The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a registered non-profit organisation in India that aims to end classroom hunger among government school children and facilitate education. It operates the world’s largest Mid-Day Meal Programme and provides meals to 1.5 million students daily. Akshaya Patra is one of the best examples of PPP (Public Private Partnership) model, where Central Government, State Governments, Corporates and individual donors contribute to the cause, and the Mid-Day Meal Programme of the Government is successfully implemented through the efficient workmanship of Akshaya Patra.
2016 has been a great year for the Foundation in terms of associating itself with different activities and initiatives throughout the year. As it wraps up the year, the Foundation walks us through some of the major initiatives –
Outride Hunger 2016
‘Outride Hunger 2016’ was the 2nd edition of the bike rally by The Akshaya Patra Foundation to create awareness about bridging the gap between classroom hunger and education. The rally was flagged of by well-known Sandalwood actor Krishna Ajai Rao (a.k.a Sandalwood Krishna), Dr M A Saleem, Additional Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru, Mr R Chakravarthy, 84 years old veteran Biker and Sri Sridham Krishna Dasa from Iskcon.
The biking event featured over 300 participants form the Bajaj Avenger Club – Bengaluru, Biking Buddies, Bikers Of India, Free Spirits Motorcycle Club, Gold Town Bikers, Highwaymen, IBRMC, Royal Indians Enfield Owners Club, Royal Rides Bangalore and individual riders. The 24 kilometre rally began from Akshaya Patra’s Hare Krishna Hill Kitchen on Chord Road, Rajajinagar cruising through key areas such as Malleshwaram, Race Course Road, Lalbagh Road, Kanakapura till Vasanthapura Kitchen on Kanakapura Road.
Click a Smile
The Akshaya Patra Foundation organised the third edition of ‘Click a Smile’, a photography exhibition to celebrate the innocence and joy in a child’s smile, on April 30 2016 at Mantri Square Mall, Malleshwaram. It was in partnership with Britannia Good Day, the brand which has smiles in its philosophy, and Mantri Square. The event was graced by Disha Ram, the child lead artist of the Kinnari fame on Colors Kannada.
The annual online photography contest invited photographers from across the globe to send in pictures of smiling child (or children). The Akshaya Patra Foundation received around 1700 entries from 80 different countries, including Philippines, Vietnam, Bangladesh, U.S., U.K., etc. The exhibition displayed 50 best entries of this year and the top 10 entries of last year.
Padma Shri conferred upon Madhu Pandit Dasa, Chairman of Akshaya Patra
On the eve of the nation’s 67th Republic Day, the Government of India conferred upon Madhu Pandit Dasa, Chairman of The Akshaya Patra Foundation and President of ISKCON Bangalore, the prestigious Padma Shri. The award was conferred in recognition of the distinguished service rendered by Akshaya Patra for the children of India.
Giving Every Dream a Chance
The Akshaya Patra Foundation embarked on a pilot project ‘Giving Every Dream a Chance’ in the year 2015-2016. The project initiated a sponsorship programme to ensure continued support to 100 children, conduct mentorship programmes to nurture talents and to identify more children with unique dreams across the country.
This unique programme was launched on June 11, 2016 at the Vivanta by Taj by Chief Guest, Mrs. Sudha Murty, Chairperson, Infosys Foundation. The event was presided by Shri Madhu Pandit Dasa, Chairman of The Akshaya Patra Foundation, in the presence of Mohandas Pai who also serves as an independent trustee of the foundation. Sushruthi Krishna, Femina Miss India Supranational 2016, graced the event in support of the initiative. Celebrated Bollywood musician duo of Sona Mohapatra and Ram Sampath presented the theme song which was exclusively composed for the initiative. The event was well attended by eminent citizens from all walks of Life.
