The Akshaya Patra Foundation was started in June 2000 in Bangalore. This Foundation implements the mid day meal programme with the mission of feeding 5 million children by 2020. It drives all its work towards its vision of -No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger-. Though it’s primary cause is to provide mid day meal to Government schools, it emphasises equally on education of the children also. The reason being this it is looking forward to expand its reach to more and more parts of the country.
Currently, Akshaya Patra is feeding children in 19 locations of 9 States of India. Every day it feeds 1.3 million children in more than 9000 Government schools. This feeding programme has had many positive impacts like increase in school enrolment, improved attendance, improved concentration and performance of children, and decreased school drop-out rate. The mid day meal programme also acts as an incentive for the parents to send their children to school thereby the children of the needy section of the society get an opportunity to get education instead of earning for a square meal. Karnataka NGO works at the grass root level to maximise its reach. It believes in providing -unlimited food for education-.
The below story is an evidence of the same. The recent Public Examination results explained how food is a vital part of education. With an aim to pursue her career as a doctor, Smruthi D, a student of Anandashrama High School Kotekar, Mangalore took the first step towards her dream by scoring a brilliant 92%. Smruthi’s sincerity towards her dream is evident when she says, -My neighbour is pursuing medicine, I will take guidance from her and work hard to reach my goal.- Smruthi’s mother is elated with her daughter’s scorecard and says, -Smruthi will make my dreams come true even though I could not continue my education as I got married at an early age.- Apart from academics, Smruthi is also a sports enthusiast and loves to play kho-kho and throw ball. Her interest also lies in dancing and even though she has not received any formal training she has participated in many dance programmes.
An Akshaya Patra beneficiary, Smruthi loves the mid day meal served at her school and says, -I eagerly wait for the lunch time. I like the curd-based menu the best.- She comes from a humble family with her father who works as a driver and mother rolls beedi to supplement the family income. With a smile her mother says, -Just like how my earnings help my family, the mid day meal provided by Akshaya Patra helps our children.- Support many such children. They have the urge to learn and achieve, they just a little support from you.
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