Quality food produced through Six-sigma methodology at Akshaya Patra

What makes Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme (MDMP) world’s largest serving wholesome lunch? Is it the numbers? Over 1.6 million children. Or is it the demographic? 13,636 schools across 12 states in India. What truly makes MDMP, run by a non-profit organisation, large is that the meals served have become actual incentives for children in India to attend schools and achieve academic success. Children of all these government institutions don’t skip schools because of scrumptious lunch they get to relish.

600x400-for-blog

This large-scale impact, created with the help of charity donations, was made possible by streamlining a six-sigma methodology that goes into the cooking and serving of these meals every single day. The funds raised, for Mid-Day Meal Programme, help us fill over 1.6 million stomachs every day.

MDMP is like a high-scale project of a company 

Akshaya Patra functions like a private company by ensuring quality of production and delivery. The quality inspection, storage and preservation of raw materials follow the standards set by Food Safety Standards Act 2006 (FSSA); the rice is supplied by the Food Corporation of India (FCI); all the kitchens follow ‘First In, First Out’ and ‘First Expiry, First Out’ methods while using the raw materials for cooking. The vessels used for cooking are made of 304 grade stainless steel. Well-trained cooks and supervisors ensure quality control while cooking for these kitchens run by the top NGO that’s on a mission to feed the children.

Hope stories testify quality 

Children usually have the habit of skipping lunch, so engrossed they are in their games and sports. But beneficiaries of MDMP enthusiastically have their lunch every day and the prospect of a nutritious meal encourages them to come to school regularly. Several hope stories we came across over the years testify how MDMP has influenced the lives of the children positively.

Initiatives that draw accountability  

Akshaya Patra keeps a strict policy of transparency to maintain complete accountability of the quality of meals being served. The non-profit organisation often engages in several initiatives to involve the society so people are encouraged towards charity fundraising or donations for the cause of food and education. These events publicly involve the society and hold the non-profit organisation accountable for quality. 

Innovative kitchens that set benchmarks

When 100,000 meals are cooked in a single state-of-the-art centralised kitchen, repeated experiments can make it possible. So Akshaya Patra partnered with Innovation Alchemy for scaling up its kitchens without compromising on the quality. As a result, these centralised kitchens have become a subject of study and research. They have been featured on National Geographic channel’s India’s Mega Kitchens. You can read about them in the book God’s Own Kitchen.

Donors trust MDMP

 It’s the transparency of the MDMP scheme that makes prestigious companies and trusted brands often lend a helping hand in terms of charity donations and fundraising. In April 2017, SBI foundation donated a generous amount to the non-profit organisation and would be invested towards 1250 hot insulated vessels to keep food hot for 8-10 hours. The insulated hot boxes would be distributed amongst Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Guwahati and Nathdwara kitchens. Apart from organisations, Akshaya Patra allows individuals to contribute smaller amounts in sponsoring a child or in simply donating for the overall cause. Due to the generous charity donations and fundraising, Akshaya Patra is able to comply with quality and hygiene standards set every day in the Mid-Day Meal Programme.

 

Advertisements

We need your support for a new academic year!

If there’s one thing that parents dread, it’s convincing their children to get ready for a new academic year, especially after a good summer vacation. A new year can be fascinating but children always tend to be reluctant in giving up the carefree summer routine. On the other hand, there are many children who are eagerly waiting for school to begin because their lunch is taken care of.

Children in Assam

Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme is currently available in 11 states including Assam, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh. But before the schools re-open, the Foundation is looking forward to donors’ charity support which will ultimately help millions of children.

What is Akshaya Patra’s role as an NGO?

 With a mission to end classroom hunger, Akshaya Patra began its initiative called the Mid-Day Meal Programme. If the students are provided an incentive to attend school, they get encouraged to complete their education. Its meals constitute a balanced diet that’s delicious and motivates the kids to attend the classes every day. This venture is spread across 11 states today. Akshaya Patra also feeds the hungry in Uttar Pradesh where the percentage of undernourished kids is high.

How can you support us?

 Because undernourishment and illiteracy are social problems, their eradication plans would inevitably involve the contribution of society. There are a number of ways by which we can help the efforts to ensure maximum attendance of kids in school. Donors have the option of sponsoring a school for a year, fundraising or simply donating some amount to charity and help in feeding the children.

As the schools reopen in a few months, remember that there are a whole lot of children who are in need of nutritious food. This is possible with your support towards Food for Education initiative by Akshaya Patra – an effort to aid 13,577 government schools in India.

