Penning A Bright Future with Literacy

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International Literacy Day, observed on September 8 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), commemorates its 50-year anniversary in 2016. This day recognises the importance of literacy and promotes it through engagement on national and international levels. It is being celebrated under the banner ‘Reading the Past, Writing the Future’ this year.

According to the 2011 census, India’s literacy rate was 74.04% (82 .14% among males and 65.46% among females). The nation has made strides in literacy rate, with active efforts from the Government and organisations like The Akshaya Patra Foundation through its initiatives like food for education, but there is still a long way to go. The cause of literacy must certainly be on the top of the agenda for social improvement, as high rates of literacy benefit the individual and society in numerous ways.

Source: To know the ways to improve literacy rate, visit: International Literacy Day

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Taking the Leap to Fight Hunger: Expanding Footprints in India

The cause of ‘food for education’ urgently needs a boost and Akshaya Patra is expanding its reach across the country to achieve this. With its mission – ‘No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger’ – the Foundation is marching ahead to erase classroom hunger in India. The role of NGOs in India – to bring about social betterment – is fulfilled by the Foundation in partnership with State and Central governments in India. Its current reach of over 1.6 million beneficiaries, who receive a wholesome mid-day meal every day, is set to take a big leap.

In 2016, the Foundation established its presence in Maharashtra by launching its very first kitchen in the state in Nagpur. In Andhra Pradesh, it added two more kitchens – at Kakinada and Mangalagiri. In neighbouring Telangana, Akshaya Patra laid the foundation stone for its first high-tech mega kitchen at Khandi in Telangana. Come the next academic year, this kitchen will feed more than 1,00,000 children in the region and its construction cost will be borne by the Infosys Foundation, which has donated for education in India by making a contribution of Rs 18.03 crore towards the Foundation for this project.

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December 2016 also saw the Foundation set the stage for a major expansion in Uttar Pradesh. It will set up 11 new kitchens in the state in the districts of Varanasi, Ghaziabad, Agra, Allahabad, Kanpur, Etawah, Kannauj, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Rampur and Ballia. Shri Akhilesh Yadav, Honourable Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP), performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the same, on December 26, 2016 at Lok Bhavan, New Secretariat, Lucknow. These new kitchens will expand the Foundation’s reach to 13 lakh beneficiaries in UP from 2,11,680 children it is presently feeding, benefitting 10,88,320 more children from the next academic year.

To reach out to millions more children in the country and aid their quest for education via nutritious mid-day meals, the Foundation needs the support of all the individuals committed to eradicating classroom hunger. Join Akshaya Patra in nourishing the health and furthering the education of India’s children by making a donation towards it. These donations also avail donors tax exemptions under sections 35AC and 80GGA of the Income Tax Act.

Help secure the future of India’s children. Support ‘unlimited food for education’!

How Effective are Food for Education Programmes

If you’re reading this, you should call yourself fortunate. If going back home reminds you of delicious home-cooked food, you should call yourself fortunate. You’re fortunate because you’ve had the opportunity to learn and you’ve always got a tiffin box to carry in your bag or some money in the pocket for buying lunch.

Not many know that India is a home to 33% of world’s undernourished children. How can we not think of helping them? When you’ve more than you need, you should build a bigger table, not a higher fence. Seeing the present context, we need more supporters and food for education programs to get down to showing deep concern, spreading awareness, donating funds and providing healthy meals as an incentive to boost enrolment.

Akshaya Patra recently published its NGO annual report 2015-16 which gives insights into how the organisation reaches out to millions of children. Here’s how Akshaya Patra set forth in the path of reaching out to millions of children and are changing their lives.

A growth that’s no less than massive

Akshaya Patra has grown slowly and steadily. From 1,500 children a day to over 1.6 million children, the growth has been rising. It demonstrates that the role of NGO has always been aboard and determinant toward the goal of providing unlimited food for education. They’ve gone the extra mile, not only in well-managed technology, logistics, quality, and finance but also in strategies for sustainable working. The Foundation has gained trust of the philanthropic donors and beneficiaries as well.

Food for Education motivates children to pursue their dreams

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Children from the marginalised sections of society often wait to pursue their dreams. Food for Education programmes help them in doing this. The blue buses at Akshaya Patra not only carry freshly cooked nutritious meals to 1.6 million children across India but also the smile and hope to get good food. Ambitious beneficiaries like Dashrath Chauhan, Anjali Batti, Saraswathi, and Chetan are some of our much prized stories of hope.

