Akshaya Patra: Stepping Closer Towards Our Mission.

Akshaya Patra

The anticipation one feels prior to the arrival of a delicious meal, is unmatched. The joy that follows the sight of a steaming hot meal is even more intense! Isn’t it wonderful that over 1.6 million school children in India get to experience this very joy every day in the form of a nutritious school lunch from Akshaya Patra? As we scale up our efforts to expand across the country, the number of beneficiaries we feed every day is about to rise dramatically too! Thanks to the groundwork laid in 2016, the year 2017 will see us taking a significant leap towards our mission of feeding 5 million children by 2020.

In 2016, we opened our innings in Maharashtra with our first kitchen in the state, in Nagpur.  We also added two more locations to our presence in Andhra Pradesh – Kakinada and Mangalagiri. Towards the end of the year, in December, we laid the Foundation for our first high-tech mega kitchen at Khandi in Telangana. The construction cost of the kitchen will be covered by the Infosys Foundation, which has donated Rs 18.03 crore towards it. This kitchen will feed over 1,00,000 children in the region from the next academic year.

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We also initiated the process of setting up 11 new kitchens in Uttar Pradesh in the last month of 2016. The groundbreaking ceremony for the same was performed by Honourable Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Shri Akhilesh Yadav, on December 26, 2016 at Lok Bhavan, New Secretariat, Lucknow. Children in the districts of Varanasi, Ghaziabad, Agra, Allahabad, Kanpur, Etawah, Kannauj, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Rampur and Ballia will benefit from our Mid-Day Meal Programme after the establishment of these kitchens. It will expand our reach to 13 lakh beneficiary children in UP from the current 2,11,680.

We are striving hard to expand our reach across the country, where 179.6 million people live below poverty line. We urgently need your support to ensure that children do not suffer dire consequences due to hunger and lack of education. Walk with us on the road to eliminating classroom hunger now. Join the cause by lending your support!

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Nagamma dreams of becoming a social worker.

Akshaya Patra

Working for a social cause, acknowledging issues in society that need urgent attention and can be resolved are the noblest of all vocations. Here is an Akshaya Patra beneficiary who anticipates becoming a social worker from the profound suffering, deep woes and agonies she has endured in life.

We noticed the empathy in her eyes when she said with extreme determination that she wanted to become a social worker, giving herself for the welfare of children who cannot study because of hunger. Hesitantly, she told that she is not certain whether she can follow through with her goal, as she does not know whether she will be able to continue her education when she completes 14. We met Nagamma at the schoolyards of Government Higher Primary School, Tarabanahalli. She is a 12- year-old studying in Std V. She hails from an underprivileged economical background. She lives with her parents and two siblings. Her father Mahesha and mother Ratnamma work as labourers at a construction site for a meagre income.

Nagamma’s family is one among the 179.6 million people in India who are living below poverty line. They do not have a land of their own and stay in a mud house on government land. The house is thatched and has a tin sheet as door. We were humbled by seeing the deplorable condition of the house. The inside of the house was abysmal. The house had bare minimum utensils, and clothes strewn on a hanging rope. We could imagine the plight during rainy season; they told us that the water enters the house, and leaking roof adds to their woes.

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The responsible sister

Nagamma has two siblings, a sister, Savithri and a brother, Chandrashekar; who studies in standard V and II respectively, in the same school (Government Higher Primary School, Tarabanahalli). Though Savithri is younger than Nagamma, she also studies in Std V with Nagamma. Nagamma had to discontinue schooling to take care of her little brother and had missed a year of school. The three children are beneficiaries of Akshaya Patra.

Nagamma told us that it was she who had helped raise her 7-year-old brother from a very young age as both her parents work hard for making ends meet. Bringing up three children is a herculean task for them. She said, “I used to bring my younger brother to class, as there was no one to take care of him at home. At first, my teachers disallowed it but later on when I could not attend classes, my teachers gave permission to bring him to class.” She added, “I am more than a mother to my little brother.”

‘Reading is a hobby, but has no time’

When we asked her, what her favourite hobby is, she told us, ‘reading’ but, she added that she does not get time for reading at home. She has to do innumerable household chores like taking care of her siblings, bringing water from the tap, washing clothes and utensils, preparing dinner among other things. Such a heavy responsibility on such small shoulders was a humbling experience for us.

