A sneak-peek into Akshaya Patra’s mega kitchens that feed millions of children

Akshaya Patra Kitchens

Imagine 100,000 meals being cooked in a single kitchen under strict norms of hygiene and quality control. Akshaya Patra’s state-of-the-art centralised kitchens process these meals on a daily basis. Due to their standards of hygiene and technology, they have been featured in National Geographic Channel’s India’s Mega Kitchens as well.

The kitchens follow the six sigma methodology with a pre-scheduled menu and equipment that’s relevant to the specific region. For instance, North Indian kitchens have rice and dal cauldrons with roti making machines while South Indian kitchens have rice and sambar cauldrons.

Ensuring quality every day

The NGO’s kitchens ensure quality all through its centers in India right from the procurement of the raw material. 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.

All the vessels used during cooking are of stainless steel 304 food grade material. Well-trained cooks and supervisors ensure quality control during the cooking for these kitchens run by the top NGO that’s on a mission to feed the children.

Here are few photographs that give you a glimpse of our kitchens:

Big couldrons

Big Couldrons

Centralised Kitchens

Centralised Kitchens

Chopped Vegetables

Chopped Vegetables

Roti Cutting Machine

Roti Cutting Machine

The NGO also conducts training programmes for the cooking staff in various parts of India to make them aware and conscious that since they are feeding nutritious meals to the children, they need to be strict about personal hygiene. Akshaya Patra’s newest kitchen opened recently in Bhavnagar, Gujarat. The kitchen has the capacity to cook mid-day meals for 50,000 children. About 28,000 children from 57 government schools In Bhavnagar will be benefitted by Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meals in the area. Now Akshaya Patra, as one of top NGOs in India, has 28 centralised kitchens and two de-centralised kitchens across India. The Akshaya Patra Foundation operates in 29 locations across 12 States in India feeding over 1.6 million children.

How do NGOs leverage social media to promote their causes?

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Techreport surveyed more than 4,000 NGOs last year across 153 countries about how they were using social media. Turns out, 92% of global non-profit organisations had a website and a Facebook page, 78% of these were mobile-compatible, while 72% used Twitter.

This report alone is proof that NGOs are targeting millennials and Gen-X that are more open to online donations or online fundraising campaigns. Donors now have a wide variety of choices to select a cause they feel most strongly for.

This blog lists some ways that are actively being used by global NGOs as they leverage social media and online channels for charity purposes, online fundraising and other such activities. We have taken the example of a global NGO in India called Akshaya Patra that’s on a mission to feed school-going children with a wholesome lunch every day.

Make success stories sharable

NGOs around the world now understand the impact of stories on social media. And since they are often involved in causes related to human rights, they often have great stories to tell. Akshaya Patra loves sharing Hope Stories that are easily sharable on social media. This encourages visitors to check their website for details such as online fundraising, sponsoring a child or sponsoring a school.

Write linkable tweets on other platforms

NGOs have learnt to leverage attention beyond their own websites and social media pages. They make themselves heard on other prominent platforms such as Forbes, The Huffington Post and others. Akshaya Patra has a small microblog on the online edition of Forbes with the Twitter icon, so that it can be easily shared. Such initiatives have helped people around the world associate mid-day meals with Akshaya Patra.

Sharing history to add credibility

NGOs are quite forthcoming these days about sharing their history and background. They choose compelling storytelling methods to talk about their history to encourage donors for donating to charity and building trust. Akshaya Patra has an interesting history that’s not only presented beautifully on their website but is often shared on various social media platforms in digestible chunks of content.

Use Youtube for visual recall

Youtube is a social channel that’s quite democratic when it comes to widespread reach. Akshaya Patra often shares video stories about important launches, events, its state-of-the-art kitchens and other aspects of its school lunch programme. Recently, noted author Rashmi Bansal’s book launch event had received considerable attention on Youtube. Her book –God’s Own Kitchen – is traces the Foundation’s journey.

Partner with others

A non-profit organisation cannot work alone. It needs like-minded partners. Akhaya Patra partners with startups and enterprises to scale up at various levels. In one such initiative, it partnered with Innovative Alchemy, which helped the organisation to develop an innovative kitchen design that helped scale up its kitchens. Partners like these often share this kind of content on their own social media platforms that further expands the reach of NGOs like Akshaya Patra.

NGOs today are more aware and tech-savvy and are clear about their target audience. This clarity often helps them increase the scope of their causes and source necessary means to implement schemes.

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.

