Samika Tara

Being a Youth Ambassador has been life changing from asking my uncles to donate money to raising $900 at my high school. I’ve been an Ambassador for 3 years, but this summer everything changed for me when I visited Jaipur. Growing up, I visited India every year.

It’s a different outlook as to when I first visited, I thought there was no solution to the 5 year old boy peeling corn on the streets to the millions of kids running behind my car asking for money. There is a feeling you get when you realize you are so much more fortunate than they are and I just wanted to help. So, I would buy them ice cream or give them a couple rupees, but after I did that hundreds of kids would begging for more. It was never ending and I truly believed India will remain like this forever.

When I first heard about Akshaya Patra I was 9, But this summer I had the opportunity to work at the kitchens in India and experience Akshaya Patra first hand. Not only does it give them food, it gives them education and that is something that I never thought to be as a privilege. But, when I went there I learned so much more about the charity that I would like to share with you. In India, my paranoid mother doesn’t let us eat at 5 star restaurants, but after seeing how clean and hygienic the food in Akshaya Patra was she actually gave me the bowl of kitcheree and believe me coming from a girl who has always hated dal, it was delicious.

After visiting the kitchen, we went and served the kids and I saw this little girl drinking the kictheree straight from the bowl because she was enjoying it that much. To most of these kids that was the only meal they get. Speaking with one girl, I found out that her mother begs to clean other’s dishes so she can scrape the food left on the plate to split amongst her and her children. These girls were brought up being taught that it is their brother who is allowed to go to school, but I went to an all girls school and the reason they were there was because of Akshaya Patra giving them a free meal. I heard so many stories of how these girls were so motivated to becoming doctors and lawyers and inventors of the world. They had passion for education that I know us kids often take for granted.

One brilliant girl didn’t want to do any of those things, instead she wanted to grow up to motivate other girls to come to school and drive other woman to show their true power. She was 12 and she was already thinking about helping for a better tomorrow. Akshaya Patra is doing a beautiful thing as it’s giving education alongside unlimited food. It actually is unlimited food and I saw the concept with my own eyes. Kids get as many helpings as they want. After they are all full, the kids bring little lunch boxes where they get to take for their family, and EVEN AFTER that – Akshaya Patra takes the remaining food to the villages so others can eat and learn about Akshaya Patra. The children there don’t get the same meal everyday as there is always a new item on the menu. Not only that, they actually give elementary, middle and high kids different meals from each other as they fit the nutrition level for each grade system. Brownies, hot fudge, cupcakes, and jelly-filled donuts are given to kids. I honestly couldn’t stop eating them and it was surprising how delicious they were. But Akshaya Patra truly looks at the interest of the kids, even by giving them water bottles with their meals.

Sometimes we don’t even know how much a person is helping until you go there and with my experience I found out that akshaya Patra was doing so much more than I even knew and there is no other word than beautiful and I thank them for letting me be a part of such a wonderful cause. And from all of us kids we are the future generation and I want to help Akshaya Patra reach the goal to feeding 5 million kids every single day. Now I can keep going on about the best summer I’ve had but I decided to capture the moments on my camera so I can show you through my eyes. Thank you so much for all your support and I hope you could donate to make a difference in someone’s life as well.

Visit Samika Tara’s Fundraising Page