How Children in Gujarat Benefit from Mid-Day Meal Scheme?

Gujarat is the second state after Tamil Nadu to implement the Mid-Day Meal Scheme across government schools. This Scheme makes the provision to provide freshly cooked meals to children of government and government-aided schools on every school day, completely free of cost. The chief objectives of this scheme are to address classroom hunger, malnutrition, and support education of children. In order to maximise the reach, the government has partnered with NGOs to implement the Scheme. The Akshaya Patra Foundation is one of the mid-day meal NGOs that has been serving nutritious meals to children since 2000. The Foundation currently provides healthy and tasty meals to 1.7 million children across 12 states of India.

mid-day meal in Gujarat

Remaining specific, Akshaya Patra started serving mid-day meal in Gujarat in 2009 by establishing its centralised kitchen in Vadodara. Presently, Akshaya Patra operates five centralised kitchens in the state – Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, Vadodara, Surat, and Kalol. The kitchens in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, and Surat are ISO 22000:2005 certified facilities whereas the kitchens in Bhavnagar and Kalol are in the process of certification; thereby testifying the Akshaya Patra’s utmost priority towards cleanliness, hygiene, and other obligatory operational aspects in carrying out the mid-day meal programme effectively and efficiently.

Across all operational locations, Akshaya Patra follows a locally palatable menu so that every child consumes the mid-day meal readily and enjoys it completely. So, as an NGO in Ahmedabad, Akshaya Patra’s meal menu is designed around Gujarati palate such as:

Peas pulao, kabuli chana pulao, vegetable pulao, groundnut jeera pulao, soya chunks pulao, lauki khichdi, jeera rice, plain rice, soya dal, chana dal, dal fry, mixed dal, roti, thepla with til and mix vegetables, thepla with potato, thepla with louki, mix vegetable curry, mixed vegetable with desi chana, and dal dhokli.

In addition, to make this meal more nutritious, Akshaya Patra recently started fortified rice feeding in Ahmedabad benefitting 1,15,578 school in 522 schools. Aside from providing mid-day meal in Gujarat, Akshaya Patra is also involved in providing meals at Anganwadi centres in three locations – Ahmedabad, Surat, and Vadodara nourishing and impacting 44,895 children.

Over the years, it has been observed that the mid-day meal has been instrumental in countering classroom hunger and supporting education of children.

mid day meal benefits

This impact has been acceded by teachers and headmasters too. For instance, Ismail Malik, Principal, Antti Kumar Prathamik Shala, Padra Taluk, Vadodara, Gujarat said, “The mid-day meal has brought a tremendous decline in the student drop-out rate. In the primary school, the increase in attendance is nearly as high as 60% to 70%. The numerous awards that now decorate the school office are a testimony to this.”

Currently, Akshaya Patra is providing nutritious meals to 4,07,452 children in 1,621 government schools across the state. However, the Foundation wants to extend the benefits of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme to more and more children. And, it is possible only with your support. Choose to donate to charity because your contribution will transform the lives of millions of children in a healthy and sustainable way.

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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.

5 ways an Indian NGO is empowering children

Empowering children

NGOs address a wide range of social, economic, and environmental concerns. But, every NGO has its own core area of work and influence. Similarly, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an Indian mid-day meal NGO focussing on providing nutritious school lunch to government school children to counter classroom hunger and promote education. The NGO began its service way back in 2000 by serving meals to only 1,500 children in five schools of Bangalore. Over the 17 years of service, this NGO in Bangalore has progressed to become a nationwide movement to promote education and health among children through the Mid-Day Meal Programme.

By implementing the Mid-Day Meal Programme in schools, Akshaya Patra wants to provide nutritious food to children, encourage uninterrupted schooling, improve health, and provide an avenue to explore aspirations so that children grow up to be confident and reliable citizens of the nation. In simple terms, Akshaya Patra is empowering children to be the future leaders of the nation.

Mid-day meal benefits

Broadly speaking, the Mid- Day Meal Programme has had a significant impact on the education sector of the country. Studies report that there has been an increase in enrolment and attendance rate, improved health has been observed among children, and there is a decrease in the drop-out rate. This programme has proved itself to be a supporting pillar in bringing and retaining children at school. Working in a Public-Private Partnership model, Akshaya Patra is extending the mid-day meal benefits to children right at the grass root level. Currently, it is providing mid-day meals to more than 1.6 million children on every school day across 34 locations in 12 states.

