There is a saying in Hindi "Bhuke pet bhajan na hoye Gopala ".It means that a hungry person cannot pray . The same holds true for every task that needs to be done.No wonder, kids cannot play, much less study, if their tummies are empty.
That is where Akshaya Patra foundation has stepped in & has been providing sumptuous meals through the mid day meal scheme for school children .It started this programme of feeding schoolchildren in June 2000 .From a modest beginning of feeding 1500 schoolchildren,today, Akshaya Patra is catering to 1.2 million children .What a stupendous success ! The number of hungry kids,Akshaya Patra has managed to feed has increased 800 times in nearly 10 years! Initially,Akshaya Patra started operations in Karnataka & today ,it provides mid day meals in 19 locations across nine States throughout India.
All this has been possible because many corporates have tied up with Akshaya Patra to fund the mid day meal scheme in whatever ways they can.Some have provided mobile vans to transport food,some have donated cash & so on & so forth.This has been done as part of their corporate social responsibility.Individuals like housewives,mothers,fathers & even teenagers have also chipped in to do their bit to feed hungry kids.Some volunteer to write ,some do research,still others help raise funds, etc.
The mid day meal scheme in schools has been largely successful so far largely due to efforts put in by NGOs like Akshaya Patra who provide healthy & nutritious food to kids in school.This assists the children to concentrate on studies.Moreover, the poor parents are more than willing to send their wards to school as they know that they will get one square meal only, if they go to school. So ,the mid day meal scheme is able to tackle the problem of child labour as well.If children get free food while they study,they need not work to earn for food.The mid day meal scheme has led to greater enrolment & also attendance at school as children look forward to the free meals ! Even the Supreme Court in November,2008 called up Akshaya Patra to list the efficacy of the mid day meal scheme as Akshaya Patra had already been implementing its own feeding programme in Karnataka by then.
The food prepared by Akshaya Patra foundation is hygienic as utmost care is taken to prepare it.Most of the food is prepared in mechanised vessels so that less time is needed for cooking,.Mechanisation also minimises food handling by humans to & hence, food cooked is hygienic.It is then transported to the various schools in vans with security in tow to ensure safety.
Food that is prepared by Akshaya Patra also takes regional preferences into account so that children relish the food.Akshaya Patra has two menus -one for North India & another for South India.It is wholesome & so it is a boon in a country like ours where malnourishment among kids is rampant.Many children in India are malnourished & underweight.The food by Akshaya Patra tackles all the problems of malnourishment & cleanliness.
Akshaya Patra has tied up with numerous corporates to fund this mid meal scheme.The success in this venture shows that Public Private joint efforts can make a lot of difference in overcoming problems of hunger & malnourishment.
Lastly ,the impact of Akshaya Patra has been tremendous.Enrolment & attendance in schools where Akshaya Patra has been providing meals has been steadily on the rise.Even grades of children have improved.This has been shown by a study conducted by AC Neilson Org Marg Pvt Ltd,a reputed survey firm based in Mumbai.This means only one thing -with Akshaya Patra leading the way in implementing the mid day meal scheme, children have a great future !
I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild with Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda.For me,the best part about this blogging is that this blog post by me will feed one child for a whole year.This is possible, as for each blog post written for #BlogToFeedAChild, BlogAdda will contribute to Akshaya Patra.This is part of Blogger's social responsibility by BlogAdda.