Ensuring that a child has access to nutrition and education, is giving that child a chance to dream of a brighter future. These stories give you a glimpse into the aspirations and dreams of a few of our beneficiaries.
A star of the future!
Deepak Raju Paswan, Thane
Deepak wants to be a kabaddi player, and his inspiration is Pradeep Narwal, who is a part of the Indian Kabaddi team and Pro Kabaddi League. He says, “Since I go for practice in the evening directly from school, it is more beneficial for me as I get to eat something (Mid-Day Meal) before I go for kabaddi practice. Earlier, when I used to go directly from home, it was difficult as then I used to practice with half-empty stomach and used to feel weak. I love the food here and feel that it takes me a step closer to becoming a world-class player.”
No child deserves to be left behind…
Priyanka Raut, Cuttack Odisha
For young Priyanka Raut, life hasn’t been easy. A while ago she and her mother were abandoned by her father, leaving them destitute. Already struggling to makes ends meet, both were left devastated by his leaving.
Priyanka enjoys debates and has won a number of competitions. In fact, she has taken it upon herself to enlighten her classmates about eating nutritious food, and praises Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day meal to them! For herself, she says she looks forward to the days they get rice and paneer curry as that’s her favorite meal.
Making every meal a lesson in responsibility.
‘Kamala aunty’, as she is fondly known by the students of Government Primary School, Gubbalala, has been a caretaker for four years. She has created a routine that has organised the serving of the Mid-Day Meal at the school, making for an efficient process every day.
Every one of the 195 children served, follow a set routine:
- Take charge of their plate
- Ensure zero wastage of food
- Wash their plate after eating
Her dedication gives us a glimpse into the importance of every contribution that goes into the smooth running of the programme.
Igniting minds with proper nutrition.
Mohammad Abdulla, Telangana
The enrolment at PS Marks Ragon, a school in Madaka village of Telangana, has jumped from 97 in 2016 to 114 over the past three years. The school’s Headmistress, Mrs. Sreelatha is all praise for the Akshaya Patra Mid-Day Meal Programme, saying that it is often the soul motivation for students to attend school every day and that can be seen in the excitement on their faces when the lunch bell rings.
A Class 4 student, Mohammad Abdulla, who aspires to become a doctor, says that his lunch helps him stay healthy and concentrate in class. Abdulla’s favourite meal is vegetable sambar and rice.
Shaping the leaders of tomorrow…
Iqra Afzal Pasha – GKTMPS Cleveland Town
A student of Class 6 at GKTMPS Cleveland Town School, Iqra is the daughter of an auto rickshaw driver and a mother who works in a garment factory. The fourth of seven siblings, she dreams of becoming a Hindi teacher and her inspiration is her teacher Ayesha Ma’am. She says, “I love the Hindi language – I like to read and speak it. Ayesha Ma’am teaches it to us so well and I want to be just like her.” Besides Hindi, she also counts Science and English as her favourite subjects.
Iqra says she enjoys the lunch they receive at school as the meals give her strength and help her study well. “My favourite dishes are sambar and rice and Bisibele Bath.” she says, as she heads off to play with her best friends, Sadiya and Nafisa.
Building a dream, step by step.
Karan Okheda – GKTMPS, Cleveland Town
With a burning desire to be a professional dancer and open a dance school, Class 6 student Karan Okheda spends a lot of time watching dance videos on his sister’s phone and perfecting them in front of a mirror. But that doesn’t mean he lets his academics suffer.
“Education is very important if I am to successfully run my dance school. I need to focus and be particularly good at speaking English to interact well with people,” he states.
“The taste of the dishes served in school is very good! They contain a lot of vegetables, which makes them very nutritious. I like the Puliyogare, Lemon Rice and Bisibele Bath very much,” says the young boy who idolises legends like Prabhudeva and Michael Jackson.
Big heart and bigger plans!
Khadijatul Kubra – GKHPS, Pottery Town, Bengaluru
Khadijatul Kubra, a 12-year-old Class 6 student with a bright smile, two long plaits rolled up on the sides and a pair of curious eyes doesn’t just have a plan for her future, but two backup plans as well! Coming from a humble background greatly shapes her aspiration to be a doctor, and if that doesn’t work out, she wants to help people as a policewoman or a teacher.
“I want to be doctor – a general practitioner – so that I can give free treatments to poor people, including the homeless and daily-wage labourers,” says Khadijatul. When the conversation veers towards Akshaya Patra’s school meals, her face lights up! “The Puliyogare and Bisibele Baath are my favourite. I also enjoy my morning glass of hot milk. We come from very far, so we miss out on breakfast at home. The morning milk and meal helps us focus in class and be energetic throughout the day.” she says, before joining her friends for a game of hopscotch.
Fuelling the drive of a budding entrepreneur.
Mohammad Umar Farukh – GKHPS, Pottery Town, Bengaluru
A student of Class 7 at GKHPS Pottery Town School, Mohammad Umar Farukh not only has a fascination with cars, but plans to start a dealership of his own. Inspired by his 20-year-old brother who repairs automobiles and sells spare parts, since their father tragically passed away 4 years ago, he strongly feels that fluency in English and Kannada is important to effectively run his business.
