When was mid-day meal started by Akshaya Patra?

One firm vision – ‘No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger’… just 1 kitchen to cook meals for 1,500 children… began the journey called Akshaya Patra!

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a non-profit organisation in India. In partnership with the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, and various State Governments, Akshaya Patra implements the Mid-Day Meal Scheme across the country. It was established in 2000 and is headquartered in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

Akshaya Patra serving children 2000

Akshaya Patra then…

Once the idea of providing school lunch was conceptualised, Venu Vadana Gopal Dasa conducted a detailed research to choose the schools in need of the meals. Reminiscing the past, he says, “I went to explore the surrounding areas in Bengaluru and found that the schools in the outskirts and rural areas were in maximum need of a school Mid-Day Meal Programme. I visited Government schools in areas like Peenya, Chikkabidarakalu and Makali and was moved by the plight of the kids there. We then approached these schools and served the first meals on 3 June 2000 to a total of 1,500 children in five Government schools.”

Over a period, the impact of this initiative was witnessed in the form of increased enrolment, regularity in attendance, improved health, and better concentration during class hours. The overwhelming response from the schools brought to fore the need for the Mid-Day Meal Programme, leading Akshaya Patra to expand its service to more schools.

Initial hurdles…

The initial journey for this non-profit organisation in India wasn’t a smooth sail. The main concern was lack of food packing vessels and vehicles to transport the cooked meals. Philanthropists Mr Mohandas Pai stepped in by donating the first vehicle to transport food to the schools and Mr Abhay Jain promised to get more support in the form of donors to contribute for the programme.

A welcome progress…

As Akshaya Patra was already providing food for education through its school meal programme, it was called to give testimony for verifying the efficacy of providing cooked meals to schools. Following this, the Supreme Court of India passed a mandate on 28 November 2001 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.” This was a welcome progression for Akshaya Patra and the Foundation partnered with the Central Government and various State Governments to implement the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in a public-private partnership model.

Akshaya Patra now…

A journey that began by nourishing 1,500 children in one location has today grown to becoming a movement with 17,65,597 children in 45 locations across 12 states in India. The partnership with the Government under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme and constant support from well-wishers and donors helped Akshaya Patra to expand the food for education programme during the course of 18 years. It also aided the non-profit organisation in India to initiate several child-centric programmes such as Anganwadi feeding, scholarship, talent development, along with supporting the Foundation’s disaster relief feeding service.

Akshaya Patra in future…

With the mission to nourish 50 lakh children in India by 2025, Akshaya Patra is moving forward strategically and sustainably. The Foundation is certain that with concerted effort from the Government, the policy-makers, corporates and businesses, and the civil society, we will be able to create generations of healthy, educated, and resourceful citizens; empowering them to take on the mission called Prosperous India.

Advertisements

Akshaya Patra’s work in Assam and Andhra Pradesh

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a non-profit organisation in India has been supporting education by providing nutritious and tasty school lunch to children of Government schools and Government-aided schools since its establishment in 2000.

 

table1- pan india reach

 

  • Akshaya Patra is one of the oldest implementors of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme.
  • Initially, it provided food to children of just five schools in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
  • Today, it is operational across India.
  • Akshaya Patra has received ICAI Gold Shield Award for excellence in financial reporting for consecutively seven years and has been inducted to ICAI’s Hall of Fame. It is the only NGO in the 70 years history of ICAI to have won this distinction.

 

Akshaya Patra operates centralised kitchens in 43 locations and decentralised kitchens in two locations. It has a well-managed logistics with dedicated fleet of customised meal delivery vehicles for each location. In order to ensure children consume their meals readily and happily, this non-profit organisation has designed location-specific menus by keeping intact the recommended nutritional levels. The menu is also cyclical in nature so that each day children receive different items as part of their school meal.

Below is a quick overview of Akshaya Patra’s service in Assam and Andhra Pradesh.

tapf kitchens assam and andhara pradesh

What do beneficiaries say?

