Feeding children with nutritious mid-day meals in Uttar Pradesh

Jacques Diouf once said – hunger is not an issue of charity, it is an issue of justice.

Feeding the hungry, therefore, cannot be a one-time job or a temporary charity. It needs to be a mission of a lifetime till this social evil is completely erased. Akshaya Patra is an NGO that’s currently serving mid-day meals alongside the government in various schools around the country as an attempt to feed the hungry.

Nutritious meals

Apart from other parts of India, the NGO is serving mid-day meal in Uttar Pradesh in two cities – Lucknow and Vrindavan. The NGO has ISO-certified centralised kitchens in Lucknow and Vrindavan that are able to serve a total of 2,11,680 children.

Due to these mid-day meals, the NGO is not only able to feed the hungry in Uttar Pradesh but also bring school children back to studies. The NGO’s mid-day meal menu has been modified as per the local palate of Lucknow and Vrindavan. Akshaya Patra serves roti with locally cooked vegetables in Uttar Pradesh as against its South Indian palate. The centralised kitchens that are serving these meals take utmost care in parameters such as nutrition, hygiene, quantity of food etc. This ensures that the children don’t just get a meal but are able to truly enjoy a healthy diet every school day.

The government schools that are benefitted by the NGO in Uttar Pradesh have testified a rise in school attendance due to the serving of mid-day meals. Akshaya Patra has made it its mission to feed the hungry and bring children back to school by combining the two causes intelligently.

The NGO needs more contributors in order to expand its reach in more cities in Uttar Pradesh. You can sponsor a child today.

Sponsor a child on World Day against Child Labour

The International Labour Organisation had launched the World Day against Child Labour in 2002 which is observed every year on June 12th. This year as the world pledges to protect children from child labour in conflicts and disasters, let us pledge to sponsor a child in order to secure his healthy upbringing and educational growth.

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The World Day against Child Labour 2017 focuses on the impact of conflicts and disasters on child labour. Around 200 million people are affected by disasters every year, of which a third are children. A major proportion of the 168 million children engaged in child labour live in areas affected by conflict and disaster. The challenge is to feed the children, protect them from mental and physical consequences of disasters and provide them with the basic necessities of life.

Child labour is equally rampant in India and several charitable organisations are striving hard to eliminate the evil through awareness and protection. A lot of these children are found working haphazard conditions and are dropped out of school due to financial responsibilities. A charitable organisation in India Akshaya Patra, thus, is trying to root out this problem through taking mid-day meals to schools. That way, the organisation is able to feed the children, thereby, luring them to attend schools. The parents, therefore, understand now that the whole challenge of feeding all their children is met by simply sending their children to schools. This has significantly raised the school attendance in government schools while also reducing the number of child workers around the country.

Many charitable organisations in India are encouraging individual donors to sponsor a child by donating a meager amount. Akshaya Patra also has a simple plan for sponsoring a child by contributing merely Rs 950/- that would help feed a child for a year. As a result, the child automatically gets education since he is motivated to come to school for his share of wholesome lunch.

One of the most efficient ways to eliminate child labour would be to eliminate the reason for child labour. These reasons are orphaned children, financial responsibilities on children due to a large number of family members to feed, dropping out of school due to disinterest, illiteracy and so on. These children are often desperately put on jobs and therefore must endure the haphazard conditions, low salaries and over-work. Charitable organisations like Akshaya Patra are engaging volunteers to feed the children and use mid-day meals as an incentive to attend schools. Several stories of hope tell the tale of the success of this approach since beneficiary children are learning the importance of education and are working hard. Many of these children are learning to have dreams and aspirations in life, they are inspiring others to study hard and are bringing their siblings to school.

This is surely a good way to eliminate both hunger among children and exploitation of children. As the world observes the day against child labour, you can choose to join the cause of feeding the children and thus indirectly impacting the cause of eliminating child labour.

Sponsor a child today. Donate for Akshaya Patra.

What happens when you sponsor a child?

