Bangalore: For the past 12 years, Akshaya Patra Foundation has served cooked food to nearly 14 lakh children in government schools across the country. And now, it has reached an important milestone. The foundation just served its billionth meal in August.
From a very modest beginning, the foundation now covers most government schools in nine states across the country.
Says Chanchalapathi Dasa, the Vice-Chairman of the Foundation, "We have always said that we are a very rich country with a lot of poor people. That's the sad part of it. Our government has very good programmes, very good leaders and a huge outlay of budgets. But the challenge in our country is delivering, how to deliver these good programmes up to the last mile, reach to all the children in all the corners of the country. That's been a big challenge and Akshaya Pathra has provided a demonstrating model of how it can be done with a group of well meaning people working with the government and working with corporate, individuals."
Now, even as students increase and volumes expand, Akshaya Patra Foundation has not lost sight of its core principle - serving tasty and nutritious food to children.
To celebrate the grand milestone of its billionth meal, the Foundation got music director Shankar Mahadevan and lyricist Javed Akthar to compose a theme track for them.
Mahadevan says he will try and dub the song in every possible language so that the message spreads across the nation. "I think with everybody's support and with the power of music, we are all here to support the cause, we are going to spread it like anything. We are going to dub this song in every possible language and in every state in the country."
Akshaya Patra now hopes that in some years, the country will have food security and people won't need the support of such foundations. But till then, they will continue providing healthy food to many more under-privileged children across the country.