The mid-day meals act as an incentive for parents to send their children to school and it adds hope in lakhs of children that their ambitions and dreams are achievable. As an NGO in Assam, this is how Akshaya Patra upkeeps the right to nutrition and education:

  • “Mid-day meals are very important. The mid-day meal served in the school is a relief for the family. At home, it’s mostly rice, dalor pitha (a type of local bread made of rice flour). Vegetables or lentils are not on the family’s menu every day. I enjoy my school lunch especially on Wednesdays and Saturdays when we get kheer, khichdi, and vegetable pulao – a delicacy which is rarely cooked at home.” Mrinmay Malakar.
  • Parvati hails from a challenging background and has the complete support of her mother with regards to her education. She aspires to be a Police Officer. Parvati’s mother opines that education will help her daughter succeed in life and also aid in leading a better life than the current one. The fact that Parvati gets mid-day meal at school comes by as a great relief for the mother.

As an NGO in Andhra Pradesh, this is how Akshaya Patra nurtures dreams:

  • Narsimha Raju says, “If I concentrate on one particular sport, I will excel in that sport only. But, if I concentrate on different sports and education, it will help me become a teacher and produce good sportsmen for our school and the country.”
  • Lalita says, “Due to corruption, people who are in need of the several government schemes are not able to avail the benefits. I want to become a District Collector and make my state corruption-free and ensure that people get the benefits of various schemes.”

Akshaya Patra kitchen in Assam and Andhra Pradesh

You can do wonders with just Rs. 1,100!

Yes, with just Rs. 1,100, you can transform the lives of lakhs of children across India. Your generous contribution to Akshaya Patra, one of the pioneer mid-day meal non-profit organisation in India will nourish, nurture and empower children into resourceful and responsible citizens. Support Akshaya Patra. Support Indian children.

Akshaya Patra’s Mid-day Meal Secret

Have you ever read or viewed an interview of a successful personality where the interviewer doesn’t include the question, “What’s the secret behind your success?” Guess not! Call it the awe of success or impact of the achiever, all of us want to know what do these achievers do differently that they reach such inspiring heights. And, the same question has been posed to The Akshaya Patra Foundation because of the magnitude of work carried out by the Foundation.

Mid-day meal

Akshaya Patra is an NGO that implements the Mid-Day Meal Scheme across 12 states in India. The Foundation is headquartered in Bengaluru and has been in the service of children since 2000. The Foundation provides mid-day meals to more than 17-lakh children across 38 locations in 12 states on each school day. Turning back the pages to 2000, this NGO began providing meals to just 1,500 children in five schools in Bengaluru and today it is nourishing lakhs of with healthy and nutritious meals. And, this popped the question, “What’s the secret behind this scalability?” So, let’s begin from the first!

Importance of mid-day meal

For many of us, we don’t have to worry about our next meal. Alas, that’s not the case for many children across the country. These children hail from not-so-privileged backgrounds and thus are faced by the uncertainty of receiving meals. In a scenario like this, mid-day meal comes as a ray of hope for these children and their parents too. Mid-day meal acts as an incentive for parents to send their children to school with the hope that the children will receive at least one proper meal for the day. This brings children to school. And, once they are at school, they not only receive stomach full of wholesome meals but also the much-needed education. The mid-day meal is a win-win for health and education – be it for the specific sector or for the growing children.

– Akshaya Patra kitchens and meal

To implement the Mid-Day Meal Scheme and benefit children right from the grass root level, Akshaya Patra operates two models of kitchen – the centralised kitchen and the decentralised kitchen. The centralised kitchens are huge cooking units that can cook up to one lakh meals per day. The mega kitchen in India serves meals to schools located in urban and semi-urban areas. The decentralised kitchens serve meals to children in remote areas. Currently, the NGO operates centralised kitchens in 36 locations and decentralised kitchens in two locations. These kitchens follow standard operating processes and many of the kitchens are ISO certified facilities.

The NGO adheres to the nutritional requirement as stated in the Central Mid-Day Meal Guidelines. However, it also prepares its meal menu to suit the local taste so that children enjoy their meal and consume it readily. Thus, Akshaya Patra’s meal is freshly cooked, nutritious, hygienic, and tasty.

– Akshaya Patra food is…

– So, what’s the secret behind Akshaya Patra’s meal?

