Akshaya Patra Foundation
|Type||Not for Profit - Registered Trust|
|Motto||"Unlimited Food for Education"|
The Akshaya Patra Foundation runs school lunch programs across India.The organization distributes freshly cooked, healthy meals daily to 1.3 million underprivileged children in 9,000 government schools through 20 locations in 9 states across India. Built on a public-private partnership, Akshaya Patra has supporting chapters in the United States, and UK.
It costs just Rs. 750 to feed a child daily for the entire school year due to government subsidy and provision of grains and technology. For many of the children, this is their only complete meal for the day. It gives them an incentive to come to school and stay in school and provides them with the necessary nutrients — becoming the food for education. In ten years, the foundation has grown to become one of the largest and most innovative school lunch programs in the world.
The mission of the organization is to reach out to 5 million children by 2020, and holds to the belief that "no child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger.”
The history of the foundation starts when, looking out of a window one day in Mayapur, a village near Calcutta, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada saw a group of children fighting with street dogs over scraps of food. From this incident was born a determination that molded the beliefs of the foundation: No child within a radius of ten miles from the centre should go hungry.
T.V. Mohandas Pai and Abhay Jain planted the seeds of thought of starting a kitchen at ISKCON, Bangalore, India that cooked food for disadvantaged children in government schools. The program started in the year 2000 feeding 1,500 in children from a temporary kitchen in Bangalore; it has grown in length and breadth and to a day when they have served over a billion meals.
Akshaya Patra partnered with the Karnataka government in 2003 under the mid-day meal scheme to act as one of the implementing arms of the government in many regions. It now works with central and state governments in 9 states (Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh) and has set up kitchens in 20 locations.
Akshaya Patra serves mid-day meals with help of approximately 50% grain grants and subsidies by central and state governments. Total cost per meal comes up to Rs.750 per child per year which is raised through donations and contributions.
Centralized and decentralized kitchens
Assets such as state-of-the-art centralized kitchens are constructed and maintained across regions to ensure timely mass production of over 100,000 meals in most hygienic condition every day. Continuous R&D is taken up leading to innovations in the construction process. As construction of such kitchens are not feasible in all locations. For example, in Baran, which is a remote village and children catered to are in 100ds[clarification needed], it is more feasible to have a decentralized kitchen. The kitchen would be set up in a small premises and food is cooked by a few employees from the local region, making whole process cost effective and generating other benefits such as women employment, etc.
Akshaya Patra Blue Bus delivers food to the schools once the hot nutritious meals are ready.
Askhaya Patra provides mid-day meals to school children in 20 locations across India. In Karnataka, they are located in 6 places: HK Hill Bangalore, Vasanthapura, Bellary, Hubli, Mangalore and Mysore. In Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad and Vishakapatnam. In Assam at Guwahati and in Bhilai in Chattisgarh. In Gujarat at Ahmedabad and Vadodara. In Orissa, at Puri and Nayagarh. In Rajasthan at Jaipur, Baran and Nathadwara. In Tamil Nadu at Chennai. And at Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh.
Impact and reviews
Surveys have shown that in areas where Akshaya Patra provides meals, student enrolment for Standard 1 has significantly increased to 41%. Its efforts to get children to school by eradicating their hunger has contributed to the right of every Indian child to get access to education.
- An impact study of the program showed an improvement in school enrollment and dropout rates with a continuous increase in classroom performance. The foundation aims to serve 5 million children daily by 2020.
- The Harvard Business School did a case study on Akshaya Patra in 2007 on Akshaya Patra's model for precise time management.
- The US Congressional Hunger Center (CHC) has awarded an International Fellowship to Akshaya Patra, chosen from 35 other nominated social organizations around the world.
- The World Economic Forum invited Akshaya Patra to share its experiences for The Hunger Project in Africa.
Akshaya Patra has also received awards from many prominent organizations and Individuals for its work:
- CSO Partners Annual Reporting Award 2011 (runner-up)
- Indian Express Innovation Award
- ICAI Gold shield award for excellence in financial reporting
- Feeding expecting and lactating mothers
- Feeding in special schools
- Subsidized lunch for the economically backward
- Feeding runaway children
- Feeding in old-age homes
- Feeding the homeless
- After class tuitions
- Life skills program
- Community health camps
- Scholarship programs
- Health check up camps
- Disaster relief
- Mid Day Meal Scheme
- Public Private Parternship
- Revised Cost of Meal Per Year
- "Akshaya Patra is the world’s largest NGO-run mid-day meal programme": The Hindu August 19, 2011
- History of Akshaya Patra Foundation
- Akshaya Patra Participation in Mid Day Meal Scheme across Karnataka
- "Mid day meals to get Akshaya Patra boost": Hindustan Times
- AC Nielsen Impact Study
- The Akshaya Patra Foundation won Runner-Up Place in CSO Partners Outanding Annual Report Awards 2011
- "The Akshaya Patra Foundation won 4th EMPI-The Indian Express Indian Innovation Awards"
- "In the category of Not-for-Profit Sector, The Akshaya Patra Foundation has been awarded the Gold Shield". Press Information Bureau, January 5, 2011