By establishing a centralised kitchen unit as a mid-day meal NGO in Assam, Akshaya Patra made its advent into the north-eastern part of India. Assam is a valley surrounded by seven hills of the neighbouring six states. A state that is proud of its lush green habitat and rich flora and fauna is also in the run to reach 100% literacy level. The literacy rate of Assam in 2011 was estimated to be 73.18 which is slightly below national average of 74.04%. However, the socio-economic status of many sections of the state requires children to struggle for a nutritious meal and education too. To overcome this scenario, Akshaya Patra received an invitation from State Government to start providing mid-day meal in Assam that led to the establishment of a centralised kitchen in Amingaon near Guwahati in February 2010.
Since 2010, there has been no looking back and the beneficiary base has only been increasing. Currently, this NGO for children provides mid-day meal to over 53,000 children of 592 government schools in the vicinity of Amingaon location. Over the years of service, the NGO has witnessed the positive change that has come about in the lives of children with the initiation of the mid-day meal in Assam. Thus the Non-Governmental Organisation in Assam looks forward to spread its operations in the state so that more children can be benefited by the mid-day meal programme. The meal menu caters to the local palate of the region and it includes rice, dal (curry made of pulses) and a variety of vegetables accompanied with other delicious dishes like kheer that’s served during the week.
Here is a small story of one of the beneficiaries of this NGO for children. Krishna Das, a Standard IX student of a government school in Sualkuchi, hails from a village in the banks of the Brahmaputra River. She says that for the past four years she and her friends have been travelling 20 kilometres to and fro on foot every day to reach school. It takes them about 50 minutes to reach school because there is no school in her village. The roads are not motorable and rains add to these existing woes when it becomes nearly impossible to venture out of homes. Only a year ago the village got water supply, until then residents had to rely on natural water sources. One half of the village is yet to receive electricity connections. Amidst all these hardships Krishna’s parents encourage her and her elder brother to continue their studies. Krishna says that the mid-day meal in Assam has been of tremendous help for herself and many like her who hails from very humble families. This meal sustains their energy until they reach back home in the evening along with being a nutritious meal in the afternoon. As she aspires to become a professional that will promise her a regular income, she also hopes that soon her village will be connected with roads and have facilities like schools and hospitals. Know more about beneficiaries of the NGO in Assam.