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.

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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 Highlights of 2017-18

Akshaya Patra Kitchen

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is recognised as the world’s largest NGO-run school lunch programme. It is an Indian NGO implementing the Mid-Day Meal Programme across 12 states in India covering more than 14,000 government schools in 36 locations. Over the past 17 years, with the vision of ‘No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger’, this charitable trust has impacted lives of over 1.7 million school going children. Strategic planning, execution, and its operational model of Public-Private Partnership have contributed to Akshaya Patra’s sustainability and expansion. It has been continuously progressing towards its mission of ‘feeding 5 million children by 2020’. Each year the NGO plans futuristically and steers its efforts to achieve it. As the journey for the new fiscal begins, here are the highlights of the past Financial Year 2017-18:

Akshaya Patra Achievements

In keeping with two of its core values – accountability and transparency, Akshaya Patra discloses its audited financial statements and operational progress of every financial year in the form of Annual Reports. The NGO Annual Report updates all its stakeholders on its overall developments and achievements along with stating the plans for the next fiscal. Each year, the Foundation’s Annual Reports have received much appreciation at the global and national platforms. During 2017-18, the report received the prestigious:

  • Golden Shield Award 2017 for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).
  • PRCI Collateral Awards 2017 at the 11th Global Communication Conclave.

With respect to operations, Akshaya Patra expanded its reach to nine more locations across the country:

Akshaya Patra kitchen locations

This Indian NGO is leaving no stone unturned to maximise the impact of the Mid-Day Meal Programme. And, the progress by far affirms that the Foundation will continue to move ahead and transform lives of children to create generations of healthy and confident citizens.

Read our beneficiaries hope stories at: https://www.akshayapatra.org/stories-of-children

This NGO in Karnataka is contributing to eradicate classroom hunger

Karnataka celebrated its formation day recently. Akshaya Patra has many memories related to the state. Starting from first school to be benefitting from the meals cooked by Akshaya Patra, the non-profit organisation in Karnataka currently serves 2,968 Government and Government-aided schools in the state over 17 years of its existence in the state. It has been instrumental in bringing down the dropout rate among schoolchildren.

feed the children

Many NGOs work towards countering hunger and malnutrition. The Akshaya Patra Foundation has come to be seen as a major participant in the mid-day meals that reach thousands of children, mostly from the economically-challenged backgrounds. Given the reach and impact of the NGO, it is among the list of NGOs in Bangalore that are helping the children in many ways.

The State Governments have been partnering NGOs like the Foundation in implementing the Mid-Day Meal Programme in their efforts to increase the number of children in schools.

The NGO has been using the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model as a route to improve the quality and reach of the programme. The NGOs selected in this scheme are picked based on many variables set by the State Government. Such organisations must be transparent and of proven integrity. Akshaya Patra has been feed the children a wholesome meal every day.

The Foundation today helps feed over 4.86 lakh children in 2,968 schools in Karnataka. Over 2 lakh children from Bengaluru benefit from this initiative. They are supplied freshly-cooked food from kitchens in the city. Many corporates and individuals come together and make charity donations to enable the NGO to feed school lunch to these children.

The programme has only been increasing in its scope and reach over the years and is widening its reach fast.

How NGO’s in Uttar Pradesh is Ensuring Children’s Development?

Educating children and ensuring they remain healthy in the region has been an important goal for NGOs working across the world. Many NGOs in Uttar Pradesh or Bihar are working on the similar lines. This helps in increasing the awareness level of children. Many NGO’s in Lucknow are working towards ensuring that the children get quality food and education.

Education for children

Therefore, NGOs like The Akshaya Patra Foundation are reaching out to children in schools of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh among other states. The foundation is serving wholesome meals to school children. The NGO has a state-of-the-art kitchen in Lucknow from where mid-day meals are supplied to various Government and Government-aided schools in Uttar Pradesh.

This has a deeper implication. When children are motivated to attend schools, they develop dreams and aspirations of a career. Education opens up various subjects and avenues. As a result, children learn about their own inclination towards certain subjects. This in turn helps them to take steps towards a fruitful career in the subject they like.

When the NGO in Uttar Pradesh reaches out to school children, it becomes a part of the children’s growth. Children attending schools regularly discover the charms of science, language, politics, geography or humanities. This encourages them to explore their interests. The foundation laid during the younger days forms is important as that helps the children pick their career choices. The Stories of Hope demonstrate how children relish the opportunities of a great career.

