Akshaya Patra Foundation implements Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations

Akshaya Patra kitchen in the Vasanthpura location on December 14, 2023, in Bangalore, India. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Bangalore, India: The Akshaya Patra Foundation, which runs the world’s largest mid-day meal program in India, is not just approaching the milestone of serving its four billionth meal in March 2024, but is also at the forefront of fulfilling several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations.

The Foundation directly contributes to Zero Hunger (SDG 2) and Quality Education (SDG 4), and indirectly supports No Poverty (SDG 1), Good Health and Well-being (SDG 3), Gender Equality (SDG 5), Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7), and Reduced Inequalities (SDG 10).

Food being loaded into the Akshaya Patra truck for delivery at the Hare Krishna Hill location on December 14, 2023, in Bangalore, India. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

News India Times was given exclusive access to Akshaya Patra’s kitchens in Bangalore and Vrindavan, in India, to witness cooking, food packing procedures, hygiene and security practices, quality control protocols, and transportation efforts.

Vice Chairman, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, and Senior Vice President, The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) Bangalore, Sri Chanchalapathi Dasa, told News India Times, “The unique features of Akshaya Patra are our scale, track record of relentless execution to feed 2.2 million children every day for 23 years, working with the governments for strategic benefit of the children, providing nutritious and ready-to-eat hot meals. Now we wish to take this learning and experience to feed the vulnerable sections of society all over the world.”

Chairman & CEO of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, Padma Shri recipient Dr. Sudhir Parikh told News India Times, “I am very privileged and proud to be associated with the Akshaya Patra Foundation, USA chapter since its inception. It’s a great NGO, and we are raising significant amount of funds to provide children almost 2 million hot meals per day.”

Dr. Parikh, who’s also the senior advisor to the Foundation said “I personally believe that hot meals are the only incentive through which we can attract children from villages and tribal areas. Education is the best donation that will lift not only the future of the children but also the future of their families,” noting that the Foundation can always count on Parikh Worldwide Media and him personally.

The Foundation was started by ISKCON Bangalore, as a humble initiative in the year 2000, to provide meals to 1,500 children in five schools in Bengaluru. It has now evolved into a significant undertaking thereby extending its impact to over 2 million school children nationwide.

Food being packed for delivery on December 16, 2023, in the Akshaya Patra Vrindavan location in Uttar Pradesh, India. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times.

“A significant milestone in our journey was the serving of the three billionth meal on 11 February 2019, a feat commemorated in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, in the presence of Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His words of appreciation underscore the impact and dedication of everyone associated with Akshaya Patra,” Executive Director, Strategy and International Relations, The Akshaya Patra Foundation and ISKCON Bangalore, Naveena Neerada Dasa told News India Times. “In fact, the two billionth meal was served and commemorated by the then President of India, Pranab Mukherjee in 2016.”

The Foundation is currently the implementing body for the PM POSHAN Abhiyaan initiative, jointly run by the Foundation and India’s Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Education, focused on alleviating hunger and improving education for school children in Government and Government-aided schools nationwide.

In 2003, the Foundation also forged a pioneering Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with the Government of Karnataka, leading the way for the implementation of the school feeding programme under the Akshara Dasoha initiative.

About the PPP model, Neerada Dasa said, “It has been a cornerstone of our approach that unites government bodies, corporate entities, and philanthropists to combat hunger and malnutrition on a large scale. This synergy has been crucial in sustaining our various feeding initiatives.”

Presently, the Foundation collaborates with 15 state governments and two Union Territories positively influencing more than two million beneficiaries across 67 locations. In Bengaluru alone, there are four centralized kitchens serving more than 1.3 Lakh children in 1549 schools.

He added that during the COVID pandemic, the Foundation actively gathered resources and forged partnerships to provide food assistance, aiding the government’s relief endeavors. Over two years, it successfully distributed more than 244 million meals, relief kits and groceries to vulnerable individuals in India. Additionally, the Foundation distributed food, groceries, and hygiene kits for earthquake survivors in Turkey, and has helped the people of Ukraine facing food insecurity due to the war.

In 2006, the Harvard Business School selected Akshaya Patra for an in-depth case study, which said, “The centralized kitchen model had the benefits of scale and the best promise for being able to feed the largest number of children for the lowest cost.”

“It is with great pride and humility that we reflect on the remarkable journey of The Akshaya Patra Foundation, spanning over two decades. This not only fulfills the children’s daily nutritional needs but also enhances their learning capabilities, simultaneously addressing educational and economic challenges,” Neerada Dasa said noting the Foundation remains committed to its mission, striving towards a nation where no child is deprived of education due to hunger.



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