Taking the Leap to Fight Hunger: Expanding Footprints in India

The cause of ‘food for education’ urgently needs a boost and Akshaya Patra is expanding its reach across the country to achieve this. With its mission – ‘No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger’ – the Foundation is marching ahead to erase classroom hunger in India. The role of NGOs in India – to bring about social betterment – is fulfilled by the Foundation in partnership with State and Central governments in India. Its current reach of over 1.6 million beneficiaries, who receive a wholesome mid-day meal every day, is set to take a big leap.

In 2016, the Foundation established its presence in Maharashtra by launching its very first kitchen in the state in Nagpur. In Andhra Pradesh, it added two more kitchens – at Kakinada and Mangalagiri. In neighbouring Telangana, Akshaya Patra laid the foundation stone for its first high-tech mega kitchen at Khandi in Telangana. Come the next academic year, this kitchen will feed more than 1,00,000 children in the region and its construction cost will be borne by the Infosys Foundation, which has donated for education in India by making a contribution of Rs 18.03 crore towards the Foundation for this project.

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December 2016 also saw the Foundation set the stage for a major expansion in Uttar Pradesh. It will set up 11 new kitchens in the state in the districts of Varanasi, Ghaziabad, Agra, Allahabad, Kanpur, Etawah, Kannauj, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Rampur and Ballia. Shri Akhilesh Yadav, Honourable Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP), performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the same, on December 26, 2016 at Lok Bhavan, New Secretariat, Lucknow. These new kitchens will expand the Foundation’s reach to 13 lakh beneficiaries in UP from 2,11,680 children it is presently feeding, benefitting 10,88,320 more children from the next academic year.

To reach out to millions more children in the country and aid their quest for education via nutritious mid-day meals, the Foundation needs the support of all the individuals committed to eradicating classroom hunger. Join Akshaya Patra in nourishing the health and furthering the education of India’s children by making a donation towards it. These donations also avail donors tax exemptions under sections 35AC and 80GGA of the Income Tax Act.

Help secure the future of India’s children. Support ‘unlimited food for education’!

16 Years Ago, Akshaya Patra Began a Journey of Hope

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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.

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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!

The Different Techniques to Ensure Children Enjoy School

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

Fun enforcement or no enforcement

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

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Appreciation

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

Plan sumptuous lunch

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

Assure help in homework

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

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

5 Ways to Get Involved with Akshaya Patra

Surya is born into a family whose monthly income is not more Rs 3,000. While his father toils to feed the family every day, he knows that someday, Surya would have to attend school to be more self-reliant. At the age of five, he is admitted to the closest government school. His father is motivated to send Surya to school for various reasons—free education, an opportunity to socialise and most importantly, a wholesome and nutritious mid-day meal served every day!

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO in India, strives to feed the hungry children everyday by implementing mid-day meal programme in schools across the country. Currently, the Foundation is feeding over 1.5 million government school children in 10 states of India. You can get involved too and experience the journey of eliminating hunger among school children.

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Here are five ways to get involved with this children’s NGO that runs the world’s largest school lunch programme:

  1. Connect with the purpose: Akshaya Patra, an NGO for children, aims to end classroom hunger by feeding nutritious meals to school children on every school day. In the year 2000, the organisation was founded on the belief that no child should be deprived of education due to hunger and that has been the roadmap of this Foundation’s journey. When you empathise with the cause, you are a step closer to making India a hunger-free country for children.
  2. It only costs Rs 750: A young student in a government school gets free lunch for an entire year and that is possible through your small but significant contribution. It costs only Rs 750 to feed a child for a year to ensure that his/ her education is not interrupted. You can donate to charity and also benefit from 100% tax exemption on the donation. Small amounts, when accumulated, greatly enrich children’s lives.
  3. Create your own fundraising campaign: While there are many donation options, you also have a choice of creating a personalised online fundraising campaign on the Foundation’s website or on Akshaya Patra’s mobile app. Once a campaign is created, you can share it with your friends and together, reach out to more children.
  4. Download Akshaya Patra mobile app: The organisation moves along with technology. Its all-new app helps you extend your support while you are on the go—you can create campaigns, donate and stay updated at the tip of your fingers! The app allows you to search kitchen locations pan India and exhibits the total number of beneficiaries and schools each location is catering to. The mobile app is available on both Android and iOS.

5. Be a volunteer: Giving your time and effort towards a cause can help the society in many ways. When you volunteer with Akshaya Patra, you are not just connected to the cause but you are also exposed to mid-day meal programme and the overall operations of the organisation.

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!

5 Reasons Why You Should Donate To Akshaya Patra

Meera, a 10-year-old girl, was expected to stay at home and help her mother with daily chores. Due to several financial constraints in the house, her interest in attending school was crushed. Soon, her school implemented mid-day meal scheme to encourage children to attend school. As much as it worked in favour of the scheme, it also assured Meera’s parents of one nutritious meal for their daughter. Meera’s education resumed.