Bhanupriya is a student of Class VII at the Government Higher Primary School in Jyothipura, Bengaluru. She is 13 years old now and wishes to be a doctor. This young girl loves to wear the doctor’s coat and do a mock examination of patients with the stethoscope and listen to their heart’s beats. When she grows up, she wishes to treat poor patients free of cost. This is what happens when donors sponsor a child. It is more than just a charity donation.

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Bhanupriya, who is a beneficiary of children’s charity Akshaya Patra in Bengaluru, is not alone. Like her, there are millions of children who are now motivated to attend schools regularly since they get a wholesome lunch free of cost at the premises. So families that may not be able to afford to feed their children with wholesome meals three times a day, have to simply send their children to schools. In school, there is an assurance of receiving freshly-cooked lunch!

Sponsoring a child thus has now become more than just a charity; it’s now taken the shape of a revolution for incentivising children to attend schools. The children, on the other hand, have learnt to value education like never before. They have clear goals. A lot of beneficiaries of this children’s charity in Bengaluru make their career plans when they enter their teen years.

Teachers and staff often testify about several children who have inspired their classmates about the importance of pursuing goals in life. Every school year thus brings the excitement of not only getting nutritious meals every day but also as a lucrative prospect for making and realising life’s goals for the children.

As a donor, here’s the volume of difference that a small amount towards sponsoring a child can make. All you need to do is choose to donate today.

3 Ways Every Student Can Stay Organised!

The school year is back with the same excitement and anticipation. Aren’t you looking forward to it? But how would you spend this school year differently?

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We at Akshaya Patra, one of the children’s charities engaged in feeding the hungry, work for children who are excited to come back to school every year. We have some ideas for you to stay organised this year.

Write down your timetable and carry it with you

Writing down your class timetable twice can save you from a lot of hassles like late arrival or missing a class. Write down your timetable at the back of a classwork notebook and always carry it in your class. Keep one timetable always pasted on the wall of your house for reminders.

Keep your bag organised

How many times have you been rebuked in class simply because you forgot to carry your homework copy? That happens when you fail to organise your schoolbag. Now that you have already written down your timetable, make sure you keep your bag organised according to it.

Carry your daily needs

Apart from books, what do you need in your bag? Is it a handkerchief, a water bottle, a box containing pencils and pens? Make sure you carry all your daily needs in your bag. Nobody likes boys and girls who always borrow things like pencils or erasers from other students. This habit will make you self-sufficient and also help you value your belongings.

Children, now that you are back to school, make the new academic year’s resolution to always keep your things safe. There are children who cannot afford these things and often, children’s charities all over India have to work hard to get these children some basic school needs. Do you know that many organisations work to help such children?

Akshaya Patra is on a mission of feeding the hungry through its school lunch programme. If you know anyone who can contribute in this cause, do encourage them to sponsor a child, so they can help that child get both food and education. Spread the good news today.

3 tips to prepare yourself for the next academic year!

A few more weeks and you will be back to school. Are you prepared to face another academic year? If not, here are a few fun tips to help you get into the school state of mind once again.

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Learn the tables

 You will definitely have the new year’s syllabus and Math would get more advanced but there’s one thing that you can never outgrow – multiplication tables. How many tables do you remember from last year? Gather all your friends every evening and take turns leading each other in recalling various tables. If you work on your math, you can later become a pilot, or go for engineering or join the Indian army just like 13-year-old Lakshmi from Hubballi. She is good at math and is serious about her career. She is a beneficiary of the mid-day meal scheme run by a non-profit organisation Akshaya Patra.

Work on your general knowledge

Do you know who’s the President of India or President of the United States? Do you know the largest state in India? Ask your friends around you, ask your parents. Get yourself old newspapers and see if they have this information! Work on your general knowledge as you gear up to attend another academic year. It would not only get you good grades but also make you smarter than other peers.

