Education
 India
Project #3304

Provide School Meals to Children in India

by Akshaya Patra Foundation USA
AP beneficiaries
AP beneficiaries

Dear Friends,

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,

Kerry Markey

Beneficiaries eating lunch
Beneficiaries eating lunch
Children studying
Children studying
Mahadevan performs with children
Mahadevan performs with children

Links:

Rakesh, an Akshaya Patra beneficiary
Rakesh, an Akshaya Patra beneficiary

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

 

Akshaya Patra children having lunch
Akshaya Patra children having lunch
Children waiting for lunch
Children waiting for lunch

Links:

Anjali
Anjali

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!

All the best,

The Akshaya Patra Team

Waiting in line to wash their lunch plates
Waiting in line to wash their lunch plates

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 ap1@apusa.org.

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,

Kerry

AP beneficiaries Studying
AP beneficiaries Studying
Enjoying the meal!
Enjoying the meal!
Younger siblings tag along to school for a meal
Younger siblings tag along to school for a meal

Links:

Akshaya Patra Children
Akshaya Patra Children

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.

 

Warm Regards,

The Akshaya Patra Team

Akshaya Patra children
Akshaya Patra children

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Akshaya Patra Foundation USA

Location: Stoneham, Massachusetts - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.foodforeducation.org/​www.akshayapatra.org
Project Leader:
Akshaya Patra
Stoneham, MA United States
$160,817 raised of $500,000 goal
 
2,671 donations
$339,183 to go
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