NGOs like Akshaya Patra are taking these aspirations to far-off schools in and around Lucknow. These are areas where access to information is often limited. And so when children are exposed to regular dose of education and knowledge, they heartily appreciate it. The NGO thus calls for donors to sponsor a child and pave a career path for him/her. When donors choose to sponsor a child, they become part of his/her growth and become instrumental in his career development. You can contribute and help these children realise their life’s goals. Sponsor a child today.

Have fun fundraising with Akshaya Patra!

School bell!
Children rushing inside the gates of the school!
The shouts and cheers at the playground!
If all these bring back some great memories, you have had a great childhood. Yes, school is that important and that memorable.

Our Reach Make an Impact

Akshaya Patra, the NGO that’s working to provide wholesome meals to school children in India, wishes that school remains a memorable part of every child’s life. It’s on a mission to bring the dropped-out children back to school by serving wholesome lunch in government schools.

Ask any Akshaya Patra staff and they would tell you that serving meals to children is most fulfilling. For that matter, any charity related to children is often transforming for donors, volunteers and staff. So as we urge people to join our mission of serving mid-day meals, we also encourage them to have fun as they do. You don’t need to always donate cash or kind to charity in order to make a difference. You can simply involve yourself in online fundraising to make your valuable contribution.

You may create your own online fundraising campaign, give it a personality that you want, share your thoughts about it and inspire your friends, relatives and even strangers. For instance, a volunteer Mr M Shiva Krishna raised Rs 15,000 in a simple campaign that he called ‘Hungry for School.’

You can share your thematic campaign and our website links on your social media handles and invite millions of people in a cause that you believe in. You may post some of our pictures, do your own posters with a message and inspire people to donate to charity.

We genuinely want you to understand the meaning as you engage in this online fundraising since after all our goal is to spread smiles, laughter and joy among school children. Start your campaign today.

Of Quality Education: what defines quality?

Running a children’s charity would mean providing the little ones the basic necessities of life which they are deprived of for various reasons. Akshaya Patra opened its doors to Indian children in the year 2000 by providing them mid-day meals in government schools and government-aided schools. Vision: No child should be deprived of education because of hunger.

Ever since India began its Mid-Day Meal Scheme, the drop-out rates have decreased and enrolment rates in schools have increased. However, Mid-Day Meal is only one of the factors in making this possible. With the help of central and state governments, Akshaya Patra, an NGO in India, has been providing mid-day meals to school children for the last 16 years.

Now with more and more children in schools, the country is focusing on Quality Education – one of the goals proposed by UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). In 2015, the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) proposed Sustainable Development Goals to 194 countries. Among the 17 aspirational goals with objective to transform the world, the fourth goal is Quality Education. Akshaya Patra is playing a vital role as an NGO in India in education sector, highlights the understanding on Quality Education.

sdgs-by-food-for-educaion

What is Quality Education?

According to a paper presented by UNICEF, five points define Quality Education.

  • Learners who are healthy, well-nourished and ready to participate and learn, and supported in learning by their families and communities;
  • Environments that are healthy, safe, protective and gender-sensitive, and provide adequate resources and facilities;
  • Content that is reflected in relevant curricula and materials for the acquisition of basic skills, especially in the areas of literacy, numeracy and skills for life, and knowledge in such areas as gender, health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS prevention and peace;
  • Processes through which trained teachers use child-centered teaching approaches in well-managed classrooms and schools and skillful assessment to facilitate learning and reduce disparities;
  • Outcomes that encompass knowledge, skills and attitudes, and are linked to national goals for education and positive participation in society.

(Source: unicef.org/education/files/QualityEducation.PDF)

The first point talks about students who are ‘healthy, well-nourished and ready to participate.’ This very objective is followed by Akshaya Patra in its large-scale feeding initiatives.

Quality Education, we believe leads to remarkable success. With literacy rates rising, we should also focus on providing inclusive and quality education to ensure progress.

UNDP states: “Achieving inclusive and quality education for all reaffirms the belief that education is one of the most powerful and proven vehicles for sustainable development. This goal ensures that all girls and boys complete free primary and secondary schooling by 2030. It also aims to provide equal access to affordable vocational training, to eliminate gender and wealth disparities, and achieve universal access to a quality higher education.”

