Akshaya Patra Beneficiary – An Engineer in the Making!

Dreaming is one thing and the quest to achieve it despite all odds is altogether a different story. As children, we must have had our special dreams of pursuing a particular profession. But, over time many of us negotiated with our dreams either due to lack of resources, unavoidable circumstances, or maybe we didn’t hold on to our dreams as much as we should have. However, that’s not how Manikanta possesses his dream! And, that’s not how The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a mid-day meal NGO in Bangalore perceives each dream!

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Manikanta is a Standard VIII student at GHPS School, Doddabettahalli, Karnataka. He aspires to be an engineer and does not let any challenges and hurdles come in the way of his aspiration. Manikanta hails from an economically challenged background. He is well aware of his family’s situation and the struggle his parents go through every day to support the family of six. Manikanta’s parents work as labourers and their earning isn’t sufficient to support his dream. Yet, this has not deterred this young boy’s zeal and determination to become an engineer.

An Akshaya Patra beneficiary, Manikanta says, “I love the pulav (a dish made of rice and vegetables) served at school. I love Akshaya Patra’s meals as it is hot and tasty.” He is one of the millions of children getting benefitted by the Foundation’s mid-day meal programme in schools. The programme ensures nutritious school lunch for over 4 million children in Karnataka and over 7 million children across India, on each school day.

The mid-day meal is a source of nutrition for children. It is a significant factor that brings children to school every day, provides them with the required nutrition, and allows them to get closer to their dreams. So that Akshaya Patra can continue providing wholesome meals to Manikanta and many children like him, it requires your support.

Change occurs only when you act! So, step up and actively contribute your time and resources towards this NGO in Bangalore. Your involvement will open avenues for millions of young children to achieve their aspirations and dreams.

Read Manikanta’s full story at Meet Manikanta: Our Would-be Engineer!

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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.

The Different Techniques to Ensure Children Enjoy School

Children change their minds more quickly than grown-ups. One moment, they have an urge to play, another moment, they want to eat something specific. What’s the key to keep them motivated for school without repelling them from certain subjects? At Akshaya Patra, an NGO in India, we have first-hand experience of coping with this during the Mid-day Meal Programme run in schools in collaboration with the government.  Here’s what we have tried and tested over the years. We are happy to share this little piece of wisdom with parents who often struggle to send their kids to school.

Fun enforcement or no enforcement

Make sure that you learn to bite your tongue when children refrain from going to school. While it’s good to hear their reasons, you must also be able to tell when a child is only playing you. Count the things your child loves about school. It could be friends or a games period or a drawing class. If you really know what your kid is interested in, you will know what to say when sending them off to school. For instance, reward your children when they agree to go to school without tantrums. At Akshaya Patra, we encourage children to come to school so they have nutritious meals. Our sponsors who often donate for education in India find it fascinating how our volunteers and staff keep the children always excited for mid-day meals in schools.

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Appreciation

Children have a forgiving heart and so they won’t hold a grudge that you sent them to school without their will. Most likely, they will not even remember it. So make sure you develop a habit of praising your child for any big or small achievement in class. Always be a proud parent and get your kids interested in extra-curricular activities.

Plan sumptuous lunch

We have seen mothers who would cook sumptuous and nutritious lunch as a motivating factor for the children to eat during school. Akshaya Patra’s Mid-day Meal Programme in schools ensures that the lunch served is full of vegetables, proteins, dairy, grains, oils and nutrients. Just the whole excitement of opening the lunch box during school often gets children excited about school.

Assure help in homework

Often children find school dreary and a burden due to the homework. They often feel overwhelmed and scared. Always be the parent who makes homework a team activity. Ensure you are always around to guide, instruct and help the child as he or she sits down for homework. That would assure the child of an ever-present help and would motivate them to look forward to school.

Akshaya Patra is an NGO in India that has been running Mid-Day Meals Programme in schools since 2000. One of our biggest lessons during this programme over the years has been that children need motivation at every step in their lives. As for the Mid-Day Meal Programme, the organisation is working towards building a sustainable network of kitchens to reach five million children by 2020. If you are someone who is considering donating for education in India, you are welcome to join our mission.

5 Reasons You Should Donate to Akshaya Patra

Donating to charity today has become more hassle-free than before. You can opt to donate online and avail the benefits of tax deductible donations. A little effort can make a huge difference in the life of a child. At Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meal programme in schools, each drop counts.

If the money we donate helps one child or can ease the pain of one parent, those funds are well spent. American restaurateur Late Carl Karcher’s contemporary quote on donating to charity stands relevant today. India struggles to remove hunger while battling with illiteracy. So every contribution counts. A tiny gesture of donation may feed a child during a mid-day meal programme in a remote school or a few hours of volunteering may brighten up someone’s day.

Akshaya Patra Foundation is able to make a huge difference in the lives of 1.5 million children simply because people like you choose to contribute.

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Here’s why you should donate:

  1. You are bringing food and literacy

By donating to Akshaya Patra, you make a two-fold contribution. Akshaya Patra strives to address issues of hunger and illiteracy. Your contribution will incentivize food, bringing many children to school. You become part of our ambition of feeding 5 million children by 2020.

  1. You know where your money is going

When you choose Akshaya Patra, you become part of a completely transparent system of donation. We comply by International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and Transparency Indian Accounting Standards issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and publish our annual report with financial audits. On an average, 84% of the total cost is used towards meeting the programme cost and 10% towards the programme management cost. 6% of the total cost is steered towards meeting fundraising and communication costs. You can read more on how Akshaya Patra spends your money here.

