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
Akshaya Patra has had a very successful and busy second quarter of 2011!
The kitchen in Nathdwara is well underway thanks to all of your donations. This kitchen, once completed, will have the capacity to feed 50,000 children. However, Akshaya Patra is still in dire need of funding to complete the project.
On May 14, 2011, Mrs. Indra K. Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo was was the keynote speaker at Akshaya Patras annual Food for Education benefit in Boston, MA. Mrs. Nooyi discussed her personal history of growing up in Chennai, India with food rations. Mrs. Nooyi stated “The message of Akshaya Patra is deeply is clear. We can meet the world’s food needs as long as we work together to create change.” In closing remarks Mrs. Nooyi stated “A child’s hunger is entirely preventable, the simple and powerful mission of Akshaya Patra is not just filling empty bellies, but changing the trajectory of countless lives, and this gives us all a renewed sense of what is possible and working together we can unleash the possibility of a better future for every child.”
Last, Akshaya Patra was granted the "Best Innovation" award at the 2011 TiEcon conference, the worlds largest conference for entrepreneurs.
Without the support of donors like you we could not continue to feed over 1.2 million children DAILY. On behalf of the children that we serve, I thank you for your commitment to our vision: No child shall be deprived of education because of hunger. With your continued support we hope to reach our goal of feeding 5 million children by 2020
Some of the highlights of Akshaya Patra in Q1 2011:
Akshaya Patra’s environmental goal is to economically, hygienically, and efficiently prepare and deliver school lunches. Annually, Akshaya Patra serves over 305 million individual meals to school children. If these meals were prepared using inefficient methods (including burning of wood or charcoal), there would be a high level of environmental impact. However, Akshaya Patra has addressed this problem by preparing meals in an environmentally-friendly manner, greatly reducing the use of fuel for cooking and drastically decreasing food waste.
Some eco-friendly initiatives being piloted at some of the Akshaya Patra kitchens:
Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) – In order to address concerns of hygiene everything that is procured, is thoroughly washed. This includes rice, vegetables and lentils. The water used for washing contains nutrients and is used for bio-culture. Waste water is also used for washing vehicles.
Rainwater Harvesting – Hubli in the state of Karnataka receives substantial amount of rainfall and in a bid to use this, Akshaya Patra has adopted rainwater harvesting. The rain water is routed into a pond. The water retained in the pond continuously recharges the bore wells, and reduces dependency on corporation water.
Bio-Gas Plant – The kitchens generate by-products and organic waste such as vegetable peelings etc in large quantities on a daily basis. Proper disposal of the waste poses challenges. The bio gas plant ensures that by-products can be converted into fuel for cooking purposes.
Vermi-composting – By-products and organic wastes are currently addressed through vermi-composting and will be fully replaced by the bio-gas plant.
Thermite Briquette Boiler – As a measure to reduce air pollution, a briquette boiler has been installed. Briquettes are sustainable alternates to conventional fuels and are made of agri-waste, consisting of compressed groundnut shells and grain husks. They also reduce carbon emission and constitute a big step towards achieving a green system.
We are counting on your generous support. This will be the best return on your investment, so please consider making Akshaya Patra the philanthropy of your choice. Children are the ultimate beneficiaries.
As we approach the end of 2010, I want to thank all our supporters who share our vision - "NO CHILD SHALL BE DEPRIVED OF EDUCATION BECAUSE OF HUNGER."
I also want to share some of the fabulous highlights of 2010 with you and invite you to continue to make Akshaya Patra your philanthropic priority.
It is with a great deal of pride that I share with you some of Akshaya Patra's notable accomplishments on its 10th anniversary year:
The Akshaya Patra team wishes you and your family a Holiday season filled with hope, optimism and joy!
Bill Brower is a Field Program Officer with GlobalGiving who visited our partners’ projects throughout South and Southeast Asia. On June 17th he visited the Akshaya Patra school lunch production facility in Bangalore. His “Postcard” from the visit:
If you’ve never seen a kitchen set up to make 150,000 lunches each day it’s quite the sight. I have a B.S. in chemical engineering and I felt oddly at home in Akshaya Patra’s operation in Bangalore. Vats of rice. Heating vessels filled with dal. Piping, pumps and valves. Despite the almost disturbing scale, the food being packed into stainless steel containers for transport by truck to hundreds of schools in the area looked appetizing—certainly better than the thawed, highly-processed food I remember from growing up. And the facility looked hygienic and well run.
In 2004 the government in India started requiring schools to provide lunch to students. Some schools set up their own kitchens, but many decided to outsource to organizations like Akshaya Patra. The environmentalist in me is torn between the efficiencies of scale and the advantages of local, distributed, self-sufficient systems. But Akshaya Patra is providing these lunches, which has been shown in studies to increase attendance, decrease the dropout rate and increase concentration.
I was told that they are responsive to students’ tastes. Students wanted a less predictable offering and Akshaya Patra started to mix it up more. They wanted smaller vegetable pieces and Akshaya Patra got new equipment that could chop more finely. They began adding a protein source to one of their dishes recently but students didn’t like the smell so they stopped.
Thank you for supporting this project. Your donation is helping more kids have a more effective school day.
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