Get Daily Updates In Email
A Bengaluru based NGO is making a difference by coming out and feeding at least 50 lakh children across the country every day. The Akshay Patra Foundation management claims that it is the world’s largest school lunch programme to end child hunger and to support education.
This foundation already feeds 19 lakh (1.9 million) students every school day takes it a challenge to feed 50 lakh school students daily.
Ratnagada Govind Das, President of the Rajasthan unit of The Akshaya Patra Foundation that in NGO’s kitchens across 12 states in India with most centralized kitchens have the capacity to cook up to 100,000 meals around 7,000 people from different castes and creed work together to serve hot cooked meals to students.
There are 46 million malnourished children in India as per the Global Nutrition Report 2018, it ranks 103 among 119 countries in the Global Hunger Index.
Govind Das said, “We ensure that cleanliness and hygiene standards are followed in our kitchen. I and my other co-workers love cooking as it brings in a sense of satisfaction that we satiate the hunger of so many kids. The food from this Jaipur kitchen goes to distant places.”
They called the food, Prasadam as it first serves to the lord and them go to the children in the form of mid-day meals. As hunger doesn’t discriminate, the NGO (started in 2000 in Bangaluru) also don’t where people from different castes and religions cook Prasadam.
B.D. Kumawat, administration head in Ajmera’s Tikamchand School where students’ mid-day meal comes from TAPF said, “the students come from poor backgrounds and hence this food being served here is like a blessing to them. The quality and the taste is good. Hence they love coming to schools. In fact, the school attendance has gone up after the distribution of this meal”.
“The organisation is looking forward to the goal of feeding 50 lakh children each day by 2020,” Das said. He also said the maintaining the quality and delivering the fresh food is the biggest challenge for the foundation.
“As we are mainly working on feeding underprivileged kids, their parents feel relieved that at least this one nutritious meal is being served to their children for which they don’t have to worry,” he says.
Divya Jain, regional quality head at Akshay Patra, says the foundation ensures that the food satisfies the dietary requirements of the students.
“We follow the ISO 22000 standard that is the highest standard in food safety and hygiene. The food we cook here is precisely made and the menu is well-designed too. It is least hand-handled and comes with nice nutritional value. Kids love this meal as the taste is good,” he says.
“We serve a three-course menu, including chapati, pulses, vegetables, rice and soups,” he adds.
Das says it also makes parents push their children to attend school regularly and to study. “As per a survey, it has been seen that the attendance in these government schools where they get mid-day meals has increased tremendously,” Das adds.
“Hunger, malnutrition, ill-health and gender inequality are constraints to attaining an education. Through this mid-day meal programme, we have tried to tackle these problems. Further, these meals provide a sociable environment where children from different backgrounds interact and break barriers of the caste system,” he says.