Nutrition content, spices, special recipe… we can keep guessing and adding to this list. But, the real secret behind the dedication, efforts, expansion and sustainability of the Foundation is the smile and satisfaction on a child’s face after having a plate full of fresh and healthy meals. This video will reveal what keeps Akshaya Patra motivated to reach out to more and more children.

 – Conclusion

Maybe we all have a secret to our success, or maybe the ‘determination to achieve something’ itself becomes the real ingredient for our success. However, for this Foundation, the smiles and aspirations of children are the reasons or say the ‘secrets’ for the success of implementing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme for the past 17 years!

Spreading Smiles Through Food Every Day

The humble beginnings of The Akshaya Foundation started with it serving mid-day meals to about 1,500 children in the year 2000 to five government schools in Bengaluru. The foundation, known for its dedicated service, now aims to reach 5 million children every day by 2020.

NGO for Children

Having started with just one van transporting food from a kitchen in Bengaluru across the schools, the Foundation today serves over 1.6 million children across 13,800+ schools in 12 states across India. The food supplied is cooked in 34 centralised and decentralised kitchens operated by the Foundation. Corporates and Individuals donating for education in India have been a major support to the Foundation.

Built on a public-private partnership model, Akshaya Patra combines good management, innovative technology and smart engineering to deliver a nutritious and hygienic school lunch. It has taken one baby step at a time, and over time adopting a near corporate-style of functioning, including annual auditing by highly respected auditors. This has ensured that it is trusted by every donor. It also got the respect of many multi-national companies to support the cause of a top NGO like Akshaya Patra.

The Foundation’s kitchens are built leveraging the state of the art technology. The meals are prepared with a minimal human contact with the food and thus are extremely safe and hygienic.

Started with a vision that “No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger”, it has been very successful in meeting the aim to a very great extent. Despite the huge and daunting task ahead of it in a country where millions of children are born into economically-challenged families, it did not deter the Foundation.

But, to keeps its good work going, it needs continuous flow of funds. It’s only the NGOs’ role in India that ensures the needy children are reached across the country.  It has today come to be one of the largest such mid-day meal schemes in the world and it’s growing rapidly.

Water is an essential part of children’s nutrition

Most nutritionists recommend that children must get three meals in a day along with two parts of healthy snacks. As far as the lunch is concerned, Akshaya Patra ensures that school children get a proper diet through its Mid-Day Meal Programme. The organisation has fed over 1.6 million school children so far.

Water - Nutrition

Clean drinking water is an integral part of the Akshaya Patra school lunch menu that this top NGO serves to the children. Children are often never concerned about how much water they need for proper hydration. But water is an essential part of their daily nutrition. Water helps keeping their body temperature stable and it is responsible for carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells, protects tissues and organs, soothes joints and removes waste.

Apart from meal time, children would typically drink water after playing outside and thirsting for it. It doesn’t usually strike them that they need more water. Children aged between nine and 13 need 1.6 litres/6 glasses (boys) and 1.4 litres/5 glasses (girls) of water every day. In the 14-18 age-groups, boys need to drink at least 1.9 litres/7 glasses and girls need to drink at least 1.6 litres/6 glasses per day. Apart from water, children can also be fed low-fat milk that nourishes them without giving them sugar or additives that are found in soft drinks or flavoured mineral water. Akshaya Patra encourages children to drink sufficient water after their meals. You can also play a part in this charity fundraising.

Of course, children must be taught to consume more water during hot days or if they are indulged in a lot of outdoor activities or sports. In India, the easily available drinking water is tap water. But the good news is tap water contains fluoride that helps in developing strong teeth. However, the children who go to government schools in India often don’t have access to clean tap water at their homes. We ensure that a wholesome meal apart from clean drinking water is provided to all the children going to the government schools. These children can be benefitted through charity fundraising for Akshaya Patra. Donate for an NGO today.

Get Insights on How to Make a Difference by Donating

Have you experienced the feeling of making a difference? It’s fulfilling. Many Akshaya Patra donors have helped Mid-Day Meal Programme in reaching out to millions of school children every day. Whether it’s a small or big amount, we are sure that the amount has made a big impact. Donating not only creates a positive environment for children’s future, but also ensures your good health by leaving you joyous. Incredibly!

How to make a difference by donating?

