October 29, 2006

Inspiration for the day

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Madhu.P.Das, Akshaya Patra Foundation, Bangalore

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From being an individual effort mostly, feeding of the poor and school children by good Samaritans is getting scaled up to a corporate endeavour with mechanized cooking and matching logistic support.  The Akshaya Patra foundation based in Bangalore is an organization that has harnessed technology and corporate goodwill to provide midday meal to school children on a large scale across Karnataka and few North Indian states.

Started in 2000 with a target of feeding 1500 children in 5 schools, the Foundation now provides its services to lakhs of children across many states.  “The Foundation was started with the objective of feeding the school children good food without any profit-motive,” says malayali Madhu.P.Das, its Chairman.

Wherever possible, the Foundation adopts a centralized, technology-intensive approach to prepare and deliver food.  These include automated kitchen facilities with high-speed cutting machines, steam boiler-driven steel cauldrons, conveyor system etc. Covered stainless steel containers used to transport the food ensure that warmth is retained till it reaches the beneficiaries.   And the organization uses custom-built vehicles to transport food to the schools.  The project is run on public donations and is audited by a leading agency in the field.

With the support of the education department, government and corporate houses, the project grew year after year.  It supplies food only in government-run schools where admissions are non-discriminatory. 

Following its success in Karnataka, the Foundation was welcomed by Rajastan, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh to start similar venture there also. While the meal in South India is based on rice, the preparations at North Indian centres are modified for wheat-based local taste. 

Such professional approach to problem-solving is bound to appeal to the people.  This effort shows how poverty-eradication too can be a problem fit for technology-intensive, management-infused corporate undertaking.


Courtesy: Kodungalloor Raghavan, Vanitha, April 1-14, 2006
Contributed by: Administrator


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