Akshaya Patra Foundation

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The Akshaya Patra Foundation commonly known as Akshaya Patra is a non-profit organisation in India that runs school lunch programme across India.[1] The organisation was established in 2000.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation
The Akshaya Patra Foundation Logo.png
Founded 2000
Type Not for Profit - Registered Trust
Location
Slogan "Unlimited Food for Education"
Website http://www.akshayapatra.org/

History[edit]

A story of compassion is the stepping stone to the beginning of The Akshaya Patra Foundation.

It was one of those life-changing encounters of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada when he saw a group of children fighting with street dogs over scraps of food. This heartbreaking incident brought to fore the determination that: No one within a ten mile radius of our centre should go hungry. In June 2000, this inspiration was given the form of The Akshaya Patra Foundation to feed the children of Government schools with a thoughtful and conscientious vision of “No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger".[2]


Over a period of time a visible improvement in the health of the children was witnessed along with increased enrolment, steady attendance and better concentration during class hours. The initial days of implementing the programme was not smooth sailing for the Foundation. The main concern was lack of vessels and vehicles to pack and transport the cooked food to the schools. Mohandas Pai and Abhay Jain, two of the pioneer philanthropists of the Foundation were instrumental in bringing some relief. Mohandas Pai stepped in by donating the first vehicle to deliver food to the schools and Abhay Jain assured to get more donors to further the programme.

Once the Mid-Day Meal Scheme was mandated centrally by the Government of India in 2003, Akshaya Patra partnered with the Government to serve cooked meals at all Government schools. To be able to work towards tackling classroom hunger in association with the Government on the format of Public Private Parternship[3] was a welcome progression for Akshaya Patra. This Partnership works towards meeting the following objectives:

  • Eliminating classroom hunger [4]
  • Increasing school enrolment
  • Increasing school attendance
  • Improving socialisation among castes
  • Addressing malnutrition, and
  • Women empowerment

Vision[edit]

"No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger" [2]

Mission[edit]

To reach out to 5 million children by 2020 [5]

Mid-Day Meal[edit]

To improve primary education and counter classroom hunger the Government of India has developed two of the most significant programmes-

  1. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA); and
  2. Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDMS)

Through the flagship programme of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the Government of India aims to achieve Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE) in a time bound manner, by making available free and compulsory education to the children aged between 6–14 years.

However, the socio-economic scenario of India did require an incentive to further the SSA initiative. The Mid-Day Meal Scheme came by as an answer. The MDMS focuses on providing free school lunch at all Government schools in order to enhance enrolment, retention and attendance among children and also simultaneously to improve their nutritional levels. It was indeed a noteworthy initiative as the impact of this Scheme was progressively seen across the country. Witnessing the impact, the education sector received a 17% increase in budget allocation for the programme. A total of around 11 crore children across 12 lakh schools are benefitting from the MDMS programme.

Akshaya Patra implements the Mid- Day Meal programme in 23 locations of 10 states of India. Each day the Foundation feeds 1.4 million children covering more than 10,000 Government schools. The Foundation follows both centralised and decentralised kitchen formats to implement the programme . The NP-NSPE guidelines cite the Foundation's centralised kitchen format as a model infrastructure for large scale production of mid-day meals. Akshaya Patra also serves as a Member of the National Steering-cum-Monitoring Committee (NSMC) for the Mid-Day Meal Programme.

The Akshaya Patra Kitchen Infrastructure will give an overview of its compliance to Food Safety and Quality Standards while preparing the meals. 11 centralised kitchens of the Foundation are ISO 22000:2005 certified and the remaining are in the process of getting certification.Working in partnership with the Central Government and various State Governments, along with the support of numerous philanthropists Akshaya Patra strives to feed 5 million children by 2020.

Other Programmes[edit]

Certain that the primary cause of Akshaya Patra is implementation of the mid-day meal programme.[6] But, apart from the mid-day meal programme Akshaya Patra implements other feeding and socio-developmental initiatives too. Some of the programmes are:

Feeding Programmes Socio-developmental Initiatives
Anganwadi feeding After class tuitions
Feeding expecting and lactating mothers Life skills programme
Feeding programmes in special schools Community health camps
Subsidised lunch for the economically backward Scholarship programmes
Feeding runaway children Health check-up camps
Feeding programmes in old-age homes
Feeding the homeless
Disaster relief

"Apart from the above initiatives, the Foundation also works towards social initiatives like:"

  • After class tuitions
  • Community health camps
  • Health check-up camps
  • Life-skills programmes
  • Scholarship programmes

Impact[edit]

In general, surveys show that since the implementation of Mid-day Meal Programme by the Government and various NGOs, there has been an upward surge in school enrolment and attendance of the children. Studies also indicate that this programme has been able to reduce drop-out rate.