An intelligent student

Her teachers are fond of her as she is very intelligent and hardworking. As soon as she reaches home, she does her homework and prepares the dinner before her parents come home from work. Though she likes studying all subjects her favourite subject is Maths since she likes to solve problems. She said, “When I am able to solve the problems correctly, I feel happy.” Her favourite teacher is Latha Miss, Nagamma says that she teaches very well and is ready to explain the mathematical sums a number of times, if required, without losing patience. Nagamma likes to play different games like Kho-kho, throw ball and the like. She has participated in running race competition held at Cluster Level. She wishes that the school has a bigger playground so that she can practice more.

Akshaya Patra Foundation Ties Up With FreeCharge To Enable Digital Donations.

Akshaya Patra Foundation

The serene beauty of the winter season induces the zeal for sharing the joy and spread some smiles. However, during these cold weather months, life becomes even harder for the under-privileged people. Demonetization has drastically impacted the count of contributions received by the NGOs from keen donors.

In this scenario, Akshaya Patra Foundation (APF) has teamed up FreeCharge, India’s leading digital payments platform to enable digital donations through an app. FreeCharge has recently launched a feature, which has a “Donate” button on its app, through which FreeCharge users can make direct donations to Akshaya Patra Foundation and other prominent NGOs in the country.

Sundeep Talwar, Chief Marketing Officer – Akshaya Patra Foundation said, “Akshaya Patra is committed to remove classroom hunger and encourage the deserving children to pursue their education without hurdles.”

Talwar further added, “This new feature on the FreeCharge App is a great way for APF to connect with kind-hearted people who value the nation’s future and are willing to support the next generation. We are positive about garnering more support through this new platform and by leveraging technology we can broaden our impact.”

This donate feature will help the users to complete donations within 10-seconds in a hassle-free and secure manner. Donors will also be given tax certificates from the NGOs with reference to their donations.

Using digital wallets for charity is indeed a great idea that will help users do their bit for causes they care for, in a smooth manner.

 

Foundation laid for first high-tech mega kitchen in Telangana.

cheque-handover

Akshaya Patra and the Infosys Foundation are a step closer to building Telangana’s first high-tech, Centralised Mega Kitchen in Khandi, as they laid its foundation stone on December 7, 2016. The Infosys Foundation has donated Rs 18.03 crores, generously committing to cover the entire construction cost of this kitchen, which will use highly advanced technology. Over 1,00,000 children in Telangana will avail be fed nutritious mid-day meals prepared in this kitchen, beginning the next academic year.

The Bhoomi Puja was attended by Shri T Harish Rao, Honourable Minister for Irrigation, Marketing & Legislative Affairs of Telangana; Smt Sudha Murty, Chairperson, Infosys Foundation;  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.

2016: Akshaya Patra Foundation Organizes Annual Photography Contest – Click A Smile!

Akshaya Patra Foundation

The Akshaya Patra Foundation (APF) brings back its acclaimed annual photography contest – Click A Smile! This contest welcomes entries from photography enthusiasts, amateur shutterbugs and professionals – worldwide. The theme is based on striking photographs that capture the joy and innocence of a child’s smile, in any setting, ranging from school, home, playground or the neighbourhood.

In 2015, “Click A Smile” saw a great response, with over 1,700 entries from 80 countries, is all set to be a bigger success in 2016, growing with zealous participation every year. The entries will be judged by a panel of well-known industry experts, who will select the winners. These winners will be given trophies, certificates and gift vouchers. The enthusiasts can mark their participations from November 20, 2016 to December 23, 2016, by uploading their best three photographs with suitable captions.

  • Contest Name: Click a Smile
  • Description: Contestants must submit up to three photographs clicked by them. The photographs can be either in color or black and white.
  • Theme: A smiling child or a group of happy children
  • Copyright: Copyright for images remains with the respective entrants
  • Usage rights: The Akshaya Patra Foundation has the right to use the images of all entries submitted for marketing & promotional purposes
  • Entry fee: Free
  • Competition dates: November 20, 2016 to December 23, 2016
  • Who can participate: Open to all photographers worldwide
  • Image Specifications: JPEG images less than 4 MB in size and should have a minimum resolution of 800 pixels.
  • Prizes: Trophy & Gift Voucher
  • Website link: http://www.akshayapatra.org/click-a-smile

Don’t miss this golden opportunity to showcase your talent to the world. You can contribute in spreading the light emanating from the innocent smiles of children. Register Now!