To encourage children to attend school, Akshaya Patra urges people to donate to charity, and most importantly, for the betterment of the future.

Akshaya Patra – Feeding Millions of Children Every Day

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an NGO in India feeding over 1.6 million school children every day. The organisation takes pride in having encouraged millions of children, through mid-day meals, to enroll in schools and be a part of education system. What makes this charitable trust the world’s largest NGO-run feeding programme is noteworthy; the organisation began its humble service in the year 2000 which is now impacting millions of children. With support from government, corporates, donors and many volunteers who have contributed to the cause, the organisation has grown in leaps and bounds.

Recently, the Foundation published its NGO Annual Report for the financial year 2015-16, which gives a 360 degree understanding on the Foundation’s dedicated efforts towards India’s children. The report also exposes behind-the-scenes of Mid-Day Meal Programme; from supervisors to drives who are a part of this ever-inspiring compassionate programme.

As we march ahead into a new year, our motto to feed children nutritious food continues to be a priority. You can help us achieve our target of feeding 5 million children by 2020! Here’s how you can support Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme:

Sponsor a child for year

help-us-feed-more-children

Out of millions of children who we reach out to, you could take responsibility of one 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, can get you 100% income tax exemption benefit. All you have to do is choose to sponsor a child.

Fundraise for Akshaya Patra

By creating one campaign, you can help us receive tremendous support from across the globe. In just a few simple steps, you can create a fundraising campaign on our website and share the campaign with your friends and family.

Unlock Smiles of Children

unlock-smiles

This is an initiative by Akshaya Patra to feed more children across India. Unlock Smiles gives you an opportunity to feed a child for an entire year – visit our unlock smiles page, click on a smiley and donate. Once you have unlocked a smiley, your name will appear on the smiley.

You can join Akshaya Patra in ending classroom hunger for millions of children who are victims of under nutrition. We believe no child must be deprived of education due to hunger. Today, the organisation reaches out to 1.6 million children on every school day. But you can help us reach 5 million children by 2020. Help us end classroom hunger.

16 Years Ago, Akshaya Patra Began a Journey of Hope

celebrating-16-years-of-akshaya-patra

It’s been 16 years and 16 lakh children are being benefitted through Food for Education initiative. On this yet another milestone, we would like to say Thank You!

The Mid-Day Meal Programme – Unlimited Food for Education, began in the year 2000 serving 1,500 children in Bengaluru. Today, over 1.6 million children across the length and breadth of India are supported by this initiative. Akshaya Patra’s journey was inspired by Srila Prabhupada’s compassionate vision that ‘No child should be deprived of education because of hunger.’

For Akshaya Patra, innovation has always been one of the driving forces. With advanced technology implemented kitchens, we are able to feed a large number of children. For instance, roti making machine has the capacity to churn out 200,000 rotis from 6000 kg of wheat flour. With help from Central and State Governments, the organisation has been able to expand its service in many states across 11 states in India. The organisation has also achieved many milestones and won prestigious awards that recognise its contribution in the development sector; the recent one was Nikkei Asia Prize for significant achievements in ‘Economic and Business Innovation’ category. Apart from feeding programme to feed the hungry, the organisation continues to conduct activities in schools such as health check-up camps, distribution of hygiene kits, school shoes and bags, and other initiatives that encourage a child to continue education.

mile-stone

Akshaya Patra’s 16 years of relentless efforts was founded with determination and compassion. We believe this journey will continue to impact many more children in the coming years. This year, as we also complete the serving of 2 Billion Meals, the Foundation acknowledges the outpouring support it has received over the last few years.

Let us pledge to support children’s education and health for a heal thier future!

Are Mid-Day Meals Playing a Role in a Student’s Academics?

In the last five decades, literacy has evolved and shaped India in many facets – be it industrialisation, per capita or even the standard of living, literacy takes the credit. When you examine the literacy graph of India and compare numbers, the gradual developments bring a smile – thanks to the government benefits and donations for education in India. While there are many factors that play a role in achieving 100% literacy rate, a children’s NGO, Akshaya Patra, is focusing on enabling a student’s academic performance through food for education initiative – the Mid-Day Meal Programme.

mid-day-meal-is-a-promise

Implemented in 2000, Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme (food for education initiative) is now the world’s largest NGO-run feeding initiative based out of Bengaluru in Karnataka. Every day, over 1.6 million children are benefitted through this programme which prepares and delivers fresh-nutritious food to 13,260 schools at lunch time.

