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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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.

Make a Gift of Wholesome Meals for Children this Ugadi!

 

A new beginning heralds new hopes and dreams, as we bid goodbye to the times that were and look to the future. The festival of Ugadi – as it is called in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and known variously as Yugadi (Karnataka), Gudi Padwa (Maharashtra), Thapna (Rajasthan), Sajibu Nongma Panba (Manipur) and Cheti Chand (in the Sindhi community), marks the New Year for communities across India on March 29, 2017. Spring is in full bloom to welcome the festival, which is celebrated with much enthusiasm, with elaborate rituals and much feasting. On this occasion, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a top NGO in India, would like to wish all its supporters a very Happy Ugadi!

Wide arrays of special dishes are prepared to celebrate Ugadi in its various forms across the country. These include the Puran Poli/Holige/Bobbattu and Ugadi Pachadi among others, which members of a household feast on after they’ve done their ritual worship. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the bounty of nature – food – was available to those who most require it? India’s children—those who carry the promise of a bright New Year and new tomorrow on their shoulders – need to have abundant food for their well-being. A well-fed child is healthy and concentrates well in class; a mid-day meal benefits his or her education and secures it.

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Akshaya Patra has been working tirelessly over the past 17 years to nourish school children in India. The role of NGOs in India is to aid social betterment and Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme is the largest such NGO-run initiative in the world, providing nutritious, wholesome mid-day meals to over 1.6 million children across 11 states in India. The auspicious occasion of Ugadi is a wonderful time to pledge your support to the cause of ‘unlimited food for education’, so that India’s school children do not know classroom hunger and are empowered to pursue their future dreams. All it takes to feed one child for a whole year is a sum of Rs 950. Donate to charity to make the New Year a happy one for these children!

This Holi, Colour a Child’s Life | Donate for a cause

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Celebrated across India with great energy and abundant love, the festival of colours now knocks at your door for a new meaning. Holi 2017 is here and the celebration in India is as exciting! While we create a vibrant atmosphere with colours on this day, let us take a moment to understand how we can make the festival more meaningful.

But before that, why do we celebrate Holi?

A festival for all, Holi marks the arrival of spring with the sky donning a full moon. On this day, farmers come together to offer prayers for a good harvest. The history of Holi from is quite interesting and has great significance; a time when Hiranyakaship’s sister, Holika, protects Prahlad from two obstructions – fire and his father’s pride; depicting a fight of good over evil.

Holi gets its name from this historic event and is in reference with Holika. Even today, many follow the custom of burning Holika’s effigy (known as Holika Dahan). The importance of Holi is not just the fight but letting truth prevail. This Holi, you can pledge to give this day a new meaning – you can help us fight hunger among children.

Being an NGO in India, Akshaya Patra plays the role of children’s guardian. The Foundation provides nutritious mid-day meals to school children and by this, it also encourages children to attend school. Considered as one of the top NGOs in the country, Akshaya Patra reaches out to over 1.6 million school children in India.

How can you make a difference? By supporting a child’s education

As we talk about fighting evil, we would like to highlight the importance of erasing hunger among children. Mid-day meal benefits every child studying in government and government-aided schools while for a few, this meal is the only full meal that they consume for the day.

India is home to millions of malnourished children. To change this condition, many schemes and initiatives have been undertaken by the government and NGOs; Food for Education is one of them. By providing children mid-day meals that are freshly cooked and nutritious, Akshaya Patra aims to achieve two critical UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) – Zero Hunger and Quality Education.

Sponsor a child for year

This Holi, you could take responsibility of a child by donating Rs 950. By contributing this amount, you choose to sponsor the child’s meals for an entire year. Also, the good news is your donation, under section 80G of Income Tax Act, can get you 100% tax exemption benefit. All you have to do is choose to sponsor a child.

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.

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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.

Are you looking for a tax exemption? Try donating for a cause

Have you thought of making a donation and also earn tax exemption? It’s simple. As per IT sec 35AC/ 80GGA, if you make a donation of Rs 500 or more to Akshaya Patra, you will be eligible for a 100% tax exemption.

What is Tax Exemption?

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an NGO registered under section 35AC of the Income Tax Act 1961. Therefore every donation above Rs 500 made to The Akshaya Patra Foundation is eligible for a 100% tax exemption under Section 80GGA.

