Nobel Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus Visits Hubballi Kitchen
Prof. Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate, Founder of Grameen Bank visited Akshaya Patra’s Hubballi kitchen on 7 February, 2016. He was accompanied by Anousheh Ansari, Co-founder, Chairwoman and CEO of Prodea Systems and Dr “Desh” Deshpande of the Deshpande Foundation along with others.
The dignitaries were warmly received by Sridhar Venkat, CEO-Akshaya Patra along with other members of the organisation. Prof. Yunus then took nearly an hour-long trip around the kitchen to see how it caters to school students in and around Hubballi, during which he was briefed about the operation by Sridhar Venkat.
Visibly impressed by the efforts of the Foundation to cater meals to thousands of students, Prof. Yunus said, “This has been a great visit and it is wonderful to see how Akshaya Patra is reaching out to children in a huge way and addressing malnutrition for India’s children."
He pointed out that malnutrition is a global problem that affects physical and mental growth of children and if this issue is not tackled seriously it can affect an entire generation.
He said, “Akshaya Patra is dealing with this critical issue in a manner so beautifully that nobody can beat it and hence it should further scale up so that more number of children can receive Akshaya Patra’s meals and become physically fit and mentally ready to absorb things around.”
He also lauded our meals and said “that children love the meals that is served to them”
Overwhelmed by the kitchen tour, Anousheh Ansari said, “I was completely blown away looking at the kitchen operation, the attention given to every step of the process and quality control. I walked into the kitchen and the aroma was so appetizing which clearly indicates the great quality of the meals. I cannot think of a better purpose one can dedicate their lives to than serving food to children. The dedication with which the team functions is amazing; working on weekends to make sure that hot meals are served to children is a validation of the wonderful job that you guys are doing. Congratulations!”
Later during the day at the Development Dialogue, 2016 held at the Deshpande Foundation, Sridhar Venkat was presented with an award by Prof. Muhammad Yunus and Dr “Desh” Deshpande for Akshaya Patra’s commendable service to the society. The Development Dialogue is an annual conference that is held as a part of the Hubballi Sandbox bringing together local leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators who can focus and develop solutions to local issues.
Sridhar Venkat was extremely happy to receive the award given to Akshaya Patra and to host Prof. Yunus at Akshaya Patra Hubballi. Expressing his delight he said, “It was an honour to welcome Prof. Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate, Founder of Grameen Bank to Akshaya Patra Hubballi. Prof. Yunus encouraged Akshaya Patra for the work which we are doing and spent quality time in the early morning hours on 7 February, Sunday. We at Akshaya Patra are thankful to Prof. Yunus and his colleagues for taking out time on a Sunday morning to visit the Akshaya Patra kitchen. This will further encourage us to reach out to a multitude of children and serve them better.”