Hunger Action Month – A Campaign to Fight Hunger

There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread” – Mahatma Gandhi.

Fortunately, most of us do not have to think about where our meal will come from. Either it will be prepared at home or we can order a sumptuous meal at the click of a button. But, there are many who are not privileged even to get even a square meal per day. And, the number of such people are as high as 815 million, globally. Yes, hunger is an epidemic that has spread across almost all parts of the world. And, with 190.7 million people who suffer from hunger each day, India is home to 1/3rd of world’s hungry population. This is where food providing NGO role in India becomes extremely significant.

Hunger Action Month

Hunger action month

The month of September is observed as a Hunger Action Month across many countries. The origin of it dates back to 2008 when Feeding America, a United States-based non-profit hunger relief organisation, felt the need of a nationwide participation to deal with the hunger crisis. Since then, Hunger Action Month is observed annually with the aim to spread awareness and act to end hunger. This month-long campaign is a platform for the entire community to work together and ensure access to food for needy people. 

And, the best part is, hunger is a solvable problem!

How hunger affects sustainable development

Food is the basic need for survival for any living being. It provides the required energy to do all activities – physical and cognitive. When the stomach is empty, the only thought that clouds the head and heart is, food! In general, hunger leads to low immunity, deprived health, malnourishment, and delayed growth and development.

Hence, as an intervention several NGOs have taken up food as the core cause of their service, and The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO for children in India is one among them. Akshaya Patra has been in the service of providing nutritious meals to children since 2000. It implements the Mid-Day Meal Scheme across 12 states of the country and strives to eliminate classroom hunger to support education. Akshaya Patra’s cause is in sync with two Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations i.e. Zero Hunger and Quality Education. Classroom hunger leads to:

  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of concentration
  • Low levels of learning
  • Low academic performance
  • Lack of interest in school activities

Inferencing from the above-mentioned, it becomes evident that hunger poses as a major hurdle in sustainable development and progress of a country and the global community as a whole.

How can Hunger Action Month aid in improving Global Hunger Index

Global Hunger Index is a multidimensional statistical tool to measure the hunger status of countries across the world. The scores on this scale indicates the progress and failures in the fight against hunger globally. Remaining specific to India,

India ranks 100 among 119 countries in Global Hunger Index 2017. It has been categorised under the ‘serious’ range.

But, Hunger Action Month gives an opportunity to improve the hunger scores at a global level and at a national level. As a food-based NGO for children, Akshaya Patra campaigns for Hunger Action Month annually and urges supporters to generously participate in the campaign with the sole intention of creating a sustainable solution for hunger. When children are well-nourished and well-educated, they will grow up to be healthy, skilled, and resourceful citizens. Such citizens not only add prosperity to the family but also to the entire nation. Thus, there is a direct correlation between number of resourceful citizens and hunger index.

Conclusion

As a wrap, it is important to note that hunger is the number one cause of death in the world. This crisis can be dealt effectively only when the entire community actively gets involved to fight against the epidemic called hunger. 

This September, donate to end hunger. Your donation will enable Akshaya Patra to feed more children thereby increasing its present reach of 1.76 million children. You have the power to end hunger, use it by supporting school meals of children.

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one” – Mother Teresa.

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How Akshaya Patra is moulding future heroes?

Akshaya Patra heroes

It is no novel idea that our future is a manifestation of our present deeds. Hence, if we wish to see a bright and prosperous future, we need to work towards it right from now. In line with this, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO for children in India is nourishing and nurturing 1.75-million children by providing them with nutritious school lunch on each school day across 12 states of India.

Before delving into how this NGO is moulding future heroes, let’s take a quick look at the aspirations of a handful of Akshaya Patra beneficiaries:

Akshaya Patra Beneficiaries

Aren’t these children heroes in their own ways? At a tender age, they have already set a goal for themselves and have the willpower to achieve it. Now, it is our responsibility to mould them and make them ready for the future. These were just a handful of aspirations from among over 1.75 million aspirations. Hope stories of children will introduce you to many more such zealous and determined children.

The role of Akshaya Patra

Akshaya Patra is cognisant of the fact that inadequate nutrition hampers age-appropriate cognitive and physical development among children. It hinders the learning process and the ability to concentrate. It also negatively affects the level of immunity and health in children. Thus, as an NGO for children, Akshaya Patra has been in the service of providing freshly cooked, healthy, and nutritious meals to children since 2000. So that more and more children can benefit from the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, Akshaya Patra operates two types of kitchen – the centralised kitchen and decentralised kitchen. The centralised kitchens serve food to children in the urban and semi-urban areas, whereas the decentralised kitchens cater to children in remote locations.

giving every dream a chance

Alongside, Akshaya Patra is also honing the talents of its beneficiaries under the initiative called ‘Giving Every Dream A Chance’. This initiative is an attempt by the NGO to guide and train children in various fields of their interest such as dance, theatre, origami, culinary, science, and sports, with the support of other organisations and individual mentors. With this initiative, Akshaya Patra aims to provide a strong foundation to the dreams and goals of children.

