National Education Day: There’s a need to strengthen educational institutions

National Education Day

The National Education Day, the annual observance to commemorate the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first education minister of independent India. It is the day commemorated to strengthen the educational institutions in the country and raise the quality of education.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad served from August 15, 1947 to February 2, 1958. He laid foundations of the education system after the country became independent. He was instrumental in establishing national education system wherein free and compulsory education, until the age of 14, was introduced. An institution like Indian Institutes of Technology was also brought in under his guidance in the year 1951. He introduced University Grants Commission in 1953. His contribution in the development of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and the Faculty of Technology of the Delhi University has been phenomenal. He gave importance to adult literacy.

The late South African President and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela said: ‘‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’’ Mandela hit the nail on the head in a way that the informed individuals understand their rights and duties.

Role of NGOs is crucial in ensuring that no one is left out of the education system. The Akshaya Patra Foundation has been playing a major role in ensuring that children stay in school and hence, it today reaches over 1.6 million children across the country.

The objective of celebrating the National Education Day should be to strengthen our educational institutions and raise the quality of education. It should be an occasion to remember Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s contribution in laying the foundations of the education system in Independent India as well as to evaluate performance in this field. This would go a long way in advancing India as a knowledge economy and society.

It’s also an occasion to focus on finding means to educate the people left out of the system for various reasons. Any help extended towards achieving this, through NGOs, for instance, are considered tax deductible donations.

For strong institutions and a robust education system, we not only need the adequate infrastructure, but also need good teachers who not only teach what’s prescribed in the syllabus, but are in fact, inspiring and turn the students thinking individuals.

For achieving this, the system needs to ensure that there is the right type of training given to teachers. While Akshaya Patra ensures children attend school every day by incentivising them with food, charity donations from individuals can ensure that this can be minimised.

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Role of NGOs in uplifting children

Non-government organisations often take up charity for children because they know children are the future of the nation. There’s a long list of NGOs in Bangalore that are involved in the causes related to children.

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Among them is a prominent NGO in Bangalore, Akshaya Patra that provides food and education to children through charity resources. This specific charity for children aims at reducing classroom hunger, thereby, bringing children to schools. NGOs like this are playing a crucial role in eradicating both hunger and illiteracy among children. The NGO in Bangalore follows a certain guideline which is used while preparing a wholesome lunch in their kitchen. With its state-of-the-art kitchens that prepare hygienic food, the NGO ensures that more and more schools are added in the list of serving the food in Bangalore schools.

This cause also encourages parents to send their children to school and gives them an equal opportunity to study as well as get a healthy meal. Akshaya Patra believes that both physical and mental growth of children could be stunted if they are not served nutritious food.

Even as the government in India strives to make primary education free and compulsory for children, school drop-out rate continues to rise. And the major cause of this rise is classroom hunger. The only effective way to eliminate this cause is to serve wholesome mid-day meals in schools so children are motivated to attend schools every day.

The NGO gives its well-wishers an opportunity to contribute towards this charity by inviting online donations, encouraging people towards online fundraising campaigns and partnering with corporate sector for resources and volunteers. You can also play a major role in helping NGOs such as Akshaya Patra by choosing to contribute in whatever way you can. Sponsor a child today!

 

How can parents prepare their child for the school year?

Children are usually both nervous and excited when going back to school after vacation. But if the parents keep their cool and help them, the children can confidently look forward to the new school year. Here are some tips to help you prepare your child:

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Make a supply list

Children dread a scolding or punishment at school over small things like lunch box, shoes or bag. Make sure you create a supply list way ahead of school and have everything ready for the first day. Your role as a parent is similar to the role of several NGOs like Akshaya Patra that are working in India for sending millions of children back to school every year.

Talk to them about their fears

Parents must be clear about what their child is dreading most about school. This will ensure that the children aren’t bullied at school and will give them the confidence to face their fears. Listen to them and ensure that they don’t suffer from separation anxiety as they get into the habit of leaving home every day.

