Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Snippet from Akshaya Patra Kitchens

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an Indian NGO that implements the mid-day meal programme in conjunction with the Central Government of India and various State Governments. Akshaya Patra kitchens operate in two formats- centralised kitchens and decentralised kitchens. The format of the Akshaya Patra kitchens is decided based on the geographical terrain and connectivity of a particular location.

Currently, 21 locations of Akshaya Patra kitchens follow the centralised format and 2 locations follow the decentralised format. Whatever be the format and however remote or urban be the location the common thread that runs across all Akshaya Patra kitchens is the effort of each employee in turning every plate of meal into plate full of happiness for the young hearts. The awareness of the impact of the mid-day meal programme for millions of underserved children is deeply ingrained in the heart and minds of each employee. Here is a small snippet from decentralised Akshaya Patra kitchen in Nayagarh.

Nayagarh is a remote area in Odisha. The Akshaya Patra Foundation began its operations in Nayagarh in March 2007. Due to geographical terrain and improper road connectivity, Akshaya Patra operates the decentralised kitchen format to provide mid-day meal to children of 352 Government schools in the area. The kitchens here are operated by Women Self Help Groups under the guidance of Akshaya Patra supervisors. The cooks across Akshaya Patra kitchens dedicate themselves for the benefit of the children and one such member of the team is Saudamani Sahoo.

Saudamini has been working as a cook in one of the decentralised kitchens in Nayagarh since a year and a half. She is a committed member of the kitchen and is known for her diligent adherence to safety practices during cooking of the mid-day meal. She also led an internal training session for her fellow mates on safety, hygiene and quality of the mid-day meal. Apart from being known to be a good cook she is also very affectionate towards children. Her potato pea curry and kheer (an Indian sweet dish) are relished by all the children. Spelling out her dream she says, “I dream of receiving the best cook award in Nayagarh”. 

Both the formats of Akshaya Patra kitchens are functional in Odisha. Puri, Rourkela and Cuttack run the centralised kitchen format and Nayagarh has the decentralised format. The Akshaya Patra Foundation serves mid-day meal to 24,580 children across Nayagarh each day and the total reach of the Foundation across Odisha is more than a lakh.

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