Practise painting

Do you like drawing or painting? Did you get a chance to practise these in summer vacation? If not, you can do so now. These activities open up creative faculties in your mind, making you smarter and sharper. Meet Pawan, a 14-year-old school student from Mysuru. He regularly practises his painting skills and wishes to become an artist when he grows up. How wonderful! Pawan goes to school every day because he gets a wholesome lunch at school free of cost, thanks to several charity fundraising initiatives from volunteers.

A lot of children like you are excited to get back to school because they are prepared. Many of these children are part of the mid-day meal scheme that’s run by a non-profit organisation Akshaya Patra. They feed wholesome lunch to school children like yourself in various government schools and invite several volunteers for charity fundraising. If you know anyone who can donate or sponsor a child, ask them to join hands.

Let’s bring children #BackToSchool

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Hello May! Akshaya Patra, a children’s charity, welcomes a new month with a topic we all love visiting, something that has stolen space in hearts and something that all the children should have access to: School! As the month goes by, we will talk about bringing children back to school for the next academic year. Meanwhile, you can meet our beneficiaries from around the country.

Sahil from Nagpur, Lakshmi from Hubballi and Pawan from Mysuru are children with life changing aspirations. These children are different from the ordinary because they know that education is as vital as food. They understand that despite all the rules, discipline and a lot of other school things that they may not like a lot, they are being nourished in a growing environment of learning.

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Sahil wishes to be a pilot in the Indian Air Force. This 14-year-old wants to fight for his country and make people proud. He vividly recalls history about freedom fighter Veer Savarkar who was imprisoned in Cellular Jail in Port Blair. He wishes to fly to Port Blair someday so he could re-visit the history he has learned in school. Such is the impact of education on children. Sahil comes to school regularly because a generous donor decided to sponsor the child. That’s precisely what inspires all of us at Akshaya Patra as we prepare for another school year soon. Children like Sahil, Lakshmi and Pawan are now able to truly learn at their schools because they are provided with mid-day meals in the school premises.

We wish to expand our reach and take mid-day meals to more places across India. We often urge our donors to sponsor a child so that more and more children are encouraged to study and go to schools. With a very small contribution alone, you are able to transform the life of children and take them to the light of education.

There are several other ways that you can extend your help. It could be sponsoring a kitchen for a year, donating a vehicle or sponsoring a school.  You could also sponsor a child’s meals for an entire year! Donate today to feed the hungry!

Give Something Back to Society by Volunteering

Volunteering gives you an opportunity to become an attentive citizen of society

Summer holidays have begun! If you have decided to educate your children or peers or even yourself on development issues this summer, you can get in touch with Akshaya Patra to learn about classroom hunger and how the organisation is tackling the issue. In addition to that, you can also volunteer at the kitchen and visit our beneficiary schools.

At Akshaya Patra, an NGO in Gujarat and 10 other states, we identified hunger to be an issue that affected children’s enrolment in schools. For instance, there are more than 3 lakh children who are benefitted by Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme in Gujarat. If not for this incentive, many children would have irregular attendance, a few would choose to opt out of school and others would have to bring food from home which becomes a challenge.

Today, we are feeding fresh meals to over 1.6 million children from government schools and government-aided schools. While the programme continues its operations in 11 states across India, many volunteers have pitched in their time and energy towards Food for Education initiative!

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Akshaya Patra offers various volunteering opportunities in two areas:

(i) Kitchens

Akshaya Patra operates 26 centralised kitchens across 11 states in India. As a volunteer, you can get involved in mid-day meal operations – peeling coconuts, sorting grains, loading and unloading of food, and so on.

(ii) Schools

We currently reach out to over 13,000 schools across the country. As a volunteer, you can serve mid-day meals, interact with children and organise activities for them. If you would like to propose a programme that will benefit the school, you can share the same with us.

By volunteering, you will help society and yourself by lifting up your spirit. If time does not allow you to take up volunteering services, you can sponsor a child’s mid-day meals for a year!

