School lunch in Namma Karnataka by Akshaya Patra
Bengaluru, the city where it all began. In 2000, Akshaya Patra, an NGO in Karnataka, started serving mid-day meals to 1500 government school children in Bengaluru with an aim to end classroom hunger. The journey has been ceaseless.
With a flourishing quality education, Karnataka is among many other states that require attention towards reducing classroom hunger. We believe that quality education without basic necessities such as nutritional food for students is of no value at all. When mid-day meal in Karnataka became operational, many schools saw an increase in school attendance. State Hunger Index report, 2008, shows how hunger is still persistent across India and Karnataka, among many other states, falls in alarming category.
In 2003, the Government of Karnataka invited The Foundation to partner with them to implement Mid-Day Meal Scheme across the state. They have also helped the Central Government in implementing the programme across the nation. Akshaya Patra, an NGO in Karnataka receives sufficient aid from the State Government and from donors as well.
Here’s a quick look at certain aspects of Akshaya Patra’s presence in Karnataka:
1. Highest Beneficiary Base: The mid-day meal programme in Karnataka is currently available to 463,682 children across 2,629 schools which make the state the highest in terms of beneficiary base. When Akshaya Patra began its journey, the number of children who received hot and freshly cooked meals was only 1500. In 16 years, our beneficiary base has increased by 300 times.
2. Four ISO Kitchens: Akshaya Patra’s kitchens are an ideal example of quality. Centralised kitchens are automated and ensure 100% hygiene during the cooking process. All the six kitchens in Karnataka are centralised, with four of these having received ISO certification. All centralised kitchens have the capacity to cook up to 100,000 meals every day. The beneficiary schools are located around the unit to benefit from these kitchens.
3. Nourishing uncommon dreams: In 2016 a pilot initiative called ‘Giving Every Dream a Chance’ was launched. Through this programme, students will receive mentorship in the field of their career interests. For the pilot launch, three students from Bengaluru were selected as a part of this initiative and were mentored by renowned organisations which witnessed a huge success. Shekar, for instance, is a 14-year-old student who aspires to be a chef, was trained under Vivanta by Taj. You can view the inspiring videos here.
It is also The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s mission to target 5 million children by 2020 and ensure that these children are able to concentrate better in classrooms. Although there has been a huge success, we believe it is still a long way to go before we can experience hunger-free India. You can join Akshaya Patra in raising awareness about the programme as well as contributing to the cause. All it takes is Rs. 750 to feed a school going child and you can help us too.
Read on to know more about our work, how you can get involved or donate to charity. Yes, there’s 100% tax exemption when you donate to Akshaya Patra.