By Seema Joshi and others
The Akshaya Patra Foundation is the world’s largest NGO-run midday meal program currently feeding close to one million underprivileged children daily in over 5,700 schools in seven states in India. Akshaya Patra is a public-private partnership that combines good management, innovative technology and smart engineering to deliver school lunch at a fraction of the cost of similar programs in other parts of the world. It costs $28 to feed a child daily for the entire year.
For many of the children this is their only complete meal for the day. This gives them an incentive to come to school, stay in school and provides them with the necessary nutrients they need to develop their cognitive abilities to focus on learning.
Through kitchens specially designed by engineers to leverage technology and sourcing its food stocks from local markets, Akshaya Patra is able to reduce costs associated with transportation and food spoilage while supporting the local economy. In a short time, the foundation has grown to become the largest, and certainly most innovative, school lunch program in the world. Akshaya Patra is a great example of what a non-profit organization can achieve– a cost effective, scalable solution with high quality service delivery.
Some highlights from their latest newsletter, which can be found here –
– The Agnihotri family in New Jersey organized a six-week yogaclass for nearby children, with each child donatingat least $28 to Akshaya Patra as a fee for attending the class. In addition to the yoga class, Agnihotri and his mother also showed an AkshayaPatra video to the students to illustrate the good work being done in India.
– Akshaya Patra was recognized by the Limca Book of Records for being the world’s largest NGO-run midday meal program.
– Akshaya Patra has also been awarded the 2008 India Business Leader Award for Social Enterprise of the Year from CNBC –TV in India.
There are also several local chapters of this organization in different states. To see how you can get involved and support this noble cause, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is there an Akshya Patra programme anywhere near Chennai that I can visit?
Dear Geetaji, My India-geography is not up to par but I believe the closest Kitchens to the Chennai area would be the Bangalore Kitchens – we have 2; or the Mysore Kitchen. I can send you the addresses and contact numbers to arrange a visit. Please contact me at email@example.com or go to our website – http://www.foodforeducation.org – click on the “About Us” tab – select “Kitchens” and just click on the kitchens you would like to visit.
Thanks for your interest in Akshaya Patra, and I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. Best Wishes!
Thanks, Seema. I’ll see what I can do.
How do you actually do it ?
What do you feed ? How do you cook and transport ?
How do you keep it safe and avoid contamination ?
How do you keep the standard of food? Just curious. Just the thought of what you are doing make me so humble and grateful for such services you are providing. Thanks and God Bless.
Akshaya Patra is amazingly tech savvy..I had the opportunity to see a video on how they do their food production and distribution and it is a production engineer’s dream..ISO 9000 levels of cleanliness, JIT production and distribution and some really creative Check out their website at http://www.foodforeducation.org.