Welcome to 2012! I hope that your new year is off to a great start!
Personally, I have had a very exciting beginning to my year as I had the opportunity to travel to India and spend several days observing Akshaya Patra operations in action. I wanted to share my first hand experience, impressions, and photos with you so that you may better understand the program.
During my stay I visited both North and South kitchens and schools (Jaipur and Bangalore) as they prepare different meals based on the dietary preferences of the children who live there. In the South, children are provided rice, sambar (lentils with vegetables) and yogurt, whereas the students in the northern states are served chapati (whole wheat bread), sabzi (vegetables) and dal (lentils). Let me tell you, both of the meals were DELICIOUS. I was blown away that the Akshaya Patra kitchens, while preparing meals for hundreds of thousands of children everyday, can still maintain such flavor in the food. The efficiency with which the kitchens were run also knocked my socks off. These places are technology powerhouses that are put to use for social good.
After eating and touring the kitchen I was able to visit several schools to interact with the children and sit with them during their mid day meal served by Akshaya Patra. The kids were happy, energetic, and diligently studying. When lunch time came they all washed their hands and plates, some of them dug for a spoon in their school bag, and quickly took their place in seated lines. The flurry of activity and noise quickly came to an end as soon as the plates started filling up with food. I have never seen so many children quiet down so quickly. The silence was almost deafening as they all ate. A strange phenomenon in India! What stuck me the most was the very young children that accompany their siblings to school. Children that would normally have to stay home and watch the babies in the family tote them along on their hip and share their mid day meal with them. It was at that point that I was struck by how life changing this program is for a family.
Parents are relieved of the burden of providing meals for their children everyday; a relief when your daily salary is never enough to fill everyone's belly. Children no longer have to work during the day to feed themselves as they have a safe, reliable place to get a meal along with the younger children in the family. Lastly, an education, one of the most proven ways out of poverty, is guaranteed when children come to school for the meal. AMAZING.
If you would like to visit the kitchens and schools of Akshaya Patra we would be happy to arrange a tour for you. Please send an email to email@example.com.
Before I wrap up here I'd like to remind everyone that Valentines Day is right around the corner and I can't think of any better gift for your sweetie then feeding a child in their name for the next year. Please consider spreading the love this Valentines Day and supporting Akshaya Patra.
All the best,
As 2011 draws to a close, we'd like to thank you because YOU have made a tremendous impact on the lives of the most vulnerable children in India. We are grateful for the collaboration and the confidence you have placed in us that allows us to continue to deliver healthy nutritious meals and provide access to education to over 1.3 million children DAILY.
During this past year we have expanded our reach to make a real impact in the fight against hunger to another 160,000 children giving them HOPE: Health, Opportunities, Progress and Education. We opened a new kitchen facility in Nathdwara, Rajasthan with a capacity to serve 50,000 children daily. We are constantly innovating to improve the efficiency of operations. To save on fuel costs and to manage with less number of distribution vehicles, we developed and piloted a route simulation software this year that has optimization opportunity of up to 15%. We have installed GPS devices in vehicles to allow us to track vehicles in real time and help us with routing, rerouting and load balancing. We are using handheld machines to electronically capture data of attendance, indent of food for the next day and feedback from all schools. We rolled out comprehensive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) in April 2011 to standardize processes across units. These initiatives for process optimization will help us reach our next milestone of feeding 5 million children by 2020.
The road to freedom from hunger is long. But like all epic journeys, it has to begin with steps taken in the right direction. Our work is still work in progress. We face extraordinary challenges but we also have an extraordinary opportunity to shape the future of these children. During the Holiday Season more than ever, our thoughts turn gratefully to each one of you who make our work possible. We look forward to our work together in 2012 and can't wait to share our ideas and our successes with you.
We thank you and wish you and your family peace, love and happiness this holiday season and a joyous 2012.
The Akshaya Patra Team
Greetings from Akshaya Patra!
As the weather begins to turn cold here in Boston our hearts have been warmed by the outpouring of support over the last several months for the construction of our new kitchen in Nathdwara. I am overjoyed to share the good news that the kitchen was fully funded and is now complete! It will be inaugurated on Childrens Day in India, November 14th. The Nathdwara kitchen has the capacity to feed 50,000 children DAILY; giving them an incentive to come to school, stay in school, and provide them with the nutrients they need to focus on learning. We could not have accomplished this project without each one of you and we are incredibly grateful for your support.
Although providing fresh nutritious meals to an additional 50,000 school children is a tremendous step forward, we are still a far way off from reaching our goal of feeding 5 million children by 2020. We will continue to count on the support of each of you and hope that you will continue to share the work of Akshaya Patra with your friends and family.
Thank you for all that you do.
The Akshaya Patra Team