“What’s in a meal?” or “What can a meal do?” The immediate answer is- it can fill a hungry stomach. Have we ever thought what else a meal can do? Often we have not. But, The Akshaya Patra Foundation gave an earnest thought to it. It realized that the goodness and potential of one meal goes far beyond just filling a hungry stomach; it reaches out till the generations that are yet to come.
It’s a fact that a hungry stomach cannot think of anything else but food. So, unless this basic need is met, it is evident that an individual cannot think of future goals. For the mind to think beyond food, the stomach has to be full. The same rule applies when it comes to learning or education. If we need a child to get educated, we need to first feed the child. For this reason, if a child is provided school lunch, it will simultaneously aid in furthering the cause. This is where Akshaya Patra comes to fore. It works towards providing unlimited food for education.
Akshaya Patra provides school lunch to Government school students on every school working days through its mid-day meal programme. The inception of the Foundation dates back to June 2000. 12 years of its successful journey can be seen in its achievements and future plans. The crystal clear focus on its aim of reaching more and more children is evident in its current reach of 1.3 million children across India.
Here is an anecdote of a little boy that tells the power of one wholesome meal:
Sunny Kheralia, a 13 year old from Rajasthan is a grade 7 student. His is a large family comprising of 3 brothers and 1 sister. His father works as a sweeper in a local hospital earning a very low salary of around Rs. 3000 per month. Sunny is a brilliant student and has been scoring very high grades in his academics. He takes up his studies sincerely and enjoys the meal at school. An Akshaya Patra meal beneficiary he says, “I enjoy eating the noon meal provided by the Akshaya Patra Foundation.”
Sunny has grown up seeing his father sweeping the hospital corridor everyday. But with the education he has been receiving he hopes to bring in a welcome change in the family and especially in his father’s life. Sunny aspires to be a doctor and work in the same hospital where his father is working currently. This instance evidently brings forth the benefit of education, and potential of one wholesome meal, in transforming a society for better.