The exemption is calculated by reducing the donated amount from your taxable salary. For instance, if your taxable income per year is Rs 200,000 and you make a donation of Rs 5,000 then your net taxable income will become Rs 195,000. Your tax will now be calculated on this new amount basis the prevailing tax rates.

Is it important to donate for a cause?

Yes, if you would like to witness equality and fairness in society. Many NGOs in India and individuals are working towards strengthening the nation by working towards education, empowerment, employment, improvement of living conditions and so on. An NGO’s role in India is of utmost importance today.

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Similarly, Akshaya Patra, an NGO in Bengaluru is working towards children’s education by providing them with fresh nutritious mid-day meals. In the last 16 years of our service, the growth has expanded from 1500 hundred to over 1.6 million beneficiaries pan India, thanks to charity donations. Food for Education is a concept where children are given meals within school premises so to encourage them to attend school. In India, many children often do not go to school and unfortunately, their economic condition is such that they are made to help parents with work or look after their younger siblings at home.

In a situation where there are often far too many mouths to feed, education is given least importance. The most practical solution to this problem is to bring children to school and provide them with one-time meal, known as Mid-Day Meal.

100% Tax Exemption in India

Akshaya Patra is a registered charity for children working across 11 states in India. Donations to Akshaya Patra are eligible for 100% tax exemption in India under Section 35 AC/ 80 GGA of the Income Tax. Under Section 35 AC of the Income Tax act, the Central Government – on recommendation from the National Committee for the Social & Economic Welfare – has notified the Project “Mid-Day Meal Programme run by The Akshaya Patra Foundation” as an eligible project for the allowing of 100% deduction of the contribution made by the Assesse.

When you make a contribution, you receive a certificate of 100% tax exemption benefit along with Thank You letter via courier or post. You may use the certificate to avail the benefit for the respective financial year. There are many reasons to donate to a great cause. This is one of them. Donate to charity today!

The Importance of Healthy Childhood

Nothing is as fraught with significance as healthy childhood because this is where a better future roots. It ensures good physical, mental and emotional health which ultimately contributes to the multifaceted growth of an individual. Unfortunately, many from the marginalised sections of our society are defenseless against undernutrition and the choice of giving up on education. Sad, isn’t it? However, there are exceptions and this is where NGOs’ roles in India come to play. Akshaya Patra, a Bangalore-based prestigious child NGO has been providing selfless service since 16 years and has served more than 2.12 billion quality meals so far.

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As a moral obligation, we too should help in ensuring healthy living conditions for all kids especially the underprivileged ones and help them grow as a fit individual for following reasons.

  1. Healthy food provides good immunity power and reduces disease risk

These days it is common to see children having weak eyesight, low stamina, muscular pain, high vulnerability to cough and cold etc. Most of these general problems are consequences of improper nutrition. It is essential to intake a healthy and balanced diet as it provides vital nutrients for the strengthening of immunity power and hence reduces the risk of diseases in children. At growing age, developing healthy eating habits and good resistance against diseases is relatively easy. So the diets should be accordingly planned.

  1. Healthy meals are the key to the cognitive, physical and social development of children

The quality of meal that children consume determines the overall growth of their body and mind. Their concentration, learning abilities, skills, physique, and interaction habits are all a direct function of how well their bodies are supplied with required nutrients. It is observed that children who are well fed are often more cheerful, intelligent, optimistic and surely healthier. Akshaya Patra, the child NGO of Bangalore, takes good care of this aspect in the meals that it provides. It abides by the dietary norms of central Mid-Day Meal Scheme and the prescribed levels of nutrition. The efforts of such organisations truly prove what great roles the NGOs in India can play in eradicating undernourishment.

  1. Healthy today, better tomorrow

If kids are ensured with a healthy childhood, there are ample chances that the results stay long-term. Good physical and mental development imply good dedication towards education, gaining knowledge, learning moral values, increased productivity, better judgment of right and wrong, and a healthy body of course. Thus a balanced diet including sufficient quantities of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber should be provided as each component has its own contribution to the overall development. We have the power to secure better future by taking care of the nutrition of our children as well as of those who are unaware and helpless.

Undoubtedly, giving some of what we have to ensure a healthy childhood and a better future for all kids is the best gift ever. Donate to sponsor a child’s meals for an entire year!