  1. Your contribution is futuristic

You may rest assured that your charity is going to a project that’s ongoing and intends to run until the day no child goes hungry. Our programme is technology-intensive using centralized and decentralized models that can be efficiently scaled and replicated. Akshaya Patra has kitchens in 24 locations spread across 10 states in India and growing. You are investing in a more promising future of the children.

  1. Tax deductions and CSR

All donations with Akshaya Patra are tax deductible donations so you can avail tax exemptions as per the government norms. In addition, many CSR opportunities such as cause-marketing initiatives, strategy philanthropy through funds and in-kind contributions or events and sponsorship are available for your company. Read more on CSR opportunities with Akshaya Patra here.

  1. You get to donate hassle-free

You have the option of online donations through our website or a quick donation on our mobile application. With Akshaya Patra, you get the benefit of 100% tax deductible donations in a hassle-free process where donating for a big cause is as simple as the click of a button. With as low as Rs 750, you can provide an entire academic year’s meal to a child.

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Your donation can become a lasting gift in the life of children by not only feeding them, but also bringing them to the lighthouse of education. Donate to charity today!

How Online Fundraising Campaign at Akshaya Patra Works

Fundraising is of immense importance for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as these organisations, despite the fact that they too contribute heavily towards the socioeconomic development of the country, are not at the liberty of using the tax-payer’s money … at least, not directly. Indirectly, the Government does give tax breaks or provides funds or subsidies, especially when it is also a stakeholder.

Food for Education

In order to implement the Mid-day Meal Programme in schools, for instance, the Government has got into a partnership with NGOs like The Akshaya Patra Foundation. In such cases, it shares the cost of the programme or provides land and other requisites. Even in such cases, NGOs have to develop fundraising strategies for both, sustenance and expansion.

Online Fundraising for Akshaya Patra

At Akshaya Patra, we understand that online fundraising has more to it than simply accepting donations online, hence we make a conscious attempt to reach out to as many people as possible through our campaigns using our website and different social media platforms. It also has something to do with the fact that for an NGO, a steady stream of funds is of great importance.

If you want to organise a fundraiser for us at your workplace or school, we’ll be glad to help. You just need to get in touch with us. What if someone wants to help by raising funds for the cause, but cannot due to time constraints. In such cases, a much easier option is to go for online fundraising.

In a broad sense, the concept also includes donations raised by resorting to call-to-action, wherein direct mailers, social media posts, etc., are designed with the intention to bring donor to the landing page from where he can donate. These are the options the organisation uses to raise funds. Beyond these options, there is one option that you can use to raise funds for Akshaya Patra, and that is to create an online fundraising campaign on the organisation’s website.

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You have the option of either donating to an existing campaign or you can create your own online campaign by visiting our website. When you create a customized campaign, which will have a title and the target amount of your choosing, you can share it with your friends and family via email or social network. It won’t take more than a couple of minutes from your busy schedule and you’ll become a role model for other people.

In essence, you will help Akshaya Patra reach more people and raise funds for our cause, i.e., to eliminate classroom hunger, by starting and promoting an online fundraising campaign.

As of now, we are feeding over 1.5 million children across 25 locations in the country. Our mission is to reach 5 million children by 2020 and that, we know, will be an uphill task unless we have more people on board.


Go through Gaurav Warman’s experience of online fundraising @ theakshayapatrafoundation.wordpress.com/2016/03/28/fundraising-for-an-ngo-the-akshaya-patra-experience/

Education For girls— we should stand!

All these years, we have been preaching about empowering our women and saving the girl child from the clutches of gender inequality. But in reality, have we succeeded in reaching our goal?

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It’s a reality- we need lots of improvement in several areas including education for girls and nutrition.

It is disturbing to know that still many families prefer boys over girls. Birth of a boy is considered as a blessing, while a girl child is often ignored. Many parents still hesitate to send their girl children to school and marry them off at an early age.

As per the Census in the year 2011, India has only 940 females for every 1000 males.  Female literacy rates have improved over the past 25 years. However, we still have long way to go to match the male literacy rate. Only 65.46% of our females, according to the Census in 2011, were literate compared to 80% of males.

Similarly, undernutrition affects females more than males in India. According to a UNICEF report, 36% of Indian women part of the NFHS-3 (National Health Survey) was chronically undernourished and 55 % were anaemic.  About 68 % of girl children from Bihar and Madhya Pradesh in the NFHS-3 were malnourished.

We already have several schemes to help improve lives of girl children in India, including the two programmes the Government launched in January this year: ‘Beti bachao, beti padhao’ and ‘Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY).’   Other schemes introduced for the welfare of our female population include ‘Nutrition programme for adolescent girls,’ and ‘The Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG) – Sabla.’

Like the Government, efforts by some NGOs like The Akshaya Patra Foundation have also given rays of hope in women and girl children across India.

Akshaya Patra’s nutritious mid-day meals have helped numerous girl children back to school.

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The Akshaya Patra Foundation has also given employment opportunities to rural women. The organisation’s decentralised kitchens are mainly run by Women Self-Help Groups (SHGs), mainly by mothers of children who are studying in the organisation’s beneficiary schools.  The employment at Akshaya Patra, no doubt, has given some kind of financial independence to these mothers.

It does seem days are getting better for the girl child, but our commitment to bridge the gap needs to be stronger and actions to bring changes much faster and then we can really see a nation where girls stand shoulder to shoulder with the boys very soon.