The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an Indian NGO implementing the Central Mid-Day Meal Scheme across Government schools. It was initiated in the year 2000 in Bengaluru, Karnataka. Initially it began feeding in five Government schools of the Bengaluru city. Witnessing the overwhelming response for the need of the programme, Akshaya Patra strategically began expanding its operations to other parts of the state and eventually to other states of India. Currently, Akshaya Patra is feeding Government school children of 24 locations across 10 states namely: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. In total, Akshaya Patra feeds more than 1.4 million children every day across the country.
These beneficiaries come from humble background but bring with them high aspirations. They are determined enough to not let their unfavourable socio-economic status come as a hurdle when it is the question of pursuing their dreams. At Akshaya Patra, each meal has its own unique story. Hence, the NGO ensures that it provides nutritious, hygienic and tasty food on each day. It also designs its menu based on the location to cater to the local palate. For example: the menu of Akshaya Patra kitchen at Karnataka will cater to South Indian palate whereas the menu item of Akshaya Patra Gujarat will cater to North Indian palate.
Over the years of implementation of mid-day meal, the Government of India along with partner NGOs has witnessed positive impact on the growth, development and regularity to school among children. Studies have also brought to fore that there has been increase in enrolment and attendance, also decreasing the rate of dropout. Mid-Day Meal Scheme has shown significant results in countering classroom hunger among children. These positive alterations during the growth years of children give them the confidence to lead a self-sustaining life in the future. It instils in them the determination and certainty of being able to come out of the vicious cycle of poverty, hunger and illiteracy.
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