SEO_donateFor-A-Cause_600X400_V2

If you have not tried donating earlier, you might be a bit skeptical about donating for a cause. What we would like to say is try something small. For example, a simple thing you can do is gift a stationery kit or an exam kit to a child who comes from an economically weak background. Here are two ways you can make a difference by donating towards children’s growth.

Sponsor a child

There are millions of Akshaya Patra beneficiaries whose responsibility could be in your hands. Out of millions of children we reach out to, you could take responsibility of one by donating Rs 950. This amount ensures the child receives mid-day 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.

Pay someone’s fees

Many children drop out of school and colleges due to the burden of fees. While the Indian Government has taken a great initiative to provide free education for children between 6 to 14 years, many children, once they move out of high school, their expenditure blocks them from studying further. You can take the responsibility to identify the person and pay his or her fees for the year! This will fulfill their dreams to learn!

What does Akshaya Patra do?

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an NGO in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and many other states, 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 organisation the world’s largest NGO-run feeding programme is noteworthy; the organisation began its humble service in the year 2000 with immense support from government, corporates, donors and many volunteers who have contributed to the cause and also donated to charity, the organisation has grown in leaps and bounds.

You can support Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme by donating for this cause while you also have the option to fundraise on our website.

Three Important Reasons Why You Should Give Back

The word ‘Give’ in the context of ‘Giving Back’ has a very interesting meaning to it. According to Etymonline, “The Middle English noun yeve (Give), meant “that which is given or offered; a contribution of money,” often as tribute, or in expectation of something in return.”

giving-back-has-its-benefits

‘Giving back’ usually supersedes with the word society. Ever since, people realized that humanity could make a great difference, the race has been helping communities by empowering them. Similarly, Akshaya Patra has been feeding the children in India to ensure they do not experience classroom hunger.

If you have been thinking of giving back to society, now is the time! We collated three important benefits of giving back and here they are:

You will help someone grow

As an individual, you may want to give back to society by paying someone’s school fees. Many families who come from difficult background are burdened by their children’s schools fees and unable to pay, they choose to send them on work. This could be your chance to give back.

beneficiary-of-akshaya-patra

Giving back will not only help the child be a part of school system, but will also help you grow as a person. To understand the issues deeply and to step up to correct them is our responsibility and by giving back, you will have contributed to the growth of an individual, their family, and their community.

You will build stronger communities

Among many activities, Akshaya Patra regularly organises Health Awareness Programmes for school children with the help of corporates; these programmes include discussions and hygiene kit distribution.

jp-morgan

Kit Distribution

When we as a community go out to help another, it transforms and structures their living standards and also contributes to their health. This includes helping a community with a nursing home, a school, awareness programmes and basic infrastructure. For Akshaya Patra, a children’s charity, registered under section 80G of Income Tax Act, providing a mid-day meal is one way to empower a network a students.

And finally, you will spread happiness!

This is probably the most important reason for the giver and the receiver; happiness. The experience of giving back to society keeps you content! The inner joy of having transformed a life, without expecting returns, is a feeling that words cannot describe.

hello-new-shoes

Shoe Distribution

To experience this joy, go out and do your noble act that you’ve always wanted to do. Try visiting a school, buying stationery for a child or maybe even a pair of school shoes. The simple things in life tend to leave a curve on your face. Happiness is contagious and so is an act of giving back.

As you call it a day, think of reasons why you should give back to society and when you do, Akshaya Patra’s children will be waiting for your help.

Sponsor a child today!

Essence of Akshaya Patra’s Nutritional Mid-Day Meal Programme

Dictionaries define nutrition as “the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.” Unfortunately obtaining food for health and nutrition worldwide has proved to be tougher challenge than it was perceived. Providing healthy food for children is a concern that transcends geographical boundaries. Fresh and healthy food is a basic right of every child, and there is a need to make sure that they get it every day.

mid-day-meal

Akshaya Patra has been operating Mid-Day Meal Programme in schools since the year 2000. It has been meticulous in its approach to ensure that the food served to children has rich nutritional values. But this is no coincidence. There’s a serious roadmap that’s gone into the creation of a flawless process that enables the serving of hygienic and nutritious food to these schools. In the previous blog, we had shared how important is nutrition for children. Today, we wish to give you a walk-through of the nutritional essence of our Mid-Day Meal Programme.