Here’s a quick look at two main factors that affect a student’s academic performance:

food-for-education

Learning facilities and environment: It’s rather difficult to expect a child to learn in a classroom without sufficient study materials (text books, notepads, pen, and etcetera) and grasp lessons. It’s more problematic if the school is set up in a noisy surrounding and the exchange between teacher and students is put to a stop. While the government is making continuous efforts to provide provisions to children and build better infrastructure, many NGOs, with the help of education donations, have sprung to lend help to the government in ensuring children excel in their academics.

koti-with-grandmother-uncle

Socio-economic status: In many scholarly articles and research studies, it has been proved over and again that the socio-economic status of a family is an integral criterion for student’s performance – this includes the family members’ occupation and revenue which defines the economic condition. Akshaya Patra enables many families by providing a resource to their children – mid-day meals – which in turn lessens the strain of feeding a stomach in the house. To ensure the child does not have to bear the responsibilities of earning, the Foundation through its programme encourages every child to attend school and also be assured to eat healthy meals.

Why are Mid-Day Meals a boon to children?

It is a resource that stabilises education.  But along with it come nutrition, good health and well-being, academic achievement and quality performance.  Akshaya Patra, with its dynamic initiative to provide food for education, has reached the milestone of serving more than 2 billion meals in the last 16 years. This milestone is a greater encouragement for the Foundation to continue its mission.

Yes, mid-day meals are a boon to children and for the nation. Here’s why:

– More children enrol in schools
– Promotes socialisation among children
– Reduces classroom hunger
– Enhances a student’s performance (academic, sports and cultural)

A quick thought for the mind: Post-independence, India faced many challenges in the field of Growth and Development. However, through numerous benefit schemes and opportunities, we as nation, are witnessing change in every field. Akshaya Patra’s initiative too intends change.

We believe every child deserves a fair chance and there is nothing more important than imparting education. Donate for education in India by joining Akshaya Patra in making every school a model of literacy development.

Pledge to Support a Girl Child This Dussehra

We often feel fortunate about living in the 21st century. Life has become as simple as it could ever be and the least one has to do is install an app to get his work done in a fraction of seconds. But, sadly in many parts of the world, nothing has been improved for girls yet. A UN report stated that worldwide, around 700-million girls did not have a right to decide when to marry and they are married as children. Early marriage leads to early pregnancy and hence weak health among girls. Often the reason for such a situation is lack of awareness and education.

set-a-goal-to

Why should you support a Girl Child?

Perspectives are changing with each passing year. From families’ abandoning the idea of girl child to now accepting the gender and providing equal importance, there has been a positive change. There are many charitable organisations that undertake initiatives to kindle awareness and gender equality by setting out programmes of employment, empowerment and education for girls. Also, there are many girls who have been benefitted by educational schemes and programmes.

Dussera is round the corner in India, and it is a symbol of the victory of truth, honesty and good against lies, deceit and evil. This year, it coincides with the International Day of the Girl Child on October 11, 2016. The purpose of this day is to run the mission of gender equality by 2030 by developing awareness of the importance of nurturing a girl child.

How can you make a difference this Dussehra?

Education for Girl: In order to create a literate, healthy and strong society, it is as important to educate a girl as it is for a boy. Education becomes a strong foundation for girls to improve their status in the society, stay aware about their lives, decide for their life and support the income generation in families. Educating a girl creates self-awareness and empowers other women and the society as well. Spreading awareness and promoting education is a way through which you can be a part of the celebration of International day of The Girl as well as Dussehra. You may simply sponsor a school for a year so more and more girls are encouraged to attend school.

Healthy and Nutritious Food: Girls and women in some families are deprived of healthy and sufficient meal. It’s not because they do not have access to food but due to lack of awareness since women are not the bread-earners in many households. This practice adversely affects girls’ as well as women’s health. The status can be improved, by providing food to girl children in schools and anganwadi centers or by volunteering.

Akshaya Patra is a philanthropic organisation that runs Mid-Day Meal Programme, in active collaboration with the government, for children in India who are deprived of education and food. The trust has its branches in 10 states in the country from where it caters to the needs of nutritious meals.  You have the option of contributing or donating a small fraction of the income in feeding a child throughout his/her education. This Dussera, let’s support a girl child by taking the responsibility of her one-time meal.

this-dussehra

This way you also get to donate for education in India as many children are deprived of education and nourishment. The trust, with the support of social enthusiasts and philanthropists, becomes successful in delivering food to millions of children and yet there are millions left who don’t go to school but strive hard for meals. You can reach them with meals. You may simply choose to donate online.