By ensuring children receive nutritious meals on each school day, Akshaya Patra is supporting their education. By providing coaching to polish their talents, Akshaya Patra is instilling the hope that their dreams are achievable. Thus,

benefits of mdm

Be the Changemaker

The actual change happens when the whole society gets involved in the process of altering the present condition. Thus, take your step towards being a Changemaker. This Independence Day, pledge to feed children of India. Your contribution will ensure healthy food and rightful education for millions of children. Be the hero for the future heroes!

All you need to know about Akshaya Patra’s Anganwadi Feeding Programme

The Anganwadi programme is an initiative of the Government of India to facilitate mother and child care across the country. Currently, there are 14-lakh approved AWCs and 7,076 ICDS Projects across the country (as per Government press release, 7 February 2014). To further the efforts of government and extend the benefits of Anganwadi programme, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO for children.

Primarily, Akshaya Patra is an implementing arm of the Government’s Mid-Day Meal Scheme. Every school day the Foundation serves freshly cooked wholesome school lunch to more than 17-lakh children in 36 locations across 12 states of the country. It strives to support education of children by providing nutritious meals to them at school. However, aside from this core programme, Akshaya Patra has also undertaken several other feeding and social initiatives, the Anganwadi feeding programme being one of them.

Here is a quick overview of the Akshaya Patra’s Anganwadi feeding programme:

  • By implementing this programme Akshaya Patra aims to provide nutritious meals to children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers of Anganwadi centres;
  • Presently, Akshaya Patra is serving nutritious meals at 4,786 Anganwadi centres in nine locations of five states – Hyderabad, Jaipur, Baran, Vadodara, Surat, Ahmedabad, Vrindavan, Narsingi, and Warangal;
  • The NGO has a beneficiary base of 1,61,410 young children and 6,410 pregnant and lactating women;
  • Akshaya Patra carries out the Anganwadi food supply by preparing meals in their centralised kitchens that deliver it to the centres in their customised meal delivery vehicles;
  • The cost incurred to provide meals to one beneficiary for one year is Rs. 675.

By providing food in Anganwadi centres this NGO is aiding one of the main services of the Anganwadi centres i.e. nutrition and health. The Foundation has witnessed tangible change among the beneficiaries and strives to expand this programme to other locations too.

However, to do so, it requires support from the entire community because only when community, government, and NGOs work together, the necessary changes can be achieved. So, support Akshaya Patra by opting to contribute online donations for NGO. Your contribution will ensure nutrition-rich diet for millions of young children and will provide the needed nourishment for expecting and lactating mothers.

Best Charity to Raise Fund on Your Special Days

Fundraising for NGO

Special days such as birthday, anniversary, house-warming, wedding etc. calls for a special celebration. And, more often than not, we engage in partying, feasting, holidaying, and gifting. But, have you ever taken a moment to ponder if you can celebrate your special days in a way that can transform lives? Read on to see how you can make your celebrations more special.

Call it generosity, thoughtfulness, or care – offering charity on special days reflects the humanitarian trait in you. It also adds goodwill into your lives and lets you evolve as a better human. All NGOs – big or small – encourages acts of charity and has a dedicated platform to engage people in their respective causes. In line with this, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO for children has provided several opportunities for people to get involved with their cause of providing food to children. This is an Indian NGO with a credible record of 18 years in implementing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme across the country. With the vision, ‘No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger’, this NGO presently provides freshly cooked, nutritious, and tasty meals to more than 1.7 million children studying in government schools across 12 states.

Among the many choices provided by the Foundation to get involved with their cause, charity fundraising on your special days gives you a chance to make your celebrations more meaningful and special. You can celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, house-warming ceremonies, weddings, professional success, festivals, or just about any special day close to your heart by offering charity to this Foundation that is considered as one of the top NGOs in India. Your contribution will be utilised to provide school lunch to millions of children. In fact, by contributing just Rs. 1,100 you will be able to provide food for one child for an entire school year. Now, isn’t that worth a spend?

Back to school

Time and again, Akshaya Patra also runs various campaigns to create awareness and raise funds for their cause, another avenue for you to fund raise and mark your special days. The Back to School Campaign is one of the on-going campaign of The Foundation aimed at raising funds to provide meals to children for a new academic year because more often than not, the school meal is the reason parents send their children to school.

