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Ngo In Assam And Its Mid-day Meal Impact

By Author: Akshaya Patra
Total Articles: 20

Verdant landscape, world-renowned tea plantations, rich culture and heritage, exquisite flora and fauna, and the mighty Brahmaputra characterises the valley of Assam tucked away in the north-eastern part of India. Assam is the biggest and most accessible of the north-eastern states and is often called as the gateway to north-east India. In February 2010, The Akshaya Patra Foundation made its foray into this part of the country by establishing its kitchen in Guwahati. As an NGO in Guwahati, Akshaya Patra is currently providing mid-day meal i.e. school lunch to 47,249 students in 607 schools on each school day.

Mid-day meal in Assam

Assam as a state started implementing the cooked mid-day meal programme from January 2005. The latest statistics suggest that 7,46,203 meals have been served in the state under this Scheme. Akshaya Patra’s foray into the state as a mid-day meal NGO further boosted the programme. The NGO implements the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in partnership with Assam State Government and the Central Government while being supported by philanthropic donors too. Akshaya Patra is providing mid-day meal in Assam from its centralised kitchen located in Amingaon, Guwahati. This kitchen is ISO 22000:2005 certified and has the capacity to feed up to 50,000 children per day.

Alike all Akshaya Patra kitchen, the Guwahati kitchen too strictly adheres to hygiene and cleanliness practices while preparing meals. The kitchen is equipped with cauldrons for preparing rice, dal, and vegetables, rice chutes, trolleys, boilers, and conveyor belts for loading packed vessels into the delivery vans. The Guwahati kitchen has a fleet of 28 customised insulated delivery vehicles to deliver cooked meals to beneficiary schools.

The Assam kitchen has also adopted eco-friendly measures such as tube lights have been replaced with LED lights and tin roofs have been replaced with transparent sheets in some sections of the kitchen premise for natural light. This kitchen has adopted methodologies such as Kaizen, Continuous Improvement Projects and Six Sigma to enhance productivity and efficiency of operational processes.

What does Akshaya Patra serve in Assam?

The meal menu of Akshaya Patra is designed to suit the local taste so that children readily eat their lunch and benefit from it. Hence, by keeping intact the recommended nutritional levels, Akshaya Patra has designed location-specific menus, and the same holds good in Assam too. Some of the menu items served to children of Assam are: rice, vegetable pulao (rice-based dish made with mix vegetables), khichdi (a dish made of rice, lentils and vegetables), dal (lentil curry), mix vegetable, rajma sabji (a dish made of kidney beans), kabuli chana sabji (chickpea curry), and kheer (rice-based sweet dish).

Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meal makes a difference

There is a reason behind every cause. And, the reason behind Akshaya Patra’s commitment to serve nutritious meals to children every day and support their schooling is the hopes and dreams of children. It is the willpower of children that motivates Akshaya Patra to continue and expand its service. Here are two snippets of Akshaya Patra beneficiaries:

• Mrinmay Malakar, an Akshaya Patra beneficiary from Assam aspires to be a Professor. In his words, “Mid-day meals are very important. The mid-day meal served in the school is a relief for the family. At home, it’s mostly rice, dal or pitha (a type of local bread made of rice flour). Vegetables or lentils are not on the family’s menu every day. I enjoy my school lunch especially on Wednesdays and Saturdays when we get kheer, khichdi and vegetable pulao - a delicacy which is rarely cooked at home.”
• Parvati, another Akshaya Patra beneficiary from Assam aspires to be a Police Officer. She comes from a not-so-privileged background and has the complete support of her mother with regards to her education. Parvati’s mother opines that education will help her daughter succeed in life and also aid in leading a better life than the current one. Also, the fact that Parvati gets mid-day meal at school comes by as a great relief for the mother.

These are stories of just two beneficiaries and there are thousands of such stories. Children like Mrinmay and Parvati are able to attend school and are able to dream and hope only because of the school lunch they receive on each school day. Should there be any better reason than this to support this cause?

Support Akshaya Patra to feed more children in Assam

As a mid-day meal NGO in Assam, Akshaya Patra wants to expand its operations to other parts of the state so that more children can be nourished with wholesome meals. Be a part of this endeavour by choosing to donate to charity. You can choose to donate meals for a select number of children, adopt a school or help the Foundation to set up new kitchens in the state. Your contribution will provide healthy meals to children, support their education, and uphold their dreams and hopes. Make an everlasting change. Act now!

More About the Author

I'm a social volunteer, lives in Bengaluru. I do work for NGOs to make society better. Currently I'm working for The Akshaya Patra Foundation. It's an NGO in India which provides wholesome nutritious mid-day meals to government school children to end classroom hunger. https://www.akshayapatra.org/

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