the year 2000. As population grows, the organisation strives to reach all of them with their School-lunch Programme. Help the foundation by donating to charity today.

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!