Involvement of public

It is essential for a public-private relationship based organisation to have provisions for public’s involvement. Without the generous help from well-wishers, it is not possible for an NGO to function at all. These organisations act as a medium for the society to show compassion towards the needy. Akshaya Patra provides several opportunities such as fundraising, campaigning, volunteering, partnering and donating online to get involved in this endeavor of eradicating undernourishment and ensuring access to education for all. For accomplishing its mission of feeding 5 million children by 2020, Akshaya Patra gives a shout-out to everyone who is willing to help those in dire need.

Akshaya Patra, an NGO based in Bengaluru, runs Mid-Day Meal Programme in 11 states of India.

To read in Hindi, visit: about NGO in Hindi.

Food and Education: A Solution for India

According to the famous theory ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’ food is one of the most fundamental needs—if hunger is not solved, it becomes impossible for humans to reach higher standards of needs like education. This theory asks us a simple question: Will a child be able to sit in a classroom with an empty stomach?

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In an attempt to relieve children from classroom hunger, The Akshaya Patra Foundation began providing mid-day meals to government school children in India to ensure they receive both nutrition as well as education. The role of NGOs in India is increasing every day to reduce the nation’s socio-economic issues—lack of education being one of them. The Foundation believes that food for education will contribute to achieving economic stability in the long-run and will also improve every section of the society. 15 years ago, Akshaya Patra began serving mid-day meals to only 1500 school children. Today, it has progressed to more than 1.5 million children across 10 states in India making it the world’s largest (non-for-profit) run Mid-Day Meal Programme in India.

There are two ways many children in India are benefitting from Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meals—a wholesome meal every day to be on the healthier side and uninterrupted education despite the financial hurdles at home. Akshaya Patra has been working along with the Government of India and State Governments to reduce the number of children exposed to severe hunger. The combined and continuous efforts with the government have resulted in tremendous opportunities for children to attend school; for it is education that projects a secure future.

For India as a developing nation, feeding the future is a mission. The Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2008 states that more than 200 million people in India go hungry every day making food sufficiency an urgent priority. Despite economic progress over the decade, the report still highlights the severe hunger situation in India.

India has many challenges to fight. Solutions are many. However, if the country continues to focus on two aspects – food and education, the results can be what Planning Commission of India has envisioned for 2020—achieving 100 per cent school enrolment of all children.

It is also The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s mission to target 5 million children everyday by 2020 and ensuring that these children are able to concentrate better in classrooms. You can get involve by joining Akshaya Patra in raising awareness about the programme as well as contributing to the cause. All it takes is Rs. 750 to feed a school going child and you can help us too.


You can download the Akshaya Patra Mobile App to support the foundation cause. Download the app on Android and iOS store

Serving Hope in Every Meal by Akshaya Patra

As a baby, you’d cry for food and as a school child, you would run home right after the school bell rang because your stomach groaned for food. Your mother would then serve you a little snack to help you along with your homework. After a good wholesome dinner, you would call it a day! However, this isn’t the case for many children in our country simply because their situation does not allow them to expect a meal. If you’ve been cared for, how about you donate in honour of someone who looked after you? Read on to know why your contribution can make a difference in a child’s life.

India is home to one-third of the world’s poor and millions of children in the country are away from school to earn a single meal a day. Although hunger is a prevailing condition, we believe there are sufficient resources to provide food for children in the country. The role of NGOs have expanded drastically over the years and at The Akshaya Patra Foundation, it is a promise kept to feed a wholesome meal to the underserved children across many states. With an ever-growing dedication, The Foundation has been feeding nutritious meals to more than 1.5 million children in India and aims to reach 5 million children by 2020.

Akshaya Patra beneficiary in Karnataka

Since its inception, The Foundation’s cause has been receiving generous support from many individuals, organisations and the Government. With the growing support, we believe we can help children escape classroom hunger. Most of our beneficiaries do not miss school only because they are served nutritious mid-day meals every day. For Ashwini, who is benefitting from Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meal programme, it is important that her studies are not interrupted due to a devastating situation in the family. In Ashwini’s life, each mid-day meal plays an important role by encouraging her to attend school on a regular basis. To know more of Ashwini’s hopes and that of other children’s whose education is assured through mid-day meals, you can visit hope stories.

