Madhu Pandit Dasa, Chairman of The Akshaya Patra Foundation has been conferred upon the Padma Shri. The prestigious award has been endowed to recognise the valuable contribution of Akshaya Patra towards the children of India.
Madhu Pandit Dasa, who is also the President of ISKCON Bangalore, has dedicated the award to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada, the spiritual leader whose inspiration led to the birth of Akshaya Patra in 2000. “Srila Prabhupada the founder of ISKCON desired that no one should go hungry in this country. This award is recognition of our humble service of leading this cause of nutrition for education amongst the government school children through the Akshaya Patra programme,” Madhu Pandit Dasa said.
Akshaya Patra, which has partnered with the Central and State Governments of India in delivering mid-day meals to school children, is one of the most appreciated Public Private Partnerships India has ever seen in the field of education and child welfare. Several case studies into the impact of Akshaya Patra Mid-Day Meal Programme have provided solid evidence to show that it has improved school enrolment, attendance, nutritional status of children and student concentration.
From designing the first centralised kitchen to distributing mid-day meals to school children in Bangalore, Madhu Pandit Dasa has a prominent role in making what Akshaya Patra is today. It was under his guidance that The Akshaya Patra Foundation grew from feeding 1500 children to over 1.4 million in 2016. Today, the Mid-Day Meal programme of Akshaya Patra is the largest NGO-run school lunch programme in the world.
Madhu Pandit Dasa has also been responsible for setting up a strong Governance Model in Akshaya Patra, with transparency and accountability as one of its core values.
Madhu Pandit Dasa, is an alumnus of IIT-Mumbai. While pursuing an M-Tech course in IIT Mumbai, he dedicated his life to the service of humanity by becoming a full-time member of ISKCON.