Akshaya Patra completes 5 Years In Rajasthan by venkatakshaya

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Sri Chanchalapathi Dasa, Vice Chairman, Akshaya Patra Foundation said, "In Rajasthan, our journey has been extremely good and we look forward to expand our reach and feed more children across the State. We thank all our donors, well wishers and both the State and Central Government for their unrelenting support. Our automated and technology intensive kitchens help us in improving our efficiency and serving more meals per day. It is our vision that no child shall be deprived of education because of hunger."

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									Press Release




     World’s Largest School Meal Programme Completes 5 Years In
      Rajasthan; Feeds More Than 1.85 lakh Govt. School Children
                        In The State Every Day

      Akshaya Patra Foundation entered the State in November 2004, and now has
      kitchens in Jaipur, Nathdwara and Baran feeding more than 1.85 lakh government
      school children every day

      The NGO is also providing employment and livelihood training to tribal women
      through their de-centralised kitchens in Baran district, there-by helping reduce
      poverty and increase literacy rate in the region

Jaipur, Rajasthan, December 18, 2009: The Akshaya Patra Foundation (APF), the world’s
largest NGO-run school meal program, today announced that the Trust completed five years of
operations in Rajasthan State in November 2009. The Akshaya Patra Foundation has fed more than
80 million school meals across over 1500 government schools, in Rajasthan since inception. The
Akshaya Patra mid-day meals project commenced with a pilot run in Jaipur in November 2004,
covering 25 government schools and feeding 5200 children.

In a state which has a literacy rate of only 61%, the mid-day meal programme has become a
powerful incentive to attract children to schools, thus encouraging primary education. The pilot run
in the year 2004 was meant to understand the local situation before scaling up the programme.
Presently, the programme serves 150,000 school children in about 1426 schools including
anganwadis in Jaipur every day.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation later also started serving mid-day meals to 15,408 school children
every day in 164 schools in Nathdwara. Sri Chanchalapathi Dasa, Vice Chairman, Akshaya
Patra Foundation said, “In Rajasthan, our journey has been extremely good and we look forward
to expand our reach and feed more children across the State. We thank all our donors, well wishers
and both the State and Central Government for their unrelenting support. Our automated and
technology intensive kitchens help us in improving our efficiency and serving more meals per day.
It is our vision that no child shall be deprived of education because of hunger.”

Reciprocating the needs of the community it is serving, the Akshaya Patra Foundation, in some
areas such as Baran in Rajasthan, has adopted an alternate approach. Akshaya Patra’s mid-day
meal program in Baran is built on community service, with active participation from the
stakeholders, particularly tribal women. Prior to Akshaya Patra’s involvement in the community,
there was abject poverty among the Saharia tribes, the predominant inhabitants in this region.
The Saharia tribe is one of the most primitive tribes of Rajasthan, found mainly in Shahbad &
Kishanganj blocks of Baran district of Rajasthan state. Due to lack of a regular source of livelihood,
malnutrition was rampant, especially in women and children. There was high incidence of
tuberculosis and repetitive malaria. Caught in this vicious cycle of poverty and exploitation, the
tribals were slowly dying.

The Akshaya Patra mid-day meal program started in Baran district in April 2005 in five villages in
the tehsils of Kishan Ganj and Shahbad where the Saharia tribes were concentrated. To start with,
it was planned to adopt a decentralized kitchen approach rather than a centralized system like in
urban areas. The pilot run was to feed 600 impoverished, tribal children in these five villages. A
self-help group of women was formed in each village and these women were given basic training in
various aspects of cooking, hygiene, nutrition, etc.

The process of empowerment began by training these women not only in different elements of
cooking but also in maintaining accounts, inventory, requisition slips, etc. They were encouraged to
set up the kitchen near a school and the basic infrastructure to start the kitchen such as
constructing the stove, store room, washing area, etc were built under the guidance of the Akshaya
Patra team. Depending on the strength of the school and consequently, how much food was being
prepared, they would get paid anywhere between Rs.1,500 to Rs.4,000 per month.

The cooked food was served to the children studying in government schools, in anganwadis
(daycare centres). Pregnant women and nursing mothers were also encouraged to come to the
kitchen in the afternoons and have the nutritious meals. By training these self-help groups and
showing them the path to a decent livelihood, the Akshaya Patra Foundation has boosted their self-
esteem and given them a sense of purpose and pride.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation has made optimum use of technology to develop state-of-the-art
kitchens in its centres. A testimony to the fact is the recently conferred Tech Award (Education
category), signature award by the Tech Museum, USA. Akshaya Patra was judged as winner among
650 nominations across 66 countries. Akshaya Patra’s kitchens are specially designed by engineers
to leverage technology and minimize costs.

Accolades

In a letter earlier this year, Akshaya Patra Foundation was heralded by President Barack Obama as
“an imaginative approach that has the potential to serve as a model for other countries.” Akshaya
Patra has also been recognized by the Limca Book of World Records while the Harvard Business
School has developed a case study for its MBA curriculum on Akshaya Patra's operations and time
management, and the US Congressional Hunger Centre (CHC) has awarded an International Fellow
to Akshaya Patra out of 35 social organizations around the world.
About The Akshaya Patra Foundation

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a non-profit, secular trust, evolved the school meal program in the
year 2000. It started as a pilot project in five schools in Bangalore, feeding 1,500 children and has
now grown into a mammoth endeavor covering over one million children daily in over 6,500
government, government-aided schools and anganwadis (day care centers) in 18 locations spread
across seven states in India. This is the world’s largest NGO-run school meal program feeding over
one million school children daily. The foundation expects to reach a figure of five million children by
2020. For more information log on to www.akshayapatra.org

Ushering in a technology-intensive operating model that ensures high-quality, hygienic food on the
one hand and increased internal efficiencies on the other, the program has helped bring about
policy changes at the State and Central Government levels and created a new image for mid-day
meals in India. The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an eloquent demonstration of public-private
partnership as it is run with part subsidies from the Government, besides financial support from
corporates, individuals and philanthropists.


For more details, please contact:

Rajani R                                             Manish T / Ruchi Dwivedi
The Akshaya Patra Foundation                         Adfactors PR Pvt Ltd
080 23578622                                         9742272208 / 9742272203
rajani@akshaypatra.org                               manish.t@adfactorspr.com
                                                     ruchi.dwivedi@adfactorspr.com

								
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