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Akshay Patra – changing lives with a school lunch program

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“At a government-run public middle school in Bangalore, the blackboard’s cracking, the textbooks are tattered and most of the students are barefoot. But with all those challenges, the biggest obstacle that teachers face in keeping kids in school is hunger.”….NPR coverage of the school lunch program Akshay Patra

Its not often that a news report gets me all choked up but a feature by NPR was so inspiring that it  got me thinking and made me want to do my part.  The feature was on a school lunch program in India run by the Akshay Patra Foundation.  With a noble vision of ““No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger”  the foundation has supported school lunch programs over the past 11 years and hopes to feed 5 million children each day by 2020.

This story resonated with me on multiple levels.  As a parent who knows what it is to want  the best for their child , it is gut wrenching to me that there are children around the world (see the story of Suchitra on the NPR news cast) who want to go to school and but cry on the bus at the idea of having to face the day on an empty stomach.  And then there was the aspect of fresh food…after hearing the continuous uproar of partially hydrogenated junk food that children in the US have access to, it was nice to hear that the entire meal provided by Akshay Patra was freshly cooked (on the same day)….all natural… and healthy with a good dose of vegetables.

Today Akshay Patra serves 8,000 schools and feeds nearly 1.3 million children in  India, enabling them to stay in school and secure their long term future.  Sridhar Venkat – an ex-corporate executive who runs the program talks about success stories and the gives an example of the profound effect this program had on a student who went on to college and became an engineer.

So how can you help?  If you are in India – a small sum of Rs 675 (around $15) can feed a child for an entire year.  Go to the online donation portal and contribute or volunteer your time today.   If you are in the US, you can donate through the Akshay Patra USA foundation at this portal or get involved in other ways like a corporate sponsorship, or simply spreading the word within your community.

To listen to the full NPR story or get the transcript – go here

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Written by Redpatang

April 19, 2012 at 10:05 am

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