History of Mid-Day Meals in India

Madras Corporation under the British Empire initiated the Mid-Day meal Programme in 1925. Later, after independence, Tamil Nadu was the first state to run the programme in 1963, by supplying free lunches in government schools, government-aided schools and anganwadi centers. According to the legacy of mid-day meal in India, British administration formed the foundation for supplying food across the government schools for primary and upper-primary children. Subsequently, Government of India started the school meal programme to improve nutritional status of children and stop child labour. Akshaya Patra today actively works with the Indian government in supplying meals at a larger scale and is on a mission to eradicate undernourishment nationwide.

This year, Dussera brings us an opportunity of true celebration of the festival by truly fighting against the evil of illiteracy and undernourishment, and contributing towards creating a healthier, safer society for girls. This year let’s begin the celebration with the joy of giving something to society, contributing in its welfare and supporting a girl child.

Sources: unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/girl-child

un.org/en/events/girlchild/

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midday_Meal_Scheme#History

10 Ways to Donate to Akshaya Patra

On a quiet Sunday noon, Amit was glancing through the latest news on his phone. A few articles later, he came across a rather distressing article about children in India. It said, ‘almost half of India’s children are chronically malnourished and hunger is the main cause for illness among children.’ This led Amit to make a resolution — to donate to schools to ensure students are served hot and nutritious meals on every school day.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a Bengaluru-based NGO, gives you the chance to sponsor mid-day meals of children for an entire academic year. As a choice, you can also sponsor kitchen equipment or donate a vehicle to help strengthen the operations. Because meals are prepared for over 1.5 million children across India every day, the organisation ensures that the kitchen operations are efficient and food is delivered to schools on time.

infographic- CHOOSE HOW YOU WANT TO GIVE2

Here’s a quick guide to all of Akshaya Patra’s donation options!

Donate online

Your contribution of Rs 750 can help in feeding nutritious mid-day meals to a child for an entire academic year. You can donate online by choosing the number of children you would like to sponsor for a year.

Donate a vehicle

With the help of Akshaya Patra’s blue bus, beneficiary schools receive their mid-day meals on time. You can donate a vehicle to the organisation and have you name or company logo displayed on the vehicle.

Sponsor kitchen equipment

Every morning, Akshaya Patra’s kitchens cook more than 1 lakh meals. While we focus on feeding more children, you can help us increase productivity by sponsoring a kitchen equipment.

Sponsor a school for a year

The organisation caters to over 10,948 government schools in India. You can now sponsor a government school’s mid-day meals for a year and help the students enjoy fresh and nutritious meals.

Donate in honour of someone 

The organisation gives you the opportunity to make a thoughtful contribution—donating in honour of someone you admire. Through this, not only will you honour an individual, but also support the cause.

Donate in memory of someone 

To cherish memories and to express love and respect, you can donate in memory of someone you love. Your donation to help sustain the mid-day meal programme will be valuable and appreciated for its thoughtfulness.

Donate for a special occasion 

How do you wish to celebrate your birthday? Share your joy with Akshaya Patra beneficiaries by donating on your special day. Be it anniversary or birthday, you can make it more special by supporting a cause.

Donate through cheque/DD 

You can write a Cheque or Demand Draft in the name of The Akshaya Patra Foundation. Since this is an offline donation, we can arrange a pick-up service or you send the cheque through post.

Make a donation via wire transfer 

You can donate to Akshaya Patra through wire transfer. Once you submit your information on the website, one of Akshaya Patra’s representatives will get in touch with you to further the process.

Set ECS donation

You can transfer funds on a periodical basis by setting up an Electronic Clearance Service to make ECS donation. This is an easy and hassle-free mode of transferring funds.

For the organisation to continue operating on a large scale, you can make a contribution of your choice and help the Foundation achieve its mission of feeding 5 million children by 2020. With support from the Government and many philanthropists, The Foundation continues its school lunch operations across the country, running the world’s largest NGO-driven mid-day meal programme.

How will you benefit?

Donations to Akshaya Patra are eligible for 100% deduction under Section 35 AC / 80 GGA of the Indian Income Tax Act.  When you make a donation, you will be given a receipt and a 100% Tax Exemption Certificate along with a ‘thank you’ letter via courier or post. The certificate and receipt which will reach you within 10 days of making the donation and can be used to avail 100% tax exemption for the respective financial year.

