Bangalore, Karnataka India (PressExposure) June 27, 2008 -- Akshaya Patra Foundation along with Delhi Government inaugurated another centre (sixth) of "Aap ki Rasoi" recently. It is the hunger free program being run by the Delhi Government jointly with the Akshaya Patra Foundation, which currently operates the world's largest mid day meal program across six states. The Hunger Free Campaign program is an innovative initiative under the Bhagidari scheme of the Delhi Government which intends to ensure at least one full time meal to the homeless and the destitute. Akshaya Patra's expertise in providing healthy and hygienic food over the last eight years to over 8.50 lakh children will come very handy in their ability to feed the underprivileged and hungry in India's capital.
The ambitious scheme has taken off with a number of centres already functional and serving their purpose. It is acting as the nodal agency to bring in a series of corporate companies, NGOs and institutions like Reliance, Guru Govind Singh Hospital, the Taj Hotels, Haldiram, Batra Hopsitals, to name a few, who have come forward to lend a hand and funds to take the program to the needy.
The latest centre, at the Night Shelter, Shahdara (near Delhi Jal Board office), GT Road, is sponsored by the Neotia Foundation. The Hunger Free Campaign began with the inaugural ceremony by Yoganand Shastri, Welfare Minister, Delhi. Meals were served to the poor and the needy. Meals, on the regular basis will be provided daily between 12 noon to 3 pm.
The Bhagidari effort by the New Delhi Government and Akshaya Patra has opened to a healthy response not just from the target audience of the poor but also from the corporate world with more and more coming forward to be associated with welfare initiative. With Akshaya Patra Foundation playing a positive role, the Government is eliciting a favorable response to adopt many sites for similar purpose.
Akshaya Patra's Suvyekta Narasimhan Das, Project-in-Charge for the Hunger Free Campaign believed that a good beginning has been made in Delhi but there is a long road ahead. "We are here to play a role of the catalyst and so far the response has been welcome, be it from the private sector, NGOs, hospitals and other institutions, "he said.
MORE ABOUT AKSHAYA PATRA
Unlimited Food for Education
(NATIONAL LEVEL SCHOOL MEAL PROGRAMME)
According to a UNESCO report, around 13.5 million children in the age group of 6-13 years are out of school in India. Despite the trillion-dollar economic growth, a large chunk of India's younger generation does not have access to schools because of poverty and malnutrition.
To facilitate the education of needy children, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, provides unlimited noon meals in schools in partnership with the Central and respective state governments of India. Currently the program is feeding around 8.5 lakh children in over 4,500 government, government aided schools and anganwadis (day care centers) in 14 locations across India on any given day.
They are Bangalore, Hubli-Dharwad, Bellary, Mangalore and Mysore in Karnataka, Anantpur in Andhra Pradesh, Jaipur, Nathdwara and Baran in Rajasthan, Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar in Gujarat and Puri in Orissa. This is the largest NGO run school meal program in the world.
What makes Akshaya Patra unique?
Â¨ The Akshaya Patra program uses centralized, automated kitchens for cooking food which is then distributed to schools through special purpose vehicles.
Â¨ Akshaya Patra's kitchens can cook about 100,000 meals in less than five hours with least human intervention and sustained quality.
Â¨ A three item menu is served to children as per the recommendations ofqualified nutritionists.
Â¨ Due to extensive mechanization of the kitchen, the program is able to offer children standardized, high quality, hygienic meals.
Â¨ The program also offers education and health interventions for holistic child development.
Â¨ Akshaya Patra is a secular, not-for-profit program implemented only in government schools where there is no discrimination whatsoever.
Â¨ The program is independently governed by a Board of Trustees & audited by KPMG.
Â¨ A study in the year 2006 by AC Nielsen Org Marg Pvt Ltd, has vouchsafed for the efficacy of the program in increasing attendance and enrolment in schools, improving nutritional status of these children, enhancing their learning abilities and reducing drop out rates.
Â¨ Akshaya Patra program is run with part subsidies from the government, besides financial support from corporates and individual philanthropists.
Â¨ All contributions to The Akshaya Patra Foundation are eligible for 100% tax deduction under section 35AC/80GGA (bb) of the Income Tax Act1961 in India.
Â¨ With a vision to ensure that no child in India is deprived of education because of hunger, the Akshaya Patra Foundation is striving to end hunger and create a human resources pool that will propel India into the league of developed nations.