Akshaya Patra also launched the dreams of its three mid-day meal beneficiaries: Manjula, the debuting actress; Shivu, an aspiring astronomer and Shekar, a chef in the making. Akshaya Patra facilitated them with a two month mentorship programme wherein the children were tutored, groomed and guided by the experts in their respective fields. Manjula was mentored by Dr. Zulfia Shaikh, Founder-Director of Bangalore School of Speech & Drama. Shivu was tutored by Mrs. Preethi Krishnamurthy, a senior research fellow in astrophysics. Shekar’s passion for cooking was nurtured by renowned celebrity Chef Ramasamy Selvaraju, Executive Chef at the Vivanta by Taj.
MUFG pledges INR 105.1 million towards mid-day meal programme with Akshaya Patra Foundation
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG)’s banking entity, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. (BTMU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Akshaya Patra Foundation to build a full-fledged kitchen that will prepare and provide mid-day meals to school children in Narsingi, Hyderabad in the state of Telangana.
Under this MoU, MUFG has pledged INR 105.1 million to fund the construction of a new centralised kitchen to cater to government schools in Ranga Reddy District, near Hyderabad, Telangana. The kitchen is expected to be completed in the next academic year (2017-18), and will be able to provide 35,000 meals daily to children in government-aided schools and Anganwadis (courtyard shelters) across the district. In addition, BTMU will also help to deliver and distribute mid-day meals to the schools.
Honourable President of India commemorates Akshaya Patra’s milestone of serving 2 Billion Meals
The Honourable President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, visited The Akshaya Patra Foundation to commemorate the milestone of serving 2 billion meals. The event was hosted at ISKCON Bangalore on 27 August, 2016. The dignitaries in attendance were Shri Vajubhai RudabhaiVala – Honourable Governor of Karnataka; Shri Siddaramaiah – Honourable Chief Minister of Karnataka; Shri Prakash Javadekar – Honourable Union Minister of Human Resource Development; Dr Murli Manohar Joshi – Member of Parliament, Former Minister of HRD, and Science & Technology, and Mrs Sudha Murty, Chairperson, Infosys Foundation.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation inaugurates its second Food Safety and Quality Control Lab in Lucknow, India
The Akshaya Patra Foundation inaugurated its second Food Safety and Quality Control Lab (FSQC Lab) in Lucknow near Indane Bottling Plant, Amausi Industrial Area. The state-of-art mini lab is equipped with the modern technology and high-precision testing instruments for evaluating the food products right from the farm to the plate. The FSQC Lab was inaugurated in the presence of Shri Alok Dhawan, Director, CSIR, Lucknow and Dr Mukul Das, Chief Scientist and Area Coordinator, IITR (CSIR) on 24 October, 2016.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation bestowed with the Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Memorial Awards on Innovation in Governance
The Akshaya Patra Foundation, which operates the world’s largest NGO-run Mid-Day Meal Programme, was bestowed with 1st Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Memorial Award in Innovation in Governance category. The award was presented during the 1st Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Memorial Summit on Innovation in Governance held in Vigyan Bhawan, Maulana Azad Road, New Delhi. Shri Bharatarshabha Dasa, Director Communication of Akshaya Patra received the award.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation appoints its first Youth Ambassador
The Akshaya Patra Foundation appointed Shivant Malkani as its first Youth Ambassador. Shivant, who is currently studying in class 11 was chosen as the ambassador for his dedication and exuberance towards Akshaya Patra programs. The CEO of Akshaya Patra, Mr. Shridhar Venkat chose Shivant as the first youth ambassador.
The youth ambassador program has been implemented successfully by Akshaya Patra’s US office. Under this program, young competent boys and girls are chosen from middle and higher schools and appointed as ambassadors of Akshaya Patra.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation celebrates 16 years of unlimited food for education
The Akshaya Patra Foundation (TAPF) has completed 16 years in 2016. All along this 16-year journey, the Foundation has strived to address the issue of “classroom hunger” and promote “education” by providing nutritious meals to children in Government and Government-aided schools. The journey began in 2000, with the feeding of 1,500 children in 5 schools in Bengaluru. The Foundation has reached 13,210 schools, feeding over 1.65 million children every day in 11 states through its 27 kitchens.
