Wednesday, June 01, 2011

A Bowl of Food

On the afternoon of 20 February, 2011, bloggers from all around India met in Kolkata at C II, Salt Lake. I was late as usual. By the time I went, everybody was having lunch. I was shown directly to the spacious hall where a lot of scrumptious dishes were present. Too embarrassed to eat anything, I sat at a corner. I mean, what kind of a person shows up at a meet right at the time of lunch? Only, I did not know they had arrangements for lunch. So anyway, I met some lovely people there, one of whom turned out to be my senior from college! The bloggers from all around India were very cordial and we could find some mutual thread, some invisible bond that bound us all. It was there that we made a pledge, a pledge to write about the Akshaya Patra Foundation that provides food for hungry children across 8000 schools in India. This is me keeping that pledge.


It's been some time. 


From the time we wake up in the morning, to the time that we go to sleep at night, we usually find a lot of things to complain about. Our house, our work, people that need us, people that we want for to need us.... But there are many street children who fight daily for the basic minimum requirements like food, water and shelter. Education is a luxury these kids don't even dream about. The government is trying to do its part. However at the same time, we have NGOs like the Akshaya Patra Foundation whose sole aim is to provide two square meals to these underprivileged children. 






Akshaya Patra started in Bangalore in 2000, with the aim to feed 1500 children. Today it is the world's largest NGO midday meal programme for underprivileged children. Right now it  feeds about 1.2 million children across schools. The aim of the Foundation is to serve 5 million children daily by 2020. In addition to reputation inside the country, the Foundation has also achieved the praise of US President Barack Obama who said that the foundation has “an imaginative approach that has the potential to serve as a model for other countries". The Harvard Business School and the Limca Book of World Records have recognized Akshaya Patra's model for precise time management. From children like Bhabhani to Minu (http://www.akshayapatra.org/stories-children), from kitchens at Vishakhapatnam to Puri, from Bangalore to Jaipur (http://www.akshayapatra.org/our-kitchens), Akshaya Patra has been monumental in driving away hunger, a fundamental problem of the country. 




Those who work with NGOs know that a big problem with the NGOs of India today is corruption. Millions of rupees from donations and funds are usurped. The money never reaches the needy. The Akshaya Patra Foundation has made a landmark in this field by being granted the Award for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) for the year ending 31 March 2010. In addition, it has received awards from the Indian Express, South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) and Indian Urban Space Foundation (http://www.akshayapatra.org/awards).

The best thing about this organization is that they never ask you to help only by donating money. You can get involved in whatever you like. Volunteer, write, create awareness. Do your part. That's more than enough.

Have more questions? Visit 
www.akshayapatra.org.

2 comments:

Anukriti Sharma said...

Awesome blog and you write with your heart! keep penning! its beautiful!

the silent observer said...

thanks anukriti, you have a beautiful name.. :)