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.
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.
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.