India, for decades has been battling developmental issues such as acute poverty, food insecurity, inadequate access to education, among many others. Of all the issues, the most visible one is hunger which has frightening consequences. As India progresses rapidly towards becoming an economic power, these vital development challenges continue to concern a large section of the country.
It is against the above scenario that, The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s school meal programme with a vision of “No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger” was instituted in 2000. Beginning by feeding just 1500 children in 5 schools, today, 13 years since its inception, the Foundation covers over 1.3 million children. Akshaya Patra’s school meal progarmme reaches out to more than 9,000 schools in 19 locations across 9 states.
Continuous research and innovation has resulted in establishing consistent hygiene, speed, efficacy and operational efficiency. Its centralised, automated kitchens can cook close to 6,000 kilos of rice, 5 tonnes of vegetables and 6,000 litres of sambar, within 6 hours. The indigenously developed roti making machines can turn out 60,000 rotis per hour. Akshaya Patra’s technology can provide up to 2, 00, 000 meals per kitchen per day, thereby giving the scope to reach the critical mass that can make a difference.
Engaging with a wide variety of stakeholders, TAPF is a fine example of public-private partnership. Their main stakeholders are the Central and State Governments, the children, the teachers. Various corporate organisations and individuals contribute to top-up the deficit of the meal costs.
Akshaya Patra has amply demonstrated the ability to implement large-scale, quality feeding programmes with technology that is replicable by any organisation globally. Their innovations will make a fundamental change in reaching a solution to solve the hunger crisis.