As a wrap, do think of charity fundraising for Akshaya Patra as an option to celebrate your special days. Your noble choice will provide food to children, support their education, and transform their lives. Not to forget, it will add goodwill in your life and wholesomely treat the humanitarian trait in you!

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

Consider tax exemption for a cause

The universe has a unique way of working and we never know how and when it brings us an opportunity to support and do something good for others. Here is a small incidence that introduced me to the path of charity. Just a week ago, I was consulting with my friend on how to cut down on tax. During the discussion, we came upon various ways such as housing loan, house rent allowance, children education allowance, medical insurance, donations, and the like. Though I had heard of these means, but contributing donation was something new for me. Curiously, I furthered the discussion on it. And, patiently my friend familiarised me with the whole concept of tax deduction on charity, the gist of which I have narrated below.

Food for children

Witnessing the impactful groundwork of NGOs, the Government of India has made a provision wherein contributing donations to registered NGOs or charitable trusts can exempt you from paying taxes on the donated amount under Section 80G. You can either claim for 100% or 50% exemption on the donated amount based upon the NGO you have donated and the terms set by the Income Tax Act. This is applicable for both online donations and offline donations.

For instance, I identify with children-specific causes such as the right to education, child rights, and child health and development. So, I chose to contribute my taxable income to The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO for children implementing the Mid-Day Meal Programme in association with the Central Government of India and various State Governments. The Mid-Day Meal Programme is an initiative that provides freshly cooked nutritious school lunch to government school and government-aided school children on all school days. And, Akshaya Patra aims at providing ‘unlimited food for education’ with the intention of supporting the education of children. This NGO has been in the service of children for the past 17 years, with a current beneficiary base of over 1.6 million children across 34 locations in 12 states of India. The tangible impact of Akshaya Patra is clearly visible in the stories of children and the impact studies that have been conducted in association with third-party research agencies.

Personally, I was convinced with the service of Akshaya Patra and decided to make my foray into charity by donating to the Foundation. For more information on charity tax exemption, just click on tax-deductible donations. I am glad that I am saving tax by supporting millions of children, and would suggest everyone to connect with the cause.

Do items in your shopping basket add up to Rs. 95?

“Your total bill amount is Rs. 3,542”, said the cashier as he handed over the bill to me.
I took out my wallet, paid him the amount. And, as he was packing the items in a bag, I wondered ‘has my needs increased, am I buying impulsively, or has the prices of the commodities skyrocketed.’

Shopping basket

Graphically speaking, I fail to understand how my grocery bill constantly shows an upward trend every month. I don’t remember when was the last time somebody handed me a bill of below Rs. 1,000. It does bother me, but again with the usual humdrum and busy schedule, I forget about it until the next shopping. And, then came the moment of truth when on a regular day at work, I saw my colleague donating to an NGO named The Akshaya Patra Foundation. After she finished her transaction, I enquired about the NGO. Her reply completely left me amazed.

She said, “Akshaya Patra is an NGO for children that provide food to government school children on every school day. The NGO has been operating the school meal programme for the past 17 years. It has a pan-India presence and presently serves school lunch to more than 1.6 million children.” At this, I stopped her and said that it must be a really expensive affair because grocery for one household itself costs somewhere between Rs. 2,500 – Rs. 3,000. My colleague smiled and said, “Akshaya Patra feeds 3 children for an entire year with Rs. 2,850.” And, she pointed towards the donation page of the NGO. I was totally stumped at what I had just heard and what I was seeing on the screen.

She added, “Though I am in a situation where I can afford food, I know how the hunger pangs feel. On the days when I have to skip my breakfast and rush to office, or skip my lunch to complete a report, my body and mind give up. It becomes very difficult to remain focussed on what I am doing. Well then, what about those children who aren’t even sure of getting their next meal. This particular fact drew me to support Akshaya Patra’s cause because their effort ensures at least one nutritious meal per day. That’s why on every special occasion like my birthday, my parents anniversary or during festivals I make online donations for NGO.”

And, before I could process all that she was saying, my colleague scrolled down the page and said, “When you donate to Akshaya Patra, you also become eligible for 80G deduction on your donated amount. This means the amount you donate becomes eligible for tax exemption, a benefit that you can utilise at the time of income tax filing.”

That evening, to find answers to the innumerable questions popping in my head, I read up on the humongous task that Akshaya Patra is doing. In the end, I realised that maybe I can never bring down my grocery bill, but I sure can ensure nutritious meals for children for an entire year with an amount less than my monthly grocery expense. And convinced with Akshaya Patra’s endeavour, I took my first ever step towards contributing charity!

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!

School Days Are Here Again!