It has been over 16 years since The Akshaya Patra Foundation began its humble journey by feeding hot and nutritious food to 1500 school children in Bengaluru. Today, this NGO in India feeds more than 1.5 million school children across 10 states in the country. Here are five reasons why you should donate to charity and support Akshaya Patra’s cause:

  1. Eradicate Classroom Hunger

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India has witnessed a rapid change in reducing many social issues. However, classroom hunger continues to be one of the battles on the ground. Akshaya Patra, one of India’s NGOs, aims to omit classroom hunger by implementing mid-day meal scheme in government schools across the nation. When a child is fed nutritious and tasty meal, learning becomes easier—for it is the mind that needs nourishment to learn.

  1. Achieve Universal Education

Akshaya Patra Beneficiaries Mang

Akshaya Patra began with a vision that ‘no child in India should be deprived of education due to hunger.’ It is one of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 to ensure quality education for all. With this belief, we are heading towards achieving 100% school enrolment. When children are assured of a wholesome meal in school itself, they are encouraged to learn and socialise among their classmates—this builds their knowledge and personality. Many schools in India have observed an increase in school enrolment since the implementation of mid-day meal programme.

  1. Be Aware of Social Issues

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By getting involved with Akshaya Patra’s cause, you will be able to educate yourself about issues revolving around hunger and education among children in India. We believe when people come together to make a change in the society, it creates a substantial impact.

  1. Get Benefits: 100% Tax Exemption

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You as a donor can avail tax exemption with Akshaya Patra which is registered under section 35 AC/80 GGA of the Income Tax Act 1961. It allows resident taxpayers to sanction 100% tax exemption for every donation above Rs. 500.

  1. We Are Making Progress

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For Akshaya Patra, it’s been a journey of perseverance. The organisation has dedicated itself to the cause of eradicating hunger among school children in India and the voyage has been successful—from 1500 children to over 1.5 million children every day. It is of course with the support from Central Government, State Governments and donors that we are able to reach more children every day.

You can get involved too. When you attempt to donate to charity, it is a win for societal change. You can add Rs. 750 to our donation jar which will ensure a child’s wholesome and nutritious mid-day meals for an entire year.

School Admission Time for the Beneficiaries of Akshaya Patra

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The schools are reopening after the summer vacation. The children are filled with hopes for a new beginning and a new start and they dream to remain in the class rooms if circumstances are favourable. The parents of children from low economic backgrounds in Government schools find it a challenge in sending their children to schools. Most of them cannot afford to give their children a proper meal a day and as a result educating their children remains a distant dream. For them, feeding their children is of utmost importance than educating them.  As a result, education tends to be secondary. So, NGOs in India, like Akshaya Patra takes up the responsibility of feeding children in Government schools in partnership with the Government of India. The organisation works to make sure hunger won’t remain a constraint for children to come to schools.

Government School Children

As the children are getting ready for schools after the summer vacation, the organisation is also ready to welcome the children with nutritious and wholesome meal so that the children have the energy to focus in class rooms.  Akshaya Patra is serving mid-day meals to 1.5 million children in 24 locations across 10 states of India, providing them with freshly cooked meal on all school days. To provide children with fresh, warm, nutritious food at the right place and at the right time is not as easy as we think it to be. To retain the quality and excellence tireless efforts are required. The entire kitchens of Akshaya Patra have to prepare tonnes of dal, sambar, rice, rotis, khichadi, different types of pulao, sweet rice, kheer and kadhi maintaining proper hygiene and quality.

Akshaya Patra Mega Kitchen

The kitchens are equipped with rice cauldrons, sambhar cauldrons, roti-making machines, kneading machines and equipment’s of the latest technology. The organisation keeps adopting new technology for maximum results.

The vacation time for Akshaya Patra is a time for making necessary renovations and changes, buying machines to enhance the kitchens. The processes in the kitchen are never-ending which always require proper maintenance to bring out the best results.  This NGO in India has earned a name for its quality and excellence and for being among the largest provider of midday meals to government schools in the country.

Just as the children are making preparations to come to school with new books, pencils and other school accessories, Akshaya Patra also sees to it that kitchen is under proper condition for welcoming the students to the new period of hopes and dreams by feeding the children. The organisation is striving hard to welcome them and retain them in class rooms so that they remain healthy, strong and intelligent with full attendance for the entire year.

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To make sure that the organisation keeps up with its good work for a noble cause, let us donate to Akshaya Patra and help it to keep serving nutritious mid-day meals to the children.  Let us be a reason of smile to the children and their parents and be a part with the NGO to give children a progressive future.

To read the continued part, visit: School Admission Time – 1