Observing the impact of the school meal programme, Akshaya Patra aims to feed 5 million children by 2020. Indeed a humongous task, but is achievable with a concerted effort from all of us. Hence, Akshaya Patra has provided an online platform to contribute to the cause. You can opt to donate online, start a campaign, sponsor a school or kitchen equipment, or just spread the word about Akshaya Patra’s cause. Your involvement will enable this NGO to empower more children across the country. So, be a part of nation-building by getting involved with Akshaya Patra.

A full-stomach meal improves a child’s efficiency

Malnutrition is prevalent among large sections of our population across the country. It disproportionately affects children from all sections of the society, mostly from disadvantaged backgrounds. The NGOs like Akshaya Patra Foundation play a major role in ensuring that the prevalence of malnourishment among children is minimised.Healthy childrenChildren who are able to have a square meal, are also more productive and thus, more efficient. The World Health Organization, says, “Adequate nutrition can raise your productivity levels by 20 per cent on average.” That should be enough of data to encourage the government and NGOs to work towards this goal.

In fact, one can get tax exemption if you contribute towards this cause of ensuring adequate nutrition for children. NGOs have a major role to play towards meeting this goal. So, why not make charity donations to an NGO in India like Akshaya Patra. Thus, your charity donations would reach the right people.

This is where Mid-day meal benefits are obvious. Most of the children benefiting from Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meal scheme are those from not from better-off backgrounds.  Many of them, who otherwise would have dropped out of school, stay on because they are able to focus on their studies as the nutritious food they get ensures that they stayed focused.

The Charity Donations the organisation receives from you could help feed children who are the future generations. Regular meal will help them stay focused on studies. As a result of the contributions, the school children will be able to stay on in school. Also, they will understand the importance of education and ensure that their children are well-fed and educated.

Thus, it’s time to tackle the probably hardest and most ongoing challenge we all face: nutrition. Let’s join hands to ensure that every child in the country is well-fed and educated. Donate to feed children, today.

How is this NGO in Uttar Pradesh reducing school dropout rate

Akshaya Patra, an NGO in Uttar Pradesh, has been serving mid-day meals to children from its two kitchens in Lucknow and Vrindavan. The experience has been such that the schools which are benefiting from the initiative are experiencing better attendance than before. Apart from Uttar Pradesh, similar results have been observed in other states where the NGO runs its Mid-day Meal Programme.

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This NGO in Uttar Pradesh is currently serving meals to 2,11,680 children alone. This charity for children is now changing the way parents there look at education.

One of the most thickly populated states in India, Uttar Pradesh, houses several children who drop out of schools, either due to parental pressure or because of the need to earn their own meals. The only way to retain these children in school is by serving mid-day meals on a daily basis. The charity for children – Akshaya Patra – aims at opening 11 new kitchens in the state in districts of Varanasi, Ghaziabad, Agra, Allahbad, Kanpur, Etawah, Kannauj, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Rampur and Ballia. As a result, this charity would serve 1.3 million children as part of its mid-day meal programme in Uttar Pradesh.

The kitchens run by this NGO are state-of-the-art when it comes to the quality and volume of cooking happening on a daily basis. Hygiene and nutrition are the two most important criteria of cooking here apart from timely delivery of meals.

You can help this charity for children continue serving meals to children with your contributions.

Make a Gift of Wholesome Meals for Children this Ugadi!

 

A new beginning heralds new hopes and dreams, as we bid goodbye to the times that were and look to the future. The festival of Ugadi – as it is called in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and known variously as Yugadi (Karnataka), Gudi Padwa (Maharashtra), Thapna (Rajasthan), Sajibu Nongma Panba (Manipur) and Cheti Chand (in the Sindhi community), marks the New Year for communities across India on March 29, 2017. Spring is in full bloom to welcome the festival, which is celebrated with much enthusiasm, with elaborate rituals and much feasting. On this occasion, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a top NGO in India, would like to wish all its supporters a very Happy Ugadi!

Wide arrays of special dishes are prepared to celebrate Ugadi in its various forms across the country. These include the Puran Poli/Holige/Bobbattu and Ugadi Pachadi among others, which members of a household feast on after they’ve done their ritual worship. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the bounty of nature – food – was available to those who most require it? India’s children—those who carry the promise of a bright New Year and new tomorrow on their shoulders – need to have abundant food for their well-being. A well-fed child is healthy and concentrates well in class; a mid-day meal benefits his or her education and secures it.