The impact of the mid-day meal has been witnessed in all the serving locations of Akshaya Patra. There have been few studies conducted to evaluate the impact of the programme implementation by the Foundation. The studies are as follows: AC Nielsen Impact Study and Harvard Case Study. Some of the Government Studies are:

  1. Governance Knowledge Centre
  2. Ministry of Human Resource Development
    • Situation Analysis of Mid-Day Meal programme in Rajasthan
    • Report on Akshara Dasoha Scheme of Karnataka

Below is the summary of findings of the impact studies:

  1. Increased enrolment – The mid-day meal acts as a great incentive for children to come to school. As more often than not, this meal becomes the child’s only meal for the day, it also acts parents to send their children to school.
  2. Increased attendance – Children look forward to coming to school every day because of the mid-day meal. As the Akshaya Patra meal caters to the regional palate it further suits the taste buds of the children and draws them to attend school.
  3. Increased concentration – A stomach full of freshly cooked nutritious and healthy mid-day meal keeps classroom hunger at bay and increases the child's concentration in class.
  4. Improved socialisation – As the meal served by Akshaya Patra can be consumed universally by children of all caste and community it has fostered the habit of eating together. This intermingling has increased the unity among children of various religions and castes. It has also helped in removing divisional hierarchy in terms of social standing thereby enhancing a sense of equality among all children.
  5. Addressed malnutrition – Through the mid-day meal Akshaya Patra is striving to meet the nutritional requirements of children such as energy, carbohydrates, proteins and fat for school children.
  6. Empowered women – Women have been employed by the Foundation in different capacities in operations and other functional areas. Women Self Help Groups (SHGs) have also been appointed in De-centralised kitchen set-up for the cooking and managing the processes involved in mid-day meal preparation under the guidance of Akshaya Patra’s standard operating process. This opportunity has doubly benefited them by boosting their self-esteem and improving their social standing.

Reach[edit]

The Akshaya Patra Foundation feeds 1.4 million children every day across India.[7] It is operational across 23 locations in 10 states of India and It follows the Centralised Kitchen format in 21 locations and De-centralised Kitchen format in 2 locations. Below is the list of state-wise presence of Akshaya Patra:

State / Location Type of Kitchen Year of establishment Number of Children Number of Schools
Andhra Pradesh 5,249 7
Vishakhapatnam Centralised Kitchen October 2008 5,249 7
Assam 53,649 592
Guwahati Centralised Kitchen February 2010 53,649 592
Chhattisgarh 23,674 160
Bhilai Centralised Kitchen January 2009 23,674 160
Gujarat 4,00,158 1,653
Ahmedabad Centralised Kitchen August 2014 1,21,508 666
Vadodara Centralised Kitchen November 2009 1,13,593 616
Surat Centralised Kitchen June 2012 1,65,057 [8] 371
Karnataka 4,63,682 2,629
Bangalore- HK Hill Centralised Kitchen June 2000 85,204 487
Bellary Centralised Kitchen July 2006 1,15,945 575
Hubli Centralised Kitchen July 2004 1,26,693 789
Mangalore Centralised Kitchen December 2004 22,679 147
Mysore Centralised Kitchen August 2004 13,835 63
Bangalore-Vasanthapura Centralised Kitchen July 2007 99,326 568
Odisha 1,25,242 1,461
Cuttack Centralised Kitchen July 2014 4,000 28
Puri Centralised Kitchen June 2006 55,835 648
Nayagarh Decentralised Kitchen March 2007 24,580 352
Rourkela Centralised Kitchen November 2013 40,827 433
Rajasthan 1,35,910 1,830
Jaipur Centralised Kitchen February 2004 92,763 1,081
Nathdwara Centralised Kitchen June 2006 25,274 435
Baran Decentralised Kitchen April 2005 11,456 166
Jodhpur Centralised Kitchen August 2013 6,417 148
Uttar Pradesh 1,39,262 1,874
Vrindavan Centralised Kitchen August 2004 1,39,262 1,874
Tamil Nadu 718 1
Chennai Centralised Kitchen July 2011 718 1
Telangana 54,849 454
Hyderabad Centralised Kitchen October 2008 54849 454

Akshaya Patra USA[edit]

With your overwhelming and enduring support, Akshaya Patra USA exceeded its fundraising goal of $3.2m for 2012 by raising $5.6m. This includes a generous grant from Caterpillar Foundation for $2m for building a kitchen in UP. [9]

We are touched by the ever deepening commitment of the community to help bring about widespread impact and ensure that hunger is not a barrier to education for these 1.4 million children in India. We are forming a dynamic and engaged community of individuals who value Akshaya Patra's dual mission of eradicating hunger and promoting education simultaneously.