Drop them off the first day

If possible, drop your children on the first day or first week of the school to instil a sense of protection and confidence. Throughout the time, prepare them for school, tell them about the exciting things that await them at school and what all they can do in the new school year.

Involve them for a cause

One of the best ways to make children value education is to get involved in meaningful causes such as donating for mid-day meals in India. You may choose to donate for education in India through online fundraising campaigns with Akshaya Patra. The role of this NGO is to bring dropped-out children back to school by providing them with wholesome meals. You can donate for education in India or involve your children in an online fundraising campaign so that they learn the importance of school.

As you prepare your children for another school year, remember that there are several NGOs working to play a vital role in bringing millions of children back to school. You can contribute as well by simply involving yourself in online fundraising campaign or donating online.

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’!

How Effective are Food for Education Programmes

If you’re reading this, you should call yourself fortunate. If going back home reminds you of delicious home-cooked food, you should call yourself fortunate. You’re fortunate because you’ve had the opportunity to learn and you’ve always got a tiffin box to carry in your bag or some money in the pocket for buying lunch.

Not many know that India is a home to 33% of world’s undernourished children. How can we not think of helping them? When you’ve more than you need, you should build a bigger table, not a higher fence. Seeing the present context, we need more supporters and food for education programs to get down to showing deep concern, spreading awareness, donating funds and providing healthy meals as an incentive to boost enrolment.

Akshaya Patra recently published its NGO annual report 2015-16 which gives insights into how the organisation reaches out to millions of children. Here’s how Akshaya Patra set forth in the path of reaching out to millions of children and are changing their lives.

A growth that’s no less than massive

Akshaya Patra has grown slowly and steadily. From 1,500 children a day to over 1.6 million children, the growth has been rising. It demonstrates that the role of NGO has always been aboard and determinant toward the goal of providing unlimited food for education. They’ve gone the extra mile, not only in well-managed technology, logistics, quality, and finance but also in strategies for sustainable working. The Foundation has gained trust of the philanthropic donors and beneficiaries as well.

Food for Education motivates children to pursue their dreams

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Children from the marginalised sections of society often wait to pursue their dreams. Food for Education programmes help them in doing this. The blue buses at Akshaya Patra not only carry freshly cooked nutritious meals to 1.6 million children across India but also the smile and hope to get good food. Ambitious beneficiaries like Dashrath Chauhan, Anjali Batti, Saraswathi, and Chetan are some of our much prized stories of hope.

Involvement of public

It is essential for a public-private relationship based organisation to have provisions for public’s involvement. Without the generous help from well-wishers, it is not possible for an NGO to function at all. These organisations act as a medium for the society to show compassion towards the needy. Akshaya Patra provides several opportunities such as fundraising, campaigning, volunteering, partnering and donating online to get involved in this endeavor of eradicating undernourishment and ensuring access to education for all. For accomplishing its mission of feeding 5 million children by 2020, Akshaya Patra gives a shout-out to everyone who is willing to help those in dire need.

Akshaya Patra, an NGO based in Bengaluru, runs Mid-Day Meal Programme in 11 states of India.

To read in Hindi, visit: about NGO in Hindi.

What and Why of Children’s Day in India

There’s much happy ring to the greeting – Happy Children’s Day. In India, it’s a special day dedicated to children – a day to recognise children as precious gifts and that they deserve to be cherished. The credit for celebrating children on November 14 every year goes to India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. He was fondly called Chacha Nehru by the children.

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November 14 is Nehru’s birthday and he preferred to celebrate it as Children’s Day. He once said: “I like being with children and talking to them and, even more, playing with them. For the moment I forget that I am terribly old and it is very long ago since I was a child.” It’s with this spirit that we undertake food projects with various schools around India and bring mid-day meals with the help of the government to school children.

Many children in India struggle with getting quality food and education, and this is where the role of NGOs has been pivotal. Akshaya Patra is one of the children’s charities that have put a strong foot forward to reach out to more and more children with its Mid-Day Meal Programme. So far, this children’s charitable organisation has reached 13,210 government and government-aided schools in 26 locations across 11 states of India.

