Uninterrupted Education for School Children

How does Mid-Day Meal Programme help school going children in India? The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO in India that serves mid-day meals to over 1.5 million children, can help you answer that just right. Children are not only getting nutritious wholesome meals everyday but are also encouraged to attend school regularly. We believe your contribution can help us reach 5 million children by 2020 and help you get 100% tax exemption.

Serving mid-day meals to school children creates a vicious cycle – a child like Ajay wakes up to attend school, sprinkles great lessons into his head, feasts on healthy food and returns home after a sumptuous meal, and looks forward to the next day.

Here is an infographic of a school boy who is having Akshaya Patra‘s mid-day meal:

Infographic_Life of a School boy_Akshaya Patra

According to the UN World Food Programme, one out of six children is malnourished in developing countries and roughly 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry—these are just numbers that indicate the severity of hunger. A recent article on Buzzfeed India (www.buzzfeed.com/gayatrijayaraman/broke-hungry-and-on-trend) recognised urban people who go hungry almost every day but their lifestyles reflect otherwise. In both scenarios, we have two classes of people who are unable to satisfy the stomach because food is far from reach. While one is unable to afford it, the other is not able to prioritise on food.

As a society, what can we do to curb hunger in India and how can you, as a working class Indian, benefit from contributing to Akshaya Patra? The Foundation believes in nourishing the young minds who are the future of tomorrow. Because education is of foremost priority, Akshaya Patra began serving mid-day meals to school children in India to reduce dropout rate and enhance class attendance. Thanks to the government, Akshaya Patra’s donors can benefit from 100% tax exemption for contributions that are above Rs. 500. All it takes is Rs. 750 to feed a child every year!

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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.

Why children are hungry?

The concept of happiness changes with each person. For a young child, happiness is the time he or she gets to play, learn and enjoy with friends. However, today, millions of children across the world miss out the opportunity to happiness. How children enjoy childhood when issues like hunger, poverty, illiteracy and malnutrition follow them since birth?

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Of course, we do have enough food to feed the entire world.  But still 795 million people (one in nine people) in the world are hungry and nearly 400 million children live in extreme poverty. But have you ever tried to find out the reasons behind this occurrence? Here are some reasons as pointed out by the World Food Programme (WFP), the largest humanitarian agency in the world fighting hunger.

Once fallen into the trap of poverty, according to the agency, it is tough to come out of it. The aftereffect is that people become weak and less capable of earning enough income to support their family.

Think how worse the situation will be when it is added with an unstable market. The fluctuating prices and high costs of food items, no doubt, can make lives of poor miserable and force them to either sacrifice food or to get satisfied with a cheaper and less-nutritious option, which is the start of malnutrition.

Like the unstable market, natural calamities also play a huge role in hunger. Floods, storms and drought can cause crop failures, losses of livestock and massive destruction of crops. Climate change and deforestation also pose threat to farmlands. Apart from these natural reasons, hunger and malnutrition can be sometimes a man-made phenomenon like war and riots.

Similarly, lack of important agricultural infrastructure, has an indirect connection with hunger and poverty. Lack of proper roads can increase the transportation cost, absence of enough warehouses can make it difficult to store the food and lack of proper irrigation facilities can lead to shortage in water supplies.  All these together, can affect distribution and cost of food items.

Though these issues can be solved, it is a shame to reveal that we waste about one third of 1.3 billion tons of food produced in the world.

The most concerning part comes when hunger strikes children. Childhood is one of the most important stages of growth in life and ousting hunger at this period is very crucial for remaining healthy later in life.

The good news is that there is a chance for hope. The World Food Programme (WFP) and millions of other non-profit organisations across the world have already started their fight against hunger. Interestingly, the World Food Programme has already provided food security to 80 million people in 75 countries and the day when we free the 400 million children from hunger and say proudly that ‘child hunger ends here’ is not far from reality.