Children benefiting from Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meals are more than encouraged to continue their studies with a hope of achieving something big—for it is hunger that steals their right to learn. When a child has to strive for food or sleep on an empty stomach, it creates an injustice to the humanity itself. By bringing nutritious food closer to children, Akshaya Patra helps them concentrate on education because when the school bell rings, they can run to the playground instead.

You can care for our cause too!

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Our focus continues to be hunger relief among school goers through nutritious mid-day meals every day! To ensure that a child is not deprived of education due to hunger, you can contribute Rs. 750 which feeds a child for an entire year! You can also make your contribution by donating in honour of someone you admire. By this, you not only honour an individual but you also honour the cause of ensuring that children are fed.

Akshaya Patra Serving Health and Well-Being in Schools

The major drawback in India is that children from low-income families are not entitled to proper education for lack of food. The children tend to remain hungry as their parents cannot afford them a meal. For them, a square meal is more important than acquiring education. So they accompany parents to work places. As a result, attendance has dropped down and drop-outs have increased.  It is estimated that more than 50% of Indian children drop out of the schools at primary level.  Unfortunately, India shares 34% percent of the world’s illiterate population.

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Without education a child can never progress. Understanding the link between education and nutrition, Akshaya Patra serves unlimited food for education keeping their growth requirements in mind. The meals are delivered with proper nutrition; quality, prescribed calories and safety. Adequate supply of micro nutrients as iron, folic acid, zinc, fibre, essential fatty acids, calcium, carbohydrates, protein vitamin A are supplemented through the mid-day meals. During lunch servings; roti, rice, rice khichadi, curd rice, vegetable pulao, mixed vegetable curry, sambar, dhal, rasam etc. are served. The sambar and curries contain lots of vegetables which have essential nutrients that are required for the adequate growth of children. The rice and wheat served meets adequate standards as prescribed by The Government of India.  Every meal served is warm, fresh, nutritious and ready to eat. So hunger, which is an obstacle to children’s health, education and survival are tackled by the nutritious mid-day meals.

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The mid-day meal solves two of the critical United Nations Millennium Development Goals. The first is to End Poverty and Hunger and second is to achieve Universal Education. Food for education solves the obstacle of hunger that is a hindrance for education and health.

Hunger hinders a child’s learning process. Let no child miss the opportunity to attend school for the lack of food.  Let us donate for the NGO so that it can reach out to more children.  Let us work together to serve children and end class room hunger. It takes just Rs. 750 to feed a child for a year! Every donation of Rs. 500 or above made to Akshaya Patra is eligible for 100% tax exemption under section 35 AC or 50% tax exemption under Section 80 G of the Indian Income Tax.

Mid-Day Meal and Its Secrets

There was a time when the school premises were bereft of the shrillness and joyful din of children, when classrooms were devoid of students, when children sat with heads bowed down in pangs of hunger, when children craved to have a square meal and accompanied parents to work. It was a time when attendance was low and drop-outs were more.

Most of the children in government schools hail from poor backgrounds whose parents are daily wage workers and cannot afford one proper meal a day.  The parents are not ready to send their children to schools as they wanted them to earn and have food at least a day. The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s vision ‘no child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger’ has brought about a significant role in the future of children in government schools. The NGO implements the mid-day meal programme in collaboration with the Central Government and various State Governments.

After the commencement of the programme, the pall of despair in classrooms has changed to hopes of aspiration and dreams. The ambience of the school has come back where the school premises are filled with the high-pitched voices of students reciting poems, cheerful din of excitement and gleam, the teachers teaching with a sense of decorum paused by a high sound of scolding once in a while.

Let us hear from the children what they have to say of the secret impact of the mid-day meal scheme.

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Badal – Akshaya Patra Beneficiary

Badal whose father is a mason and mother a cook is able to attend school regularly after the commencement of mid-day meals. He says, “I like all food items, and kheer is my favourite.” He opines “the Mid-day meal programme is good and it should be there as it helps children from hunger.”

Know more about Badal at: Badal Behara- The Young Yoga Enthusiast!

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Shrisha – Akshaya Patra Beneficiary

AP.Shrisha, the class topper of Namma Kiriya Prathamika Shalley School, says “Akshaya Patra’s food is very tasty and it increases my concentration and helps me remain active in class.”

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Darshan – Akshaya Patra Beneficiary

Darshan, whose father is a bus driver and mother a homemaker has been an Akshaya Patra beneficiary since 2008. He says “I like rice and sambar served by Akshaya Patra.” He further says “my personal favourite is Bisibelebath served on Saturdays.” “The foods help me to concentrate in class”, he adds.