Akshaya Patra’s Food for Education initiative embraces two most critical sustainable development goals – Zero Hunger and Quality Education. You can show your support by sponsoring a child’s meal for an entire academic year. Make a charity donation and win tax exemption in India.

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!

Be A Part of Joy of Giving Week with Akshaya Patra – Daan Utsav

When was the last time you gave to society? Now that Daan Utsav (Joy of Giving Week) 2016 has arrived, it’s time you and I celebrate the festival along with the nation and spread kindness by giving what you can to society.

akshaya-patra-celebrates-joy-of-giving-week

Daan Utsav, previously known as Joy of Giving, is a week-long festival celebrated in October all over India, since its launch in 2009. The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a children’s NGO based in Bengaluru, is happy to be a part of the initiative, by virtue of being a not-for-profit organisation.

This time of the year, many of us get busy looking for Joy of Giving Week ideas. What we don’t realise is that the most credible ideas are the simple ones – buying a meal for the ones in need, giving a blanket to the homeless, gifting a box of stationery to a child and many more. When we see someone on the street in need of support, we often tell ourselves that we do not have the provision to support that person. Well, you may not be wrong. After all, this person needs your consistent support and we as individuals are often capable of providing help in small measures. However, no act is too small in this regard. As the famous proverb goes – ‘Little by little, little becomes a lot.’

There are many NGOs in India serving a cause with a purpose to deal with pressing social and economic issues and to empower every citizen in the country. This year, you can celebrate the Joy of Giving festival with The Akshaya Patra Foundation. This NGO for Children provides mid-day meals to over 1.6 million children every day. Every meal is a joyous one for the child and for the Foundation. If you are looking for opportunities to give to society, you can collaborate with Akshaya Patra and support the leaders of tomorrow.

The Joy of Giving Week may end in a few days; however, let us continue to support society by giving. Get involved with Akshaya Patra and give to the future!

How Nutritional Value is Important for Children?

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.

role-of-ngos

Unfortunately, we live in a divided world where one section of the society is wasting food while the other is deprived of it. Children are on the receiving end because quite often they are not the bread-earners to be able to fetch food. Several children, who do get food, may not get a diet full of health and nutrition.  At Akshaya Patra, when our target of 2 billion meals was achieved recently, nutrition was still top of our priority. 

The Global Nutrition Report 2016 reveals data on the status of hunger, malnourishment and poor diets in children and adults as well. The report suggests that it’s even more difficult for little children who have to experience hunger and a hard time to get meals twice a day. Nutrition is required for children so as to ensure their growth and a hunger-free life. In India, however, the reality is major part of the population isn’t capable of arranging food for hungry children even once a day.

Nutritional status of children in India:

  • UNICEF reports, almost 20% of children less than 5 years are wasted due to undernutrition.
  • Approximately 61 million children are stunted due to chronic undernutrition
  • More than one-third of wasted children and three out of every ten stunted children in the world, live in India itself
  • Millions of children suffer from micronutrient malnutrition and calorie deficiency
  • The ratio of underweight children is in rural areas increase every year unexpectedly
  • Around 50% of the children under 5 years are underweight and prone to infections

 How’s nutrition vital for children?

Physical growth: Studies have proved that a child needs proper nutrition in order to achieve full height. The same is also true for the rest of his physical growth. There are children who suffer from several physical ailments due to lack of nutrition and good health.

Mental faculties: Health and nutrition pave way for the children to develop their mental faculties. Any pediatrician would testify that the right balance of omega fatty acids in children’s daily diet contribute towards brain activity, development and capabilities. Similarly, each ingredient in a balanced diet adds to a child’s mental growth. That’s precisely why we combined mid-day meals with education in schools and emphasised on providing healthy food for children.

Feeling of wellness: Children who get regular diet and nutritious food are often active in their school and on playground. Remember that children are still exploring the world with their little experience. They have more energy that needs channelising physically. This can happen only when a child has ample nutrition in his body. Such children have a greater sense of well-being and wellness.

Health and nutrition have a lot of value in a child’s growth. It goes without saying that for the overall mental and physical development of any human being, nutrition plays a vital role. It becomes crucial especially for children who are not aware what’s best for them. The children need help and guidance along with a regular supply of nutritious food. We have been providing mid-day meals in schools through our centralised kitchens in 24 locations across 10 states.

You can help children get the right balance of diet with just a click. Donate to charity today!