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Akshaya Patra has been working tirelessly over the past 17 years to nourish school children in India. The role of NGOs in India is to aid social betterment and Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme is the largest such NGO-run initiative in the world, providing nutritious, wholesome mid-day meals to over 1.6 million children across 11 states in India. The auspicious occasion of Ugadi is a wonderful time to pledge your support to the cause of ‘unlimited food for education’, so that India’s school children do not know classroom hunger and are empowered to pursue their future dreams. All it takes to feed one child for a whole year is a sum of Rs 950. Donate to charity to make the New Year a happy one for these children!

This Holi, Colour a Child’s Life | Donate for a cause

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Celebrated across India with great energy and abundant love, the festival of colours now knocks at your door for a new meaning. Holi 2017 is here and the celebration in India is as exciting! While we create a vibrant atmosphere with colours on this day, let us take a moment to understand how we can make the festival more meaningful.

But before that, why do we celebrate Holi?

A festival for all, Holi marks the arrival of spring with the sky donning a full moon. On this day, farmers come together to offer prayers for a good harvest. The history of Holi from is quite interesting and has great significance; a time when Hiranyakaship’s sister, Holika, protects Prahlad from two obstructions – fire and his father’s pride; depicting a fight of good over evil.

Holi gets its name from this historic event and is in reference with Holika. Even today, many follow the custom of burning Holika’s effigy (known as Holika Dahan). The importance of Holi is not just the fight but letting truth prevail. This Holi, you can pledge to give this day a new meaning – you can help us fight hunger among children.

Being an NGO in India, Akshaya Patra plays the role of children’s guardian. The Foundation provides nutritious mid-day meals to school children and by this, it also encourages children to attend school. Considered as one of the top NGOs in the country, Akshaya Patra reaches out to over 1.6 million school children in India.

How can you make a difference? By supporting a child’s education

As we talk about fighting evil, we would like to highlight the importance of erasing hunger among children. Mid-day meal benefits every child studying in government and government-aided schools while for a few, this meal is the only full meal that they consume for the day.

India is home to millions of malnourished children. To change this condition, many schemes and initiatives have been undertaken by the government and NGOs; Food for Education is one of them. By providing children mid-day meals that are freshly cooked and nutritious, Akshaya Patra aims to achieve two critical UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) – Zero Hunger and Quality Education.

Sponsor a child for year

This Holi, you could take responsibility of a child by donating Rs 950. By contributing this amount, you choose to sponsor the child’s meals for an entire year. Also, the good news is your donation, under section 80G of Income Tax Act, can get you 100% tax exemption benefit. All you have to do is choose to sponsor a child.

Mid-Day Meal Components that define Child Nutrition

We know about nutrition and we ensure it as well. We take utmost care of our kids and provide them all the amenities. But what about those children who belong to marginalised sections who have to go to bed hungry at times, who have never had more than a quarter of chapati in their meals, whose parents are dependent on daily wages which cannot fulfil daily needs – who would take care of them?

Shouldn’t we?

Along with love, acceptance, appreciation, encouragement, and guidance; good living conditions including healthy meals are also essential for the cognitive development of children.  A diet comprising all necessary components facilitates their all-round development. A balanced intake of proteins, carbohydrates, fats etc., is mandatory for their bodies to stay healthy and minds to function well. All parents ensure this for their kids and so must we for every child who does not get a fair chance.

But it is shocking to know that India, which is developing otherwise, is a home to millions of children who are underweight. Their parents often cannot afford a healthy living. In such scenarios, should we do something to empower the children? Yes, without a second thought.

nutritious-food

Akshaya Patra, one of the top NGOs in India, has come forward to address this issue by feeding the children. We should also educate people about the importance of a healthy diet and ways to ensure it. So what are the necessary components that define child nutrition?

Calories and Proteins

According to dietary norms stated by Central Mid-Day Meal Scheme, 450 Calories and 700 Calories as well as 12 grams and 20 grams of proteins are required for Primary and Upper Primary groups respectively. The quality of meals protects children from a sluggish metabolism, low energy levels, low immunity, underweight etc. Mid-Day Meal benefits more than 1.6 million children every day!

Fats and Carbohydrates

Fats are a source of energy for the body. Besides keeping children high on energy for a long time, they also strengthen their immune system, help in absorption of vitamins, production of hormones and insulation of body. Carbohydrates also act as energy suppliers. They help in regulation of blood glucose, the breakdown of fatty acids and act as a dietary fiber. Potatoes, beans, milk, grains are rich in carbohydrates. Both these components are an essential part of child’s nutrition because they help in their vital growth and keep them energetic. Akshaya Patra ensures that the meals provided by them have the required quantity of fats and carbohydrates so as to ensure proper nutrition, energy supply, and growth of the children.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are the micronutrients that are required by our body to carry out several metabolic functions. Vitamin A helps maintain soft tissues, mucous membranes, healthy skin and good eyesight. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that promotes healthy gums and teeth. It helps in the absorption of iron and promotes wound healing. There are many other vitamins like Vitamin E, K, B6, B12 that are important for the body. Like vitamins, minerals also help the body to grow, develop, and stay healthy. Minerals are used for several functions- from building strong bones to transmitting nerve impulses. Some minerals are also used in the production of hormones and maintaining a normal heartbeat.