Know more about Darshan at: Darshan: A True Patriot in the making

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Harsha – Akshaya Patra Beneficiary

Harsha, whose father is a carpenter, says with enthusiasm that he is able to attend class as hunger is no more obstructing his level of concentration. He recites the full menu during the week and says that there is not one day he hasn’t liked the meal. “I love the mid-day meals served by Akshaya Patra especially the pulao.”  Every day my concentration in class is extended because of this nutritious meal,” he adds.

Know more about Harsha at: Harsha never misses a mid-day meal

We can see that mid-day meal scheme have solved multiple issues as hunger, poverty, illiteracy, child-labour and malnutrition among children. Children are eager to come to schools so that they get a nutritious meal, which gives them the energy to concentrate and learn. It has reduced the dropout rates with a reasonable increase in attendance. Teachers opine that there was a time when children went home for lunch and would not return to school. They now notice that afternoon attendance is almost as good as morning attendance. Parents who cannot afford to serve a proper meal to their children are more than happy with the assurance of one free wholesome meal a day for their children.

So let us donate to the NGO so that it can reach out to more children.  Let us work together to serve children and end class room hunger. Let us make others aware of the need to provide food for education. It takes just Rs. 750 to feed a child for a year! Every donation of Rs. 500 or above made to Akshaya Patra is eligible for 100% tax exemption under section 35 AC or 50% tax exemption under Section 80 G of the Indian Income Tax.

School Admission Time for the Beneficiaries of Akshaya Patra (Part-2)

In the first part, we have seen how Akshaya Patra improvises the quality and excellence of its kitchens for welcoming its beneficiary children after the vacations. This non-profit organisation in India is striving hard to provide nutritious mid-day meals to children in Government schools.

The burning problem in India is hunger and illiteracy among school children.  Most of the children studying in Government schools hail from low income families, who do not have provision for a proper meal a day. A hungry child becomes unhealthy, less attentive and hence a poor learner.  The child might be a drop-out and start searching for his own food ending up as a child labourer.

Alarmingly, National Census 2011 reveals that in India there are 10.12 million child labourers aged 5 to 14.  In the backdrop of food insecurity, a child can never concentrate in class. Realizing the issue, Akshaya Patra serves unlimited food for education to school children, so that hunger won’t be a restraint in their path to education. If the problem of hunger and malnourishment are solved, children can concentrate in studies.

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In the recent years, it has been witnessed that mid-day meals attracts children in coming to school. Its benefits extend beyond class rooms, making children healthy by boosting their energy, breaking poverty in households, serving as an investment for the future of a child making him/her educated and literate. For most of the children it would be the only nutritious meal in a day. Thus, micronutrient deficiencies that cause severe health problems are solved. It can also be considered as a bonus that will help children to stay at school so that the enrolment and attendance are increased in schools and hence paving the paths of progress, development and success of the nation.

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Education plays an important role in the life of a child.  It is education that moulds an illiterate child into an enlightened individual. So, this non-profit organisation in India, feeds the children with mid-day meals to keep hunger at bay and help them to lead a progressive future. Thus, solving the problems related to health, education and child labour.

Akshaya Patra reaches out to 1.5 million children in 24 locations across 10 states of India. Here is a brief survey of the states Akshaya Patra is serving mid-day meals in

  • Andhra Pradesh, 28051 children are served across 109 schools
  • Assam, 53649 children are served across 592 schools.
  • Chhattisgarh, 23647 children are served across 160 schools.
  • Gujarat, 400158 children are served across 1653 schools.
  • Karnataka, 463682 children are served across 26289 schools.
  • Odisha, 125242 children are served across 1461 schools.
  • Rajasthan 135910 students are served across 1830 schools.
  • Tamil Nadu 718 students are served.
  • Telangana, 54849 students across 454 schools and
  • Uttar Pradesh, 150663 students across 1983 schools.

The organisation is striving tirelessly to spread its roots across to other states in India.  As responsible citizens of society, let us join hands to solve the problem of hunger which is an obstacle in a child’s progressive life. It is our social responsibility to see that no child becomes a labourer for the want of food and be malnourished for dearth of food. It is our duty to ensure that students will not be drop-outs for food.

Let us be part of Akshaya Patra in serving unlimited food for education by giving donation for the NGO. Every donation of Rs 500 or above is eligible for 100% tax exemption benefits. Within ten days of making the donation, tax receipts can be expected. It takes only Rs.750 to feed a child for a year!

