Akshaya Patra’s coverage by Asianet News
Asianet News, a Malayalam news channel recently covered Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meal programme as a news feature.
The comprehensive news segment covered the extensive operations and high quality standards of the organisation’s centralised kitchen in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh. The state of the art kitchen facility provides meals for over 1,60,000 children from 1,663 schools every day.
High drop-out rates are a threat to the nation’s development and The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s objective is to secure an education for every child by providing daily mid-day meals. This is an effort to promote education and increase school enrolment, retention and focus on academics. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds, who would otherwise have no option but to turn towards labour to earn money for food, find satisfaction in the fresh, nutritious meal provided to them at lunchtime every day.
With a satiated appetite, these children have an increased interest in academics and improved health. Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meals are planned and prepared keeping in mind the dietary requirements of growing children.
Quality and hygiene are essential priorities of the process, especially since the food is being prepared for children. Raw materials are stored in hygienic conditions, containers are sterilized, and workers mandatorily wear protective gear at all times. Quality checks are conducted at each step of the cooking process and entire batches of food are rejected if proven unfit for consumption.
The preparation process goes on for about 4-5 hours early in the morning and different activities take place on each floor. The food is then packed in containers and promptly delivered to each school by lunchtime in custom-built vehicles.
So far, over 1.3 million children have benefitted from Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meal programme. They look forward to their daily lunchtime meal, more so when it is accompanied by kheer.
School enrolment and retention has increased, and the programme has been a successful incentive for children to seek and continue an education.