Giving – A Hallmark of the Extraordinary

In these times of fast cars and faster jobs, a sense of forlornly meandering through a mindless existence often sets in. Leisure, pleasure and privilege often find themselves helpless against this undercurrent. One thing, done in however small a quantity, that always warms the spirit and lifts it, is the act of giving. Those who feed the hungry or donate to charity, offering financial aid or time and resources, will vouch for the exhilaration they feel upon making worthy contributions. Giving undoubtedly makes one an extraordinary individual – in their own eyes as well as in the eyes of others.

akshaya patra_dreams of children

One might scoff at the surety with which the statement has been articulated, but there are numerous reasons why it stands true. Firstly, one’s self-image is of paramount importance. Ironic though it is, giving enhances one’s self-worth because the act puts others before oneself. In a world that believes that individuals are wired to be selfish, doing something truly selfless makes one remarkable indeed. Secondly, with the suffering, wealth disparity and wars that are a common fixture, the smallest measure, be it charity fundraising or sponsoring the education of an underprivileged child, matters in making the world a kinder place.

Charity is also a mutually beneficial relationship for all those involved in the exchange. It helps one connect with individuals who are in a vastly different place in life as compared to themselves. This gives one the power that is rare indeed – one to empathise with one’s fellow beings, rather than just sympathise with them. Empathy – the ability to truly understand the other person by putting oneself in his/her shoes – is a hallmark of a mind that has grown and evolved. It allows one to be humane, instead of just human.

In the age of materialism, giving also helps one manage its stresses and uncertainties by nudging one towards the spiritual. Spiritual wellbeing is as important as material success. Giving, which helps one look beyond oneself to the oneness of the universe, is a spiritual activity that helps individuals love and be at peace with themselves. The greatest minds in the world have all extolled the benefits of charity, and now, scientific research backs these ideas, which go back thousands of years. Giving, in its essence, is a way towards self-realisation.

akshaya patra_donate now

Help nourish a schoolchild’s dream of uninterrupted education by supporting Food for Education. Donate to Akshaya Patra for mid-day meal programme now!

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!

Know the Importance of Food and Nutrition

Have it ever come into your mind why we give so much importance to food and nutrition?

The answer is simple: food gives the energy to work plus grow. Also without food nobody can survive. Nutrition is equally important as food. Our body requires micronutrients like vitamins, minerals in small quantities and macronutrients like carbohydrates, protein and fat in large quantities. These nutrients help the body in different ways and a deficiency of any of them can affect proper functioning of the body and can even lead to death.

That is why doctors always recommend a healthy, balanced diet for both adults and children.

healthy-food

When we talk about the importance of nutrition and balanced diet, another question pops up-what is a healthy food? Any food item which can help stay healthy including fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, dairy products, nuts, seafood, meat and egg is considered as healthy.  On the other hand, a balanced diet involves consuming only the right amount of food required for a healthy body weight and taking different types of foods in the right proportion. A balanced diet, thus will be high in fruits and vegetables; starch (potatoes, rice, bread, pasta); protein (meat, fish, lentils), dairy products (milk) and will be low in salt, sugar and fat.

Balanced diet has been known to protect against many chronic diseases like stroke, heart disease and diabetes in adults. Similarly, food and nutrition has a critical role in a child’s life. A balanced diet helps brain development, improves concentration, boosts self-confidence, keeps bones strong, fights obesity, improves immunity and keeps diseases away.

However, unfortunately, everyone in the world does not have the opportunity to eat healthy. About 870 million people around the globe fight hunger every day and are at higher risk of malnutrition, stunting, wasting and death.

Deficiencies of vitamin A, iron and zinc have found their places among the top ten leading causes of death in developing countries.  It is concerning to know that nearly two billion people are affected with micronutrient deficiency, mainly deficiency of vitamins and minerals.

Iron deficiency is known to cause brain damage in children and pose heart risk in adults. Similarly, a deficiency in vitamin A in children can lead to blindness and increase the risk of dying from measles, malaria or diarrhoea. An iodine deficiency during pregnancy can lead to poor mental health in babies, stillbirth, abortion, and mental retardation in adults.  Also a zinc deficiency in children can affect proper growth, immunity and cause death.

Food for education

All these years, some international organisations like UN, WFP, UNICEF have been trying to end this problem.  In India, we, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, have been fighting hunger and malnutrition since 2000 by delivering nutritious mid-day meals to government school children. Our mid-day meals contain all the nutrients required for children’s healthy growth.

Over 1.4 million children have benefitted out of our Mid-Day Meal Programme. However, millions of children still require our help. So create awareness about the importance of nutrition with us and help us provide food and nutrition to more children across India.