Nutritious food is hygienic food

One of the foremost steps to cooking, serving and consistently providing nutritious food is hygiene. Where is the food cooked? How’s it cooked? Do the cooks follow hygiene norms? How’s the food transported? How’s it served? These are the questions that have been converted into a meticulous process of serving food. The process begins right from buying the ingredients for the food – be it fresh vegetables, pulses, rice etc. Our centralised and decentralised kitchens across 11 states in India have been designed for the most hygienic conditions of cooking food. Everyone working or even entering these kitchens must go through a process of cleaning their hands and feet before they start to work. Our workers wear gloves while serving the food and the children in school are required to wash hands before they sit for school lunch programme.

Nutritious food is balanced

Another vital aspect of nutritious food is that it must be rich in various combinations to be able to fully benefit a child’s growth. Nutritional values include nutrients, vitamins, fats, carbohydrates and fiber. Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meals provide a balanced diet including various nutritional values. We encourage people who wish to offer donation for NGOs to contribute for our kitchens or vehicles so that we are able to fetch the right ingredients for our mid-day meals on a daily basis.

Often in schools, the time allotted for lunch is barely half an hour in which the children also want to play and relax. As a result, they don’t get enough time to sit at leisure and eat everything that their lunch boxes have. This often kills the entire nutritional value of the food as it is not consumed in totality. The school lunch should not be a burden to children. Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meals have a lunch menu that can be consumed in less time and it doesn’t look like a burden to children. The lunch is the right blend of dairy, proteins, oils, vegetables and nutrients (click here to read more). In addition, we ensure that children get enough time to truly enjoy their lunch and get complete value from their meals.

Feeding the hungry is a great cause and there’s nothing more motivating for us to know that when we are feeding the children, we are also bringing them to school and contributing towards their future.

Through Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meal programme in schools, we have been able to feed over 1.6 million children so far and recently accomplished 2 billion meals. If you wish to offer donation for an NGO, we encourage you to join our cause and contribute.

Food and Education: A Solution for India

According to the famous theory ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’ food is one of the most fundamental needs—if hunger is not solved, it becomes impossible for humans to reach higher standards of needs like education. This theory asks us a simple question: Will a child be able to sit in a classroom with an empty stomach?

Food and Edu Jpeg

In an attempt to relieve children from classroom hunger, The Akshaya Patra Foundation began providing mid-day meals to government school children in India to ensure they receive both nutrition as well as education. The role of NGOs in India is increasing every day to reduce the nation’s socio-economic issues—lack of education being one of them. The Foundation believes that food for education will contribute to achieving economic stability in the long-run and will also improve every section of the society. 15 years ago, Akshaya Patra began serving mid-day meals to only 1500 school children. Today, it has progressed to more than 1.5 million children across 10 states in India making it the world’s largest (non-for-profit) run Mid-Day Meal Programme in India.

There are two ways many children in India are benefitting from Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meals—a wholesome meal every day to be on the healthier side and uninterrupted education despite the financial hurdles at home. Akshaya Patra has been working along with the Government of India and State Governments to reduce the number of children exposed to severe hunger. The combined and continuous efforts with the government have resulted in tremendous opportunities for children to attend school; for it is education that projects a secure future.

For India as a developing nation, feeding the future is a mission. The Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2008 states that more than 200 million people in India go hungry every day making food sufficiency an urgent priority. Despite economic progress over the decade, the report still highlights the severe hunger situation in India.

India has many challenges to fight. Solutions are many. However, if the country continues to focus on two aspects – food and education, the results can be what Planning Commission of India has envisioned for 2020—achieving 100 per cent school enrolment of all children.

It is also The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s mission to target 5 million children everyday by 2020 and ensuring that these children are able to concentrate better in classrooms. You can get involve by joining Akshaya Patra in raising awareness about the programme as well as contributing to the cause. All it takes is Rs. 750 to feed a school going child and you can help us too.


You can download the Akshaya Patra Mobile App to support the foundation cause. Download the app on Android and iOS store

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!

Akshaya Patra Inititative5

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.