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Akshaya Patra USA

Posted on September 08 2015

Akshaya Patra USA
On a cloudy afternoon in June, we visit the Government Lower Primary School in Dasarahalli, Bangalore. The gloomy phase soon changes with the echoes of children. While we enter the school, some students are enjoying a game of Kho Kho. Started in 1954, The Government Lower Primary School in Dasrahalli, Bangalore is home to 422 students and 15 teachers.
We are then introduced to 12-year-old Yashoda who tell us her story. With an aspiration to become a teacher, Yashoda, is a bright student in class and is amongst the best in her section. During the discussion, Mr. Gangahomaiah reveals that Yashoda had recently lost her father. A sudden sickness struck him in late 2014 which unfortunately led to his sudden demise. Her father was formally a carpenter and was the only working member of the family. “My mother was a home maker till the demise of my father. Since he was the only working member of the family, my mother started working at a garment industry to make ends meet.” Yashoda and her mother reside at a small one bedroom house about a kilometer away from the school. “Initially it was hard for us because my father provided us with everything. We were shocked when he passed away,” says Yashoda.
What Yashoda tell us next is inspiring. “My father’s wish was that I become a lecturer at a college and educate students. He inspired me and I want to do my best.” His demise, in fact hasn’t deterred her from following her ambition of becoming a teacher. Determined to follow her aspiration, Yashoda also wants to give back to society. “When I start teaching, I will also make it a point to educate the poor,” she added with a smile.
As we conclude our conversation, the bell rings for lunch and we don’t want to keep Yashoda waiting. During the lunch hour, the students at the school are taken to the dining hall on the 3rd floor. Its pulao (rice based dish cooked in a broth) and curd (yogurt) for lunch as students’ line up for their meal. Yashoda is particularly fond of the pulao and says, “I love the pulao served by Akshaya Patra. The vegetables are nutritious and healthy for us.” We thank Mr. Gangahomaiah for his hospitality and wish Yashoda all the very best. She signs off with a ‘Thank You’ and commends Akshaya Patra for providing mid-day meals to her school.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation is the world's largest NGO run mid-day school meal programs feeding 1.4 million underserved children in government run schools in India. We combine good management, innovative technology and smart engineering to prepare and deliver a fresh meal at a fraction of the cost of similar programs worldwide.
We work to give children an incentive to come to school, while providing them with the necessary nutrition to develop cognitive abilities and to focus on learning. An impact assessment of Akshaya Patra's program conducted by AC Nielsen, the world's leading market research company, demonstrated:
- Increased school enrollment (especially for girls)
- Increased school attendance and retention in children
- Improved performance and health in children

We have set an ambitious goal which is to reach 5 million children by 2020.
Please visit www.foodforeducation.org.
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