On the midday meal received at school, he says “I like Anna Sambar (rice and sambar), the hot milk in the morning, Bisibele Baath and the sev mixture that comes along with it.” He says the meals also keep him active and energetic throughout the day, as he is fond of sports, cricket being his favourite. “My favourite player is MS Dhoni. I love how he hits the sixes!” he says, as he saunters off to play with his friends.
You’ve got a friend in me…
Deepak(Right) & Atul(Left), Kalol, Ahmedabad
Coming from a family of five with an absentee father and a mother who runs a tea stall, Atul met Deepak who lives on the streets while begging for alms outside a temple. Since then they’ve become best friends who support each other through thick and thin.
“I come to school regularly because I get to eat. I like studying but I know that I am weak in it so I try hard.” Both of them depend on the midday meal at school for nutrition and it helps them focus on their education instead of trying to earn money for their next meal. Atul enjoys the vegetable khichadi but Deepak prefers the vegetable pulav.
Gearing up to lead the nation!
Prajesh, Kalol, Ahmedabad
Young Prajesh is a student at CPS Gujarati Medium School in Daman. Having recently moved to Daman from Surat with his family. One of his teachers recalls him asking “How is the education here?” while being enrolled and was taken aback by that question coming from such a young boy. “That’s when I knew he was special.,” she says.
Talking about the Mid-Day Meal Programme he says, “Since I come from Bareilly, I did not like the food here earlier but now I love it because of Akshaya Patra. I feel it is very similar to what I used to have.” On the menu he particularly enjoys the roti and subji served.
Prajesh takes interest in politics and is an avid follower of PM Narendra Modi. He dreams of making India a better place one day.
A hungry heart and a business mind
Sheikh Abdul Khadil – GKHPS Pottery Town
Stepping up to stepping stones.
Shivaprasad Reddy P - BBMP Boys High School in Bengaluru
Case in point…
Steven H – BBMP Boys High School, Tasker Town
Empowering budding innovators
Dance of destiny
An artist with a unique vision
Swaying into a bright future
COVID-19 has dealt a huge blow to millions of families. Our mission is to support vulnerable families through the pandemic, protecting them from malnutrition and hunger.
A ray of hope in uncertain times.
Kokilaben Chhaganbhai Valmiki – Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Thirty-year-old Kokilaben Chhaganbhai Valmiki is a civil labourer from Naranpur, one of the oldest areas of Ahmedabad, Gujarat. She earns her livelihood as a daily wager earning Rs. 250 a day, and is the breadwinner of a family of 5.
With the advent of the nationwide lockdown in India and the non-availability of work, her family could not afford even one meal a day. She says, “I heard about this Coronavirus, but I was more worried that we didn’t have food.”
In Naranpur, Akshaya Patra serves hot and nutritious meals. “This food helps us fill our stomachs, and if we eat well we will have a better chance of fighting the coronavirus.” she continues. She hopes that life can get back to normal soon, where she can get back to work and her children start going to school again.
Invisible Suffering of the Middle-Class
Meeshayyavar Family from Hubli, Karnataka
Meeshayyavar is a 50-year-old practising advocate who lives with his wife Shobha and two teenage boys Srujan and Nitish, who study at a private school in Dharvad, Hubli in Karnataka.
One would assume that a family such as theirs would not have been drastically affected by the lockdown, but reality is much harsher. Shoba says, “The stringent lockdown measures due to the pandemic resulted in the loss of work for over four months, for my husband, who is an independent advocate.” Meeshayyavar adds, “I never imagined such a calamity would strike where I would lose all income for so long.”
Meeshayyavar and his peers approached the Hubli Bar Association for support. The Association asked Akshaya Patra to extend their COVID-19 Relief Feeding in the community, where the Foundation then began distributing essential grocery kits.
Selfless warriors need care
Ramesh R, a healthcare worker from Chennai
A happy family and a happy colony
Sujatha - Homemaker from Kandi, Telangana
A ray of sunshine in the days of darkness
Bhawani Shankar- Lucknow
Praying for better days
Anandi from Mumbai
Since she got married 25 years ago, Anandi Patil has been a resident of the Lokmanya Nagar Pada No. 4 in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Now a widow, she works as a domestic helper at a nearby house. Unfortunately, with the lockdown she lost her job. For more than three months she was without work, and on the brink of exhausting her savings while trying to make ends meet. Moreover, she lived in one of the containment zones, which restricted her movement, making it difficult to procure food to survive.
She says, “I was grateful to receive a box of dry rations from Akshaya Patra. Now I at least have food to eat again.” Anandi hopes that the worst is over and things will only improve with each passing day. She wishes to go back to work as soon as possible and resume her daily activities.
Bringing back hope with a helping hand
A firm support in times of scarcity
Restoring faith in human kindness
Determination in the face of distress
Mohan Jadhav, Bhopal
Light at the end of the tunnel
Shrimati Gaumati Devi, Bhopal
When prayers are answered
Chandan Bahera, Silvassa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli
Pulling through tough times as a family
Ritika Bhoya, Silvassa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli
Every bit of help counts, every donation matters
Bhagaban Pradhan, Odisha
A mother’s plight in uncertain times
A beacon of hope in difficult times