Our confidence in our ability as a community to create a truly transformative change grows more steadfast each year.

We thank you for making Akshaya Patra your philanthropic priority and we are counting on your continued support and encouragement in 2013. TOGETHER we will reach our goal to raise $4.3m for the deserving children in India this year.

Child sponsorship[edit]

The Akshaya Patra Foundation aims to counter classroom hunger [4] and aid in education of children. A donation of Rs 750 can serve a wholesome mid-day meal to one child for one whole academic year. The Foundation also has different modes of sponsorship that can be chosen by any donor to help this charitable cause. The sponsor can choose from the below list of options:

  • Online/Offline donation
  • Sponsor a meal delivery vehicle
  • Sponsor a school for a year
  • Sponsor kitchen equipment
  • Engage his/her organisation as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative

The Foundation is eligible to provide income tax benefits to its donors under section 35AC of the Income Tax Act of the Government of India. Any donation of above Rs. 500 towards the NGO is eligible for 100% tax exemption [10] under this Act.

Financial information[edit]

In keeping with the principle of transparency, the Foundation complies with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and with the Indian Accounting Standards issued by the Institute of Chartered accountants of India (ICAI) for reporting its financials year-on-year. Akshaya Patra publishes its Annual Report with audited financial reports and makes it available for all its stakeholders, at the end of every financial year.

As a standard process of audit systems to ensure effectiveness of the internal controls, Akshaya Patra has appointed Chartered Accountant firms of repute, as Branch Auditors. The Branch Auditors submit the audited reports of their respective branches to the Management on a periodical basis. These reports are then reviewed by the Audit Committee through the Audit Department of the Foundation.

On an average, 82% of the total cost is used towards meeting the programme cost and 14% is utilised as programme management cost. 4% of the total cost is steered towards meeting fundraising and communication costs. As of March 2013, around 51% of funding (amounting to Rs. 40,668 lakhs) has been accounted for by Central and State Government grants and subsidies, allowing the Foundation to raise the remaining 49%.

Affiliated organisations[edit]

The Akshaya Patra Foundation has received helping aid and goodwill support from many noteworthy organisations. Below is a list of few of the organisations; however this list is not exhaustive.

  • CISCO [11]
  • ABB Limited [12]
  • Genpact India
  • Jindal Aluminium
  • Maple Exports Pvt. Ltd.
  • Jamsetji Tata Trust [13]
  • HDFC Bank Ltd [14]
  • Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL)[15]
  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC) [16]
  • Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL) [17]
  • Hans Foundation [18]
  • Give India
  • Kennametal Foundation [19]
  • Michael and Susan Dell Foundation [20]

Awards and Recognitions[edit]

The Akshaya Patra Foundation has been recipient of quite a few significant national and international awards.

Recent awards[edit]

  • Silver Award at Summit International Creative Award 2014 for creative representation of the Annual Report 2012-13 for the second time, with first silver for Annual Report 2011-12
  • 20th Annual Communicator Award of Distinction for overall design in the Print category for Annual Report 2012-13
  • Gold Shield Award by Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) for five consecutive financial years for Excellence in Financial Reporting: Annual Report 2008-09; 2009–10; 2010–11; 2011–12; 2012-13 [21]
  • Gold Award for Annual Report 2011-12 by SAFA (South Asian Federation of Accountants) [22]
  • CII National Award for Food Safety 2013 [23]
  • Gold Award at League of American Communications Professionals LACP 2012/13 Vision Awards [24]
  • Ranked 34th among Top 100 Annual Reports Worldwide at League of American Communications Professionals LACP 2012/13 Vision Awards [25]
  • Gold Award at Public Relations Council of India (PRCI) Corporate Collateral Awards 2014
  • Honorary Award on Social Responsibility by LASSIB Society [26]

Significant recognitions[edit]

  • Akshaya Patra has been nominated to be the Member of National Steering-cum-Monitoring Committee (NSMC) for Mid-Day Meal Programme [27]
  • Akshaya Patra is the first NGO to have got enlisted in the ICAI Hall of Fame and it is the third entry across all industries [28]
  • The Foundation is ranked 23rd among Top 100 NGOs by The Global Journal in its 2013 edition [29]
  • It is featured as one of the 8 game changers in the inaugural issue of Innowin- India’s first magazine dedicated to innovation
  • Limca Book of Records[30] and India Book of Records recognises Akshaya Patra as running 'The world's largest school meal programme’ [31]
  • A documentary on Akshaya Patra was featured on National Television-Doordarshan

Timeline[edit]

Below is a graphical representation of cumulative number of meals served in the past years:

Akshaya Patra time line

References[edit]

External links[edit]