Web Mission 2013 visits Akshaya Patra
Web Mission is an entrepreneur led mission comprising of sixteen of the UK’s most promising digital wireless and mobile software technologies. The mission is supported by UK's Technology Strategy Board and British Government's Trade and Investment Department. This group of 16 entrepreneurs led Web Mission to India recently. This group visited The Akshaya Patra Foundation's Vasanthapura kitchen in Bangalore. Below is the narrative by Web Mission of their experience after visiting Akshaya Patra:
Web mission visit Akshaya Patra kitchen "When you arrive in Bangalore from the UK at 5am on a Sunday morning and then agree to get up at 6am on the Tuesday after a very full Monday, it has to be for something special."
And it was. Today, the Web Mission made an inspiring visit to one of the kitchens of the Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO whose vision is 'No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger.' Close to 8.1 million children in India are out of school and in child labour, just to earn the money for a single meal a day. Akshaya Patra has set up a series of kitchens and distribution points to give many of those children that meal free of charge whilst they attend school.
When we got to the kitchen, in a grimy suburb of Bangalore (with reinforced concrete columns in place just outside the front door: preparing for a elevated highway to lead to a new temple on a nearby hill) we experienced at first hand a working, innovative approach, which demonstrated how to take the raw materials of a child's meal at one end, and output a final cooked meal at the other. Using two ingredients India can utilise cheaply and effectively: people and gravity.
After exchanging shoes for sandals and good looks for hairnets – this is an ultra clean environment – we start our tour at the very top of the building. On the roof we are shown the silos that hold the rice and lentils that are the basis for each meal.
From there the ingredients are fed to the floor below, where the other ingredients are prepared and mixed in. This goes down stainless steel chutes to the cooking floor.
Then, when ready, the finished meal goes down a further floor to be sealed in containers, hauled into trucks and off on the journey to over 500 schools up to 70km away. That same journey happens every school day – 6 times a week. Over 600,000 meals a week; to children for whom it may be the only main meal of the day.
It’s a very effective model of innovation in processes and precise time management; built and refined on a charitable basis. As an eye-opener to Indian innovation this was definitely worth the early start.”