Why we must celebrate children?

On Children’s day, various schools and children’s charities organise cultural programmes & competitions to encourage children with getting involved in the fun-filled activities. Serving over 2.12 billion meals to children all over India since 2009, Akshaya Patra has been doing every bit to bridge the gap and help children celebrate various occasions to the fullest. It’s important that we must celebrate Children’s Day because in doing so, we are investing in our own future, our own society. Children are like clay and we have the responsibility of molding them into beautiful pots. 

Akshay Patra gives you a chance to be the child’s ray of hope, add to the moments of joy in their lives and be a part of their growth story. Wondering how? You can write a blog and spread the word about our initiative, or you can engage with us on social media and share our posts with your connections/friends, or you can even create awareness among people through active fundraising campaigns.

Help a child get closer to his dream

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Bhanupriya studies at a school in Bengaluru where Akshaya Patra Mid-Day meals are served. She dreams of becoming a doctor and wants to treat poor patients for free. And for that, she knows that she needs to study well and get good grades. So in order to help her achieve this, Akshaya Patra provides her food that is delicious and will help her grow into a healthy being. Just like Bhanupriya, many other children all over India are now getting better food and better education. You too can be someone who could help a child and get him closer from dream to reality.

Sponsor a Child for a Better Future!

Make this Children’s Day more rewarding for someone who is still living in hope of a bright future. While NGOs play their role, they need your support and encouragement as well. You can do that by donating an amount of Rs 950 for a year to begin with, as it would hold immense value for that one child whose life will be impacted for a lifetime. Sponsor a Child TODAY!

Serving Hope in Every Meal by Akshaya Patra

As a baby, you’d cry for food and as a school child, you would run home right after the school bell rang because your stomach groaned for food. Your mother would then serve you a little snack to help you along with your homework. After a good wholesome dinner, you would call it a day! However, this isn’t the case for many children in our country simply because their situation does not allow them to expect a meal. If you’ve been cared for, how about you donate in honour of someone who looked after you? Read on to know why your contribution can make a difference in a child’s life.

India is home to one-third of the world’s poor and millions of children in the country are away from school to earn a single meal a day. Although hunger is a prevailing condition, we believe there are sufficient resources to provide food for children in the country. The role of NGOs have expanded drastically over the years and at The Akshaya Patra Foundation, it is a promise kept to feed a wholesome meal to the underserved children across many states. With an ever-growing dedication, The Foundation has been feeding nutritious meals to more than 1.5 million children in India and aims to reach 5 million children by 2020.

Akshaya Patra beneficiary in Karnataka

Since its inception, The Foundation’s cause has been receiving generous support from many individuals, organisations and the Government. With the growing support, we believe we can help children escape classroom hunger. Most of our beneficiaries do not miss school only because they are served nutritious mid-day meals every day. For Ashwini, who is benefitting from Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meal programme, it is important that her studies are not interrupted due to a devastating situation in the family. In Ashwini’s life, each mid-day meal plays an important role by encouraging her to attend school on a regular basis. To know more of Ashwini’s hopes and that of other children’s whose education is assured through mid-day meals, you can visit hope stories.

Children benefiting from Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meals are more than encouraged to continue their studies with a hope of achieving something big—for it is hunger that steals their right to learn. When a child has to strive for food or sleep on an empty stomach, it creates an injustice to the humanity itself. By bringing nutritious food closer to children, Akshaya Patra helps them concentrate on education because when the school bell rings, they can run to the playground instead.

You can care for our cause too!

Akshaya Patra Inititative5

Our focus continues to be hunger relief among school goers through nutritious mid-day meals every day! To ensure that a child is not deprived of education due to hunger, you can contribute Rs. 750 which feeds a child for an entire year! You can also make your contribution by donating in honour of someone you admire. By this, you not only honour an individual but you also honour the cause of ensuring that children are fed.