 

Akshaya Patra is not-for-profit organization working for the development of underprivileged children to eliminate hunger and illiteracy. The NGO in India is serving mid-day meal to 1.4 million children across 10 states of India.

Fighting Child Hunger and Improving Education

Food is one of the essentials needed to survive on this earth. However, all of us are not lucky enough to receive a sufficient supply due to many reasons.  It is shocking to know that about 870 million people in the world struggle for a square meal every day due to extreme poverty.

Feed the hungry children

When we talk about hunger children always come at the forefront as they are the worst affected. Lack of food or nutrition during the early stages of growth can lead to several health problems and sometimes even to death. Here are some statistics on children and hunger:

  • Malnutrition kills about 3.1 million children every year
  • About 100 million children (one out of six) in developing countries fall below the recommended weight
  • One in four children in the world is stunted
  • About 66 million primary school children go hungry to school

Measures have been taken to bring these numbers down and works by The World Food Programme (WFP), the largest anti-hunger agency of the UN in the world, have been quite inspiring. Interestingly, the agency feeds 80 million people in 75 countries every year.

From the past 54 years, the agency has been trying constantly to eliminate hunger and provide children an opportunity to attend school.  For this purpose, WFP supplies nutritious school meals to over 20 million children across the world.

The initiative has helped bring children back to school and bring hopes in millions of families. These meals, in a way, have also provided underprivileged children all the nutrition needed for growth.  The school meal programme has also given an opportunity to utilise the local resources and increase their demand.

Who else help school children in India – an overview:

A 2013 report on school feeding programmes across 169 countries released by the World Food Project ranked India 12th among lower middle income countries. During that time, India was feeding 114 million school children every day.

Some of the organisations which have helped improve lives of school children in India include:

  • The Akshaya Patra Foundation: The NGO, at present feeds freshly cooked nutritious mid-day meals to over 1.4 million school children in 10 states.

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  • Annamrita: The NGO feeds 1.2 million meals in eight states in India.

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  • Nanhi Kali: The NGO  helps provide education to girls

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  • Smile Foundation: is dedicated to empower underprivileged children, youth and women.

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These organisations have helped feed the hungry, provide education and empowerment and brought hope to millions of school children. However, there is a long way to go in eliminating classroom hunger altogether or providing education to all.

But, it is very much achievable. Just keep the good works going and soon ‘child hunger is gone’ will be a beautiful truth.

A Way to Help Akshaya Patra―Fundraise!

The Akshaya Patra Foundation being an NGO implementing the world’s largest mid-day meal programme is in constant need of support and contribution to sustain and expand its programme. Though the vision and mission of Akshaya Patra are imbibed into each individuals working with and for the cause of eliminating classroom hunger from India; the magnitude of the operation demands a huge resource and constant challenges creep up along the road to progress. Akshaya Patra looks up to several supporters, donors and well-wishers to help in running and expanding the programme.

Fund Raise with us

One significant option is fundraising with and for Akshaya Patra. It’s a fulfilling action for individuals who wish to do something and change the lives of children for the better. The organisation is always ready to support anyone who wants to fundraise at home, at school or at work or who wants to organise an event or a collection.

Akshaya Patra offers many fundraise with us options and the opportunity to come up with unique ideas for fundraising. Several kinds of communication materials and collaterals are readily available to enable the process. Round the clock assistance is just a mail or a call away.

Feeding the children

The Akshaya Patra Foundation believes that fundraising is a really effective way to help contribute towards the mid-day meal programme. It raises awareness about Food for Education, and provides support and information to anyone is looking for it. Each event meets many purposes apart from just raising funds. It also gives one the opportunity to become a role model.

Such fundraising events normally cause a ripple effect, which Akshaya Patra needs to fulfil its mission and in the near future.

Classroom hunger is a problem that affects the entire nation. One third of the world’s undernourished children are from India. Without proper food and education, children can never grow up to be better people.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation needs ardent support and contribution from people who understand that without smart and healthy children there is no better future. And what needs to be done to ensure that the future is bright has been done now.


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