Crisp school uniforms, new compass boxes, polished shoes and packed school bags – it is time to welcome these sights again, as rain-soaked days herald the start of a brand new school year. After the lulls of the summer vacations, going back to school is a bittersweet experience indeed. No longer is it possible to sleep late into the morning or play and watch one’s favourite television programmes all day. It is now back to the old familiar – school friends, classes, homework and the discipline of following a schedule throughout the day.

back-to-school

The reopening of schools also brings with it the most delightful hour in the bustle of school life – the lunch break. This is the most anticipated time of the day, as growling stomachs need to be silenced with a healthy, wholesome meal. Good nutrition is imperative to the physical, mental and emotional development of children. After all, who, be it adult or child, can think straight with hunger clawing at their gut? Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO for children that provides mid-day meals to 1.4 million kids across India, ensures that not only do children go back to school, but they stay there too.

In a country like India where hunger and malnutrition cripples the educational performance of children and even leads them to desist from the pursuit of education, it is imperative that an incentive like free mid-day meals be implemented. Education is the magic spell that needs to be cast for empowering children and this can only be done if, like their privileged counterparts, the socioeconomically underprivileged too have a full stomach.

Don’t let food be a mere thought for a child.

Your contribution could help keep a kid in school. Donate to NGO now!

Giving Every Dream A Chance- An Akshaya Patra Initiative

Akshaya Patra serves wholesome nutritious meals to the children. The NGO for children aspires to be the mentor for these torchbearers, so that they would not be devoid of their dreams. Akshaya Patra understands that nobody is bigger than their dreams and that every dream should be given a chance. So the dream project ‘Giving Every Dream a Chance’ was propelled where dreams would become a reality and no dream would ever miss its chance.

dream

It is dreams, thoughts and aspirations that make a child. Every child dreams big, irrespective of their circumstances. Their dreams know no bounds. They dream of their education, ambitions, wealth and career. They aim to be an engineer, a police officer, a teacher, a nurse and what not! Not many would dream to be a chef, an astronomer or an actress. Let us meet some Akshaya Patra beneficiaries who dream to transform ingredients into delicious food, who dream of the skies that hordes the stars and who crave to recreate the world anew through acting skills in front of a favourite actor.

The project is an endeavour to make the dreams come true for the three Akshaya Patra beneficiaries who were exclusively selected out of the multitudes of children that auditioned across 40 schools in Bangalore. The NGO was proud to present the dreams of its beneficiaries Manjula, Shivu and Shekar on June 11, 2016 at Vivanta by Taj. Manjula aspired to be an actress; Shivu, an astronomer and Shekar, a chef. Recognizing their passion, Akshaya Patra assisted them with a two-month long mentorship program wherein the children were coached, groomed and guided by the experts in their concerned fields. The motive behind the project was to assure the children that their dreams are valid as well as promote their dreams to become true.

manjula-01

Manjula – The Debuting Actress

The founder of Bangalore School of Speech & Drama, Dr. Zulfia Shekh mentored Manjula. The mentorship programme not only nurtured her as an aspiring actor but also brought forward the opportunity of playing the role of “Kittur Rani Chennamma” in the play staged at the end of her mentorship programme Akshaya Patra further surprised her by managing to get the veteran Akul Balaji, her role model to attend her debut performance as audience.

Watch the video of Manjula’s dream:

shivu-01

Shivu – The Aspiring Astronomer

Shivu was put under the mentorship of Ms Preethi Krishnamurthy, Senior Research Fellow in Astrophysics. Under her tutoring sessions and practical guidance on astrophysics, Shivu explored the marvels of the skies and the cosmos. At the end of the mentorship program Shivu successfully created a working model of a telescope followed by a presentation regarding constellations.

Watch the video of Shivu’s dream:

shekar-01

Shekar – The Aspiring Chef

Chef Ramasamy Selvaraju, executive chef at the Vivanta by Taj Hotel mentored Shekar in cooking.  He personally trained the boy in various kitchens of Vivanta which gave him a unique opportunity to work with the staff of Vivanta. Taj is even providing him financial assistance to pursue his education to fulfil his dreams. At the culmination of the mentorship programme, Shekar prepared a stylish spread that left the expert panel of judges mesmerised.

Watch the video of Shekar’s dream:

In India, the aspirations and dreams of the rich and poor are differentiated by the income of their parents. Everyone has a dream deep within but to make the dream come true is not a joke. So the NGO for children will continue to provide platforms for the talented children with diverse passions and interests in meeting their dreams. The aim of the project is to ensure continued support to children, mentorship programs to nurture talents as well as identify and nurture many more dreams across locations. The organisation aims at providing scholarship support to 100 children who dares to dream differently.

For more details on the event held at Vivanta by Taj log on to https://www.akshayapatra.org/giving-every-dream-a-chance