Get Insights on How to Make a Difference by Donating

Have you experienced the feeling of making a difference? It’s fulfilling. Many Akshaya Patra donors have helped Mid-Day Meal Programme in reaching out to millions of school children every day. Whether it’s a small or big amount, we are sure that the amount has made a big impact. Donating not only creates a positive environment for children’s future, but also ensures your good health by leaving you joyous. Incredibly!

How to make a difference by donating?

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If you have not tried donating earlier, you might be a bit skeptical about donating for a cause. What we would like to say is try something small. For example, a simple thing you can do is gift a stationery kit or an exam kit to a child who comes from an economically weak background. Here are two ways you can make a difference by donating towards children’s growth.

Sponsor a child

There are millions of Akshaya Patra beneficiaries whose responsibility could be in your hands. Out of millions of children we reach out to, you could take responsibility of one by donating Rs 950. This amount ensures the child receives mid-day meals for an entire year! Also, the good news is your donation, under section 80G of Income Tax, can get you 100% income tax exemption benefit. All you have to do is choose to sponsor a child.

Pay someone’s fees

Many children drop out of school and colleges due to the burden of fees. While the Indian Government has taken a great initiative to provide free education for children between 6 to 14 years, many children, once they move out of high school, their expenditure blocks them from studying further. You can take the responsibility to identify the person and pay his or her fees for the year! This will fulfill their dreams to learn!

What does Akshaya Patra do?

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an NGO in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and many other states, feeding over 1.6 million school children every day. The organisation takes pride in having encouraged millions of children, through mid-day meals, to enroll in schools and be a part of education system. What makes this organisation the world’s largest NGO-run feeding programme is noteworthy; the organisation began its humble service in the year 2000 with immense support from government, corporates, donors and many volunteers who have contributed to the cause and also donated to charity, the organisation has grown in leaps and bounds.

You can support Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme by donating for this cause while you also have the option to fundraise on our website.

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.

Three Important Reasons Why You Should Give Back

The word ‘Give’ in the context of ‘Giving Back’ has a very interesting meaning to it. According to Etymonline, “The Middle English noun yeve (Give), meant “that which is given or offered; a contribution of money,” often as tribute, or in expectation of something in return.”

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‘Giving back’ usually supersedes with the word society. Ever since, people realized that humanity could make a great difference, the race has been helping communities by empowering them. Similarly, Akshaya Patra has been feeding the children in India to ensure they do not experience classroom hunger.

If you have been thinking of giving back to society, now is the time! We collated three important benefits of giving back and here they are:

You will help someone grow

As an individual, you may want to give back to society by paying someone’s school fees. Many families who come from difficult background are burdened by their children’s schools fees and unable to pay, they choose to send them on work. This could be your chance to give back.

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Giving back will not only help the child be a part of school system, but will also help you grow as a person. To understand the issues deeply and to step up to correct them is our responsibility and by giving back, you will have contributed to the growth of an individual, their family, and their community.

You will build stronger communities

Among many activities, Akshaya Patra regularly organises Health Awareness Programmes for school children with the help of corporates; these programmes include discussions and hygiene kit distribution.

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Kit Distribution

When we as a community go out to help another, it transforms and structures their living standards and also contributes to their health. This includes helping a community with a nursing home, a school, awareness programmes and basic infrastructure. For Akshaya Patra, a children’s charity, registered under section 80G of Income Tax Act, providing a mid-day meal is one way to empower a network a students.

And finally, you will spread happiness!

This is probably the most important reason for the giver and the receiver; happiness. The experience of giving back to society keeps you content! The inner joy of having transformed a life, without expecting returns, is a feeling that words cannot describe.

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Shoe Distribution

To experience this joy, go out and do your noble act that you’ve always wanted to do. Try visiting a school, buying stationery for a child or maybe even a pair of school shoes. The simple things in life tend to leave a curve on your face. Happiness is contagious and so is an act of giving back.

As you call it a day, think of reasons why you should give back to society and when you do, Akshaya Patra’s children will be waiting for your help.

Sponsor a child today!