Akshaya Patra ensures that their meals are of good quality, hygienic, and include all these components. It has a mission of serving healthy meals to 5 million kids by 2020. You can make a donation in honour of someone to help children get the best diets for their growth. Let’s donate today!

Can You Feed a Child Today?

Even after gaining grounds on development in many sectors, India has been taking its own sweet time to combat against two major challenges of the present time – providing education and food to the underprivileged. According to 2016 Global Nutrition Report, 667 million children (in 129 countries) under the age of five have severe nutrition deficiencies which have resulted in: stunting, disproportion of height and weight, and overweight. Many organisations have been responsive to this but reaching the required level of pace is still a long way to go. This is where we need to realize our responsibilities towards society, donate generously to a cause, feed the children and do our bit in defeating all inhibitions to growth not as a gesture of tokenism but as a profound yearning to change the world.

Here’s how you can make a difference for children and help them to pursue their dreams by making a gift of an inexhaustible vessel of food and hope:

Why should you support Akshaya Patra?

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Akshaya Patra started off with 1,500 children a day which has now drastically grown to serve over 1.6 million children across 11 states of India. Seeing the splendid mid-day meal benefits, appreciations from many dignitaries including Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton, one need not have a second thought on contributing. The mission of this charitable trust is to serve 5 million children by 2020 which is achievable only if more of us care deeply about the cause and help in fundraising. Needless to mention, it is an overwhelming opportunity for us to contribute.

What can you do?

Akshaya Patra lets and urges you to help those in dire need of your sponsorship. And, you’ll be surprised to know that the amount to sponsor a child for a year almost equals a bill for two at a restaurant and so often, most of us do it fortnightly. Why not let the unfed taste some nutritious food as well? There is no better expenditure of money than donating some of it to a charitable trust who feeds the hungry. There’s so much to do and so fewer doers. Change the notion and make a donation in honour of someone!

How about the end-beneficiaries?

Mid-day meal is a strategic intervention to not only benefit children’s stomach but also to lay the foundation of a brighter India. It is a great satisfaction to hear beneficiaries like Aditya and Zinkal say that they are passionate about joining Indian army and serving the nation. Given the wings to fly, these ambitious kids would paint the sky in glory as Malala Yousafzai says, “One child, one book, and one pen can change the world.”

Do you know what the biggest threat to a needy is? It is a belief that somebody else, if not me, might help him. Embrace the humanitarian core and show that you care deeply about children who are underserved. Support us to feed the children!

10 Ingredients that make Mid-Day Meal a Healthy Eat!

The 21st century has made us more food conscious than ever. We take interest in understanding the importance of healthy food, nutrition intake, and calories and so on. To simplify the food theories, we have even created food pyramids and graphs based on age groups. Today, we all know what kind of food is acceptable for children and what isn’t.

As an NGO, Akshaya Patra aims to feed the children the right amount of mid-day meals with sufficient nutritional values. We believe mid-day meal benefits every child. Before we share our little secret on keeping children healthy, here’s a bit of history on Nutrition. The word ‘Nutrition’ means ‘nourishment’ and first originated in Latin during early 15th century. Centuries later, when hunger was identified as an issue, a prefix Mal which means ‘bad’ was used to describe poor nutritional levels – malnutrition.

For Akshaya Patra, it is important that children receive the right amount of nutrients in their food. Here’s a list of ingredients used in mid-day meals along with their nutrition value:

nutritional-value-of-mdm

 

To break the cycle of hunger among children, a country must do a lot – introduce nutritional school lunch programmes, ensure initiatives are reaching the target group, prioritise education, stabilise low-income families with subsidies and health care benefits, and many more. Akshaya Patra’s menu of mid-day meals is such that it covers the basics of nutrition intake and calories, making it one of the best diets for children!

Besides clothing and shelter, food is one of the basic needs for humans. We have reached a point in time where most of us are able to afford these basic needs however, lack of food among children continues to be a persistent issue. Let’s act to ensure children receive the two most important elements that can help them grow – food and education. Sponsor a child by donating Rs 950 and be assured that he or she will receive wholesome mid-day meals for an entire academic year!