I have some very exciting news to share!
The Akshaya Patra Foundation has accomplished the significant milestone of serving one billion meals to school children in India from the program’s inception. To commemorate this momentous occasion legendary singer and brand ambassador Shankar Mahadevan composed and sung a special song written by Javed Akthar and performed it live at the celebration in Bangalore on August 5th. The music video accompanying the song was also released and can be viewed at the link below.
Akshaya Patra’s leadership has called this occasion not only a time for celebration but a time for introspection into what has been accomplished over the last 11 years and what should be accomplished in the years to come. The organizations goal is to serve 5 million children by 2020 but there was also talk of diversifying the mid day meal program to address other challenges, such as safe drinking water and sanitation. While our core focus will remain the mid day meal program we have pledged to find ways to address these other concerns in the communities we serve.
One of the most interesting remarks at the celebration came from Mohan Das Pai who spoke of Akshaya Patra's desire to end its program by 2030. “We hope and pray fervently that by 2030 we do not have to run this program”, said Pai. “We want to see an India where there is not hunger, every child has a home, every child has great parent, every child has an education, every child has food on the table, every child has great career, and every child gets all the love and care that the child is due.”
This milestone could not have been achieved without the unstinting efforts, devotion, dedication, support and perseverance of the Akshaya Patra India team, compassionate donors around the world, like YOU, and the Government of India. Lets continue to work together to reach our goal of feeding 5 million children by 2020 and make poverty history!
All the best,
10 year-old Rakesh lives in abject poverty in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. His father, a snake charmer by profession, earns a meager US $15 per day with which he must feed and clothe his large family including his wife, 5 children and himself. Snake charmers in India typically visit towns and villages on market days and during festivals to earn money for their family’s daily subsistence. However, owing to the Wildlife Protection Act, which enforces strict safeguards over snakes, the family’s earning has become threatened and Rakesh’s father has taken to playing music at weddings and celebrations. This fetches him a very sporadic and uncertain income; a threat to the family’s well being. Against this background, the meal that The Akshaya Patra Foundation provides to Rakesh at school is a life line for the family. Studying in grade 5 in Government Higher Primary School in Rajasthan, he is able eat a fresh, nutritious, unlimited meal in school and take a little food home as well.
Rakesh's story is just one out of millions of similar stories across India. Children, just like Rakesh, are forced on a daily basis to make a decision to attend school or go to work to support their family and put food on the table. Akshaya Patra provides an alternative for these children and their families. By providing a freshly prepared, nutritious daily meal in school, children no longer must work due to economic necessities. This meal serves as an incentive for them to come to school, stay in school and focus on learning. A mid day meal also reduces the financial burden on the parents.
On June 13th, GlobalGiving is going to be hosting their second Bonus Day of the 2012, giving supporters like yourself an extra incentive to help children like Rakesh. Starting at 12:01am on June 13th, 2012, GlobalGiving will match online donations made to Akshaya Patra at 50%!!! There is $75,000 in matching funds but once funds have been depleted, no more donations will be matched. GlobalGiving will match up until $1,000 per donor until matching funds run out.
Please consider donating on June 13th to magnify the impact of your donation! Only $15 feeds a child for an entire year so every little bit counts. Also, please check out and share our links below to NPR's broadcast covering Akshaya Patra, an article on our advance technology in Huffington Post, and a super cool video on how we make 40,000 chapattis in just 1 hour!
On behalf of the Akshaya Patra children, thank you for all that you do.
The Akshaya Patra Team
13 year old, Anjali, is a student studying in grade 7. Anjali and her five sisters are supported by her mother who has been employed by the school she studies in, to serve the noon meals given to the children by the Akshaya Patra Foundation. Her mother earns a meager monthly salary of US $10. Her dad is handicapped and hence the family depends on the mother’s income to meet the day-to-day expenditures. The family would have been on the brink of starvation but for the meals provided by the Akshaya Patra Foundation in her school. Last year, Anjali scored 79% in her school exams in spite of the difficulties she faces at home. A sense of gratitude encapsulates Anjali, when she talks about Akshaya Patra. She says, "it is the one meal that helps me beat the hunger pangs and concentrate on my studies".
There are hundreds of thousands of children just like Anjali, silently suffering with hunger on a daily basis in India. Many of these children, due to economic necessity, do not attend school, and if they do, hunger limits their ability to concentrate once there. The fact is 42% of children in India are malnourished and 26.8 million primary school-age children in India are not in school.
We can file this and forget it or we can take action.
On March 14, starting at 12am EST, GlobalGiving.org is matching at 30% all online donations up to $1,000 per donor per project! There is $50,000 available in matching funds on March 14. Once these matching funds are used, no more matching funds will be applied. In addition to the 30% match, GlobalGiving is offering a $1,000 bonus to the project that raises the most funds that day and a $1,000 bonus to the project that receives donations from the most individual donors!
Please donate to our project and support children like Anjali on March 14th! Every little bit counts.Your help is urgently needed and much appreciated!