Friday, 3 April 2015

Akshaya Patra serving mid-day meal as a NGO in Jodhpur

The Akshaya Patra Foundation started as a NGO in Jodhpur in August 2013. This is the fourth location of this Foundation serving mid-day meal in Rajasthan. The other serving locations are Jaipur, Baran and Nathdwara. This mid-day meal NGO serves mid-day meal to 135,910 children across 1,830 Government schools in Rajasthan. Both centralised and decentralised format of kitchen facility is available in the state, to implement the programme. The first mid-day meal kitchen by this NGO was set up way back in February 2004 in Jaipur. Baran being a remote location operates the decentralised mode of kitchen format.

As a NGO in Jodhpur, the Foundation provides mid-day meal to 6,417 children across 148 Government schools. The Jodhpur kitchen is a centralised unit with the potential to increase its cooking capacity. The kitchen is equipped with state-of-the-art facility to prepare meals by keeping intact all the hygiene and cleanliness intact. Akshaya Patra ensures that quality of the meal should meet the required dietary norms and at the same time should be hundred percent hygienic and clean to be consumed. Thus the Foundation gives high importance to each step of the cooking processes across all its kitchens regardless of being centralised or decentralised kitchen.

Apart from providing mid-day meal in Rajasthan the Foundation also implements the mid-day meal programme in nine other states of India namely Assam, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. In total it covers 23 locations across the country. Currently the number of mid-day meal beneficiaries of this NGO totals up to more than 1.4 million children studying in more than 10,700 Government schools across India. As a NGO in Jodhpur, this Foundation has been able to positively change thousands of lives in a span of less than two years. It has nourished the young minds with wholesome meal each day. It has been able to instil the hope that tomorrow also the children will be served with the same nutritious meal. This in turn has given confidence to the parents that sending children to school actually has the dual benefit of food and education.

To implement the free school lunch programme in Rajasthan, Akshaya Patra has received ample support from the Central Government and the Rajasthan State Government in the form of grants and subsidies. Along with Governmental support, there have been many philanthropists and social supporters who have come forward to encourage the cause of mid-day meal programme. Witnessing the potential of this programme in addressing issues of illiteracy, hunger and poverty, Government and citizens are stepping up to expand it to cover all parts of the country.

With collective support this Foundation aims to feed mid-day meal in Rajasthan and other parts of the country to the extent of breaking the recurring cycle of poverty-hunger-illiteracy.

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