Read the previous blog on School Admission Time for the Beneficiaries of Akshaya Patra

Less Obvious Benefits of the Mid-day Meal Scheme

While the primary objectives of Mid-day Meal Programme are to avoid classroom hunger, improve school enrolment and attendance, and address the issue of malnutrition, the benefits of this scheme go well beyond these objectives.

The Mid-day Meal Scheme (MDMS) in its full-fledged form was implemented in 2004 to address two key issues: hunger and education. As a part of this scheme, a wholesome meal is provided to all children in the 6 to 14 age group studying in government and government-aided schools, making nutritious meal a reality for children who otherwise can’t afford a square meal.

Mid day meal

With the implementation of this scheme, it became easier for the authorities to convince people to send their children to school. Children, for their part, were more than eager to come to school, as a result of which school enrolment and attendance improved. It also helped in solving the problem of classroom hunger—one of the main reasons for lack of concentration in school children.

Government School Children

Over the years, the Mid-day Meal Scheme has done a fair bit to eradicate hunger and promote education, but these are not the only two areas where the scheme has helped. There exist other areas where the indirect impact of the same has been felt.

It Promotes Socialisation

Happy Children

Among the less-known advantages of mid-day meal scheme, one of the most important is the fact that it fosters the habit of eating together in children. The sight of all children coming together every afternoon for their meal is a sight to treasure. This intermingling improves unity among them. You can never stress enough on the importance of socialisation in India. The ambitious mid-day meal programme has helped ensure that caste, religion, or other similar factors don’t come in between children and education.

It Provides Employment Opportunities

Akshaya Patra Decentralized Kitchen

The Mid-day Meal Programme is the largest school meal programme in the world, feeding over 120 million children of over 1 million schools. But obviously, an operation of this scale will require a huge workforce. According to the data put forth by the Government, the Programme employs around 2.6 million people across the country as cooks and helpers.

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Besides the cooks and helpers hired by schools, there are several individuals who are employed by the NGOs who have got into a public-private partnership (PPP) with the Government to implement this scheme. The Akshaya Patra Foundation, which feeds over 1.5 million school children across ten states of India, hires about 6300 people. The not-for-profit organisation based out of Bengaluru also operates two decentralised kitchens where women self-help groups (SHGs), who have a better idea of the local palette, are employed.

Other Benefits

The guidelines put forth by the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP-NSPE), state that the Government should ‘mobilize community support and promote public-private partnership for the programme’ wherever possible.

Yet another less-known benefit of the mid-day meal scheme is that it helps the local economy as perishable commodities, like vegetables, dals, oil, etc., are purchased from the local market.

Chopped Vegetables

In essence, the Mid-day Meal Programme has done a lot for the children of our country. However, considering the vast size of our country, we understand that there’s a lot to be done. If we are to achieve this, we need to work together; all of us, Central and state governments, partnering NGOs, communities, and every single stakeholder.

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Akshaya Patra has been working in this field for more than 15 years now, so we can say we can confidently say we have enough experience and expertise required to take things ahead. What we need is your support through online donation to ensure that more children reach school and script their own future.

Food for Education for the Girl Child

Every year, 11 October is observed as International Day of the Girl Child. The theme for 2015 isThe Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030’, in recognition of the importance of investing in adolescent girls’ empowerment and rights, both today and in the future. It is to supports more opportunity for girls. The philosophy is to increases awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide based upon their gender. We are talking about inequality such as right to education, nutrition, and many more.

Education for Girl

This is a modern world where every citizen is considered free and equal. But is it so? Empowerment of and investment in girls, is critical to see a better, balanced world as soon as we all like to see. And without your participation it’s going take longer than needed.

Food for education

Akshaya Patra runs the mid-day meal programme providing access to nutritious food to schools children whether they are boys, girls or coming from any caste or creed. The sense of equality is imbibed into every child as they are equally taken care of. The meal serves as an incentive to get education too. Girls can be empowered with knowledge as are nourished as well. This programme of The Akshaya Patra Foundation needs everyone’s support so more girls get food for education every day and one day we do see a better tomorrow where everyone is equally empowered and enlightened. Together we can contribute towards empowering girls by upholding their right to food, education, health, safety and dignity.

When we observe the next International Day of the Girl Child, the status should show a positive sign. Are you game?


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