Giving Every Dream a Chance – Akshaya Patra’s Magical Evening Celebrating the Dreams of Beneficiary Children

Bengaluru, 14 April, 2018: An event showcasing the beneficiaries of Akshaya Patra’s “Giving Every Dream a Chance”—a special initiative to nurture children with unique dreams was held at Taj Yeshwantpur, Bangalore. The Foundation started this initiative with the conviction that every child has a dream; each dream is valid - for their dreams, thoughts, and aspirations make these children what they are. It is the Foundation’s humble attempt to identify children with special dreams and give them the opportunity to realise these dreams.

The event also marked the launch of the mascot of “Swachh Vidyarthi, Swachh Vidyalaya, Swachh Gruha” - an initiative by Akshaya Patra to achieve Swachh Bharat. The mascot is named ‘Sunny’ and the two child characters associated with the campaign are named Bhoomi and Akash.

The event was graced by Padma Shri Honoree Shri D. R. Kaarthikeyan, Advisor- Law Human Rights – Corporate Affairs and former Director General of National Human Rights Commission, Director of CBI, Special Director General CRPF as the Chief Guest.

Other guests of honour at the event in support of the initiative were Mr Roberto Narain - Head of Drumjam, Mrs Vasundhara Das - Singer, Actress, Composer, lyricist, Entrepreneur and Environmental Activist, Mrs Mayuri Upadhya – Co-Founder and Director of Nritarutya Dance, Arjun Halappa – former captain of the Indian Hockey Team, and a galaxy of stars from the film and entertainment industry namely Suraj Gowda, Meghna Gaonkar, Dhananjay, Shruti Hariharan, Samyukta Hornad, Vashista N Simha, Sonu Gowda, Ragini Dwivedi, Navdeep, Naveen, Arun Sagar, and Rajshri Ponnappa.

The event was presided by Shri Madhu Pandit Dasa – Chairman, The Akshaya Patra Foundation in the presence of Shri Chanchalapati Dasa - Vice Chairman, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, and the unit presidents of Akshaya Patra kitchens across the country.

Starting with three children, ‘Giving Every Dream a Chance’ as an initiative has scaled up to mentor more than 300 children from 15 Government Schools in Bengaluru, Hubballi, Hyderabad, and Vrindavan. Taking due note of their passion, Akshaya Patra supported these children with mentorship programs, wherein they were coached, groomed, and guided by the experts of their respective fields. These children were provided training in various fields, including Dance, Theatre, Origami, Math, Science, English, and Football.

On the occasion, Shri Madhu Pandit Dasa said, “We are grateful to the Chief Guest and the Guests of Honour for gracing the event as a sign of support to the initiative. Giving Every Dream a Chance took shape in 2016 as a pilot project with three children. The success of the pilot encouraged us to expand the initiative to 4 locations where we provided mentorship to over 300 children in areas of their interest. This occasion is to join hands to support these children to continue and pursue their dreams till they achieve it. This is also an occasion to say it is just a step forward - there are million more dreams to be given a chance. I would like to thank the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, The Government of Karnataka, and all State Governments for supporting and encouraging us in our every endeavour.”

Shri Chanchalapathi Dasa expressed, “The Akshaya Patra Foundation harbours on the principle to nurture dreams of its beneficiary children and provide the right path to accomplish anything they aspire. To implement this resolution, in 2015-16, the Foundation took a step beyond the mid-day meals and started the project, ‘Giving Every Dream a

Chance’ - our attempt to identify children with special dreams and give them the opportunity to realise it. Starting with just three children, the initiative has grown to provide mentorship to more than 300 children and we plan to scale it up to 5000 children in 2018-19. We are truly grateful to Chef Ramasamy Selvarju and Priya Vishwanathan of Taj Yeshwantpur for supporting the initiative from the beginning.”

Guests present at the event appreciated the initiative and encouraged the Foundation to strive forward and support children pursue their dreams.

The audience were enthralled by the performances of Vaishnav Girish – Participant of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil Champs and Indian Idol Junior, and Anjana Padmanabhan – First Indian Idol Junior Winner.

The event was supported by Radio One 94.3FM as Radio Partner.

As a part of the Giving Every Dream a Chance initiative, children with unique dreams were identified and mentored by experts from various fields. This unique programme was launched on June 11, 2016, at the Vivanta by Taj by Chief Guest, Mrs Sudha Murty - Chairperson, Infosys Foundation, a benevolent supporter of Akshaya Patra. The event was presided by Shri Madhu Pandit Dasa - Chairman of The Akshaya Patra Foundation, in the presence of Mohandas Pai who also serves as an independent trustee of the Foundation. In its first year, three beneficiaries were given necessary mentorship and training through professionals in the field of their choice.

About The Akshaya Patra Foundation

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation headquartered in Bengaluru, India, which strives to address issues like hunger and malnutrition in the country. By implementing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in Government and Government-aided schools, Akshaya Patra aims to fight hunger and at the same time, bring children to school.

Since 2000, Akshaya Patra has worked towards reaching more children with wholesome food on every single school day. The Foundation is continuously leveraging technology to cater to millions of children. Its state-of-the-art kitchens have become a subject of study and attract curious visitors from around the world.

In partnership with the Government of India and various State Governments, and the inestimable support of many philanthropic donors and well-wishers, Akshaya Patra has grown from humble beginnings serving just 1,500 school children across 5 schools. Today, it is the world’s largest (not-for-profit run) mid-day meal programme, serving wholesome food to over 1.6 million children from 13,839 schools across 12 states in India.

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