On an exclusive interview with India New England, Desh Deshpande talks about his experience in working with Akshaya Patra and about the 7th Annual Boston benefit that will be held on 29th March 2014 by The Akshaya Patra Foundation, USA.
In the talk, he brings out the importance to feed children in India, with nutritious meal so that they focus on education. He says the key to better life is education and hence it is important to work hard at realising Akshaya Patra mission of addressing classroom hunger.
Desh Deshpande expressed that Akshaya Patra now feeds 1.3 million children every school day, and his association with organisation has given him an opportunity to play a small role in supporting the Akshaya Patra Mission. He added that he talks about the organisation’s effort wherever he goes and is enthused by the amount of support that he has received from various individuals towards the cause.
Advising the local communities he invited support from local individuals in terms of finance, skills and emotional support, inviting people to contribute by attending the event on 29th March, and support the cause to feed children in India. He said that there is also “Power of One” programme where people can contribute if they cannot be present at the event. Only $15 could feed a child for a year. He explained, that it costs $30 to produce food for a child for a whole year, however $15 is contributed by Government of India and hence by donating $15, one can ensure that a child in India is served food for an entire year.
In reference to his involvement he shared that he got involved with Akshaya Patra about eight years ago. As the organisation is committed to the Akshaya Patra mission inherently and is at par with profit companies in executing its operations. To feed children in India, the organisation builds large kitchens that are technical marvels. There are 20 kitchens all over India and each kitchen serves 50,000 to 175,000 meals. The organisation, he remarked, has consistently won the GOLD award for the best accounting practices. The detailed accounting helps the organisation measure everything that is important and manage it. Akshaya Patra makes sure that food is warm and safe when served to children is the most important part of the operations.
On the subject of replication, the commitment to Akshaya Patra Mission is such that it shares its best practices and blue prints for kitchen designs with anyone who wants to duplicate the program. He said “The organisation will focus its operations in India, but is very keen to spread the word”.