For almost two decades now, the Akshaya Patra Foundation has committed itself to supporting education for children in India through providing quality, nutritious school lunches. Some may ask why we chose to support education through providing school lunches. The answer to that is that just funding education would not address the underlying causes of India’s lower education rate.
A 2011 census revealed that 7.8 million children are forced to earn a livelihood while attending school, and 84 million children do not go to school at all. Due to India’s high level of poverty, many children are either forced to work while in school – which can cause them to be too tired to properly retain knowledge, or they have to drop out in order to work to support themselves and their families. The average child attending one of the schools that Akshaya Patra provides meals for comes from a low-income family who often make less than $2 per day. These families are often unable to afford the necessary foods that children need to grow, stunting their development and keeping them from retaining their education.
Seeing this massive, widespread problem, The Akshaya Patra Foundation found a solution in providing free lunchtime meals. The meals we provide are highly nutritious, and we worked closely with nutritional experts to design a vegetarian menu that contains the right amount of lipids, micronutrients, calorites, and proteins that growing children need for development. Children are not limited to one helping, and can take as much food as they want, and oftentimes children pack leftovers to take home with them. Our menu is catered toward local tastes, and depending on the need we supplement our meals with items such as peanut butter paste or fortified rice to make sure children are getting enough nutritional value out of our meals.
This is all possible due to the 51 kitchens that we operate across 13 states and 1 Union Territory in India. Our kitchens are highly optimized and extremely advanced to the point that, depending on size, each kitchen can produce anywhere between 10,000 to 250,000 highly nutritious meals per day. Because of how efficient our kitchens are, we are able to serve 1.8 million children per day for only 0.18 cents per meal. With how cost effective our meals are, you could feed a child one of our school lunches everyday for a whole year for just $20.
At Akshaya Patra, we know that when a child’s belly is full, their mind is free to soar, and with your help we can help the next generation of India soar to new heights. Donate to the Akshaya Patra Foundation today and be a part of our mission to provide meals to millions of children all throughout India.