Apart from school feeding, Akshaya Patra also feeds Anganwadi children, lactating mothers, and expecting women. The aim is to provide nutritious meals from the beginning of the child’s life and continue to nurture throughout the childhood, so that the child grows in the environment where social equality is for real and every child is provided a chance to learn and bloom.
Taste of Joy
The Akshaya Patra Foundation was taking its food truck to the people of Bengaluru through “Taste of Joy”, to taste the Akshaya Patra food and take their valuable feedback. The “Taste of Joy” was inaugurated by the Mayor of Bengaluru, Smt. G. Padmavathi on 14 December 2016 at BBMP office. Post inauguration, the food was served to public.
The aim of this campaign was to serve hot and nutritious meal of Akshaya Patra to the people of Bengaluru and take their feedback using hashtags#foodforeducation #zerohunger #tasteofjoy #menuforhope to post feedback on social media.
Akshaya Patra’s Season of Giving
The Akshaya Patra Foundation, in association with 92.7 BIG FM presented the Season of Giving at Cyber Hub, Gurgaon from 21st December to 23rd December. The aim of the campaign was to create awareness about malnutrition and classroom hunger.
Through Season of Giving, people fed the Santa with different coloured balls and contributed towards ending classroom hunger. The donations collected through this event will go towards feeding mid-day meals to children.
Akshaya Patra conducts Bhoomi Puja of Telangana’s 1st High-Tech Mega Kitchen
Infosys Foundation and The Akshaya Patra Foundation took the first step to build Telangana’s first High-Tech, state-of-the-art, Centralised Mega Kitchen in Khandi by laying its foundation stone on 7 December, 2016. Significantly, the Infosys Foundation has generously pledged to cover the entire construction costs of this advanced technology kitchen and has provided a grant of INR 18.03 Crore towards this objective. This High-Tech Mega Kitchen will provide mid-day meals to over 1, 00,000 school children in Telangana region from the next academic year.
The Bhoomi Puja was attended by Sri T. Harish Rao, Honourable minister for Irrigation, Marketing & Legislative Affairs of Telangana, Smt Sudha Murty, Chairperson, Infosys Foundation. The event was also graced by other eminent personalities that included Shri K. Prabhakar Reddy – Member of Parliament, Medak, Shri C. Prabhakar – MLA, Sangareddy, Smt Ranjeev Acharya, IAS – Principal Secretary – Education Department, Shri K. Manicka Raj, IAS – District Collector, Sangareddy; Shri Jagadeeshwar, IAS – Secretary of Government, Women, Children, Disabled & Senior Citizens Department, Smt Viziendira Boyi, IAS – Director, Women & Children Development Department, Smt Lanka Chandrakala – DEO, Sangareddy, Smt P. Umarani – Sarpanch, Sangareddy and Shri G Krishnan, IAS – Director School Education.
Honourable Chief Minister Shri Akhilesh Yadav Performs Ground Breaking Ceremony for 11 Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Kitchens
The Akshaya Patra Foundation is set to launch eleven new kitchens in in partnership with the Government of Uttar Pradesh. The Honourable Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Akhilesh Yadav announced the setting up of eleven new kitchens with the ‘Shilanyas’ (Ground Breaking Ceremony) on 26December, 2016 at Lok Bhavan, New Secretariat – Lucknow. These kitchens will start providing mid-day meals to children in the next academic year and increase the reach to over 1 lakh children per kitchen every day in due course.
Akshaya Patra is currently feeding 1, 05,000 children from its Vrindavan kitchen and 66,000 children from the Lucknow kitchen (which was inaugurated by Shri Akhilesh Yadav on 15thMarch, 2015), totalling to 1, 71,000 children across 3021 schools in Uttar Pradesh. With the introduction of these new 11 kitchens, the reach will be expanded to serving more than 13 lakh or 1.3 million beneficiaries per day, which makes this the Foundation’s largest intervention in India.