Shishu Bharati School Children Hold Penny-A-Day Fundraising Drive For Akshaya Patra
The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an organization with the vision that no child shall be deprived of education because of hunger, recently benefited from a fundraising drive held by eight to eleven year olds at the Shishu Bharati School in Lexington, Massachusetts.
Students of Amruta Eswara, PhD, dropped change each night in plastic cups kept by their bed side to help their peers half way across the world. Dr. Eswara, who teaches culture courses at the school, shared with her students how Akshaya Patra is providing lunch for 13 cents to underprivileged school children who otherwise may go hungry. The students were amazed to learn how a little pocket change can go a long way. They calculated the cost of each meal in rupees, and in doing so, engaged emotionally with their peers in India. The students were given plastic cups to keep by their beds and encouraged to donate a “Penny-A-Day.” The 40 students collected close to $240. In total, the children raised enough to provide close to 1,850 meals.
“I decided to donate because I knew that there was some other kid maybe even my age that needed help,” said Rea Salva, a 6A class student. “I was surprised that such a small amount can make such a big difference in someone's life by giving them food for a whole year.”
Shishu Bharati offers a broad spectrum of educational programs in the languages and cultures of India for students of all ages. The school's objective is to develop a sense of well-informed cultural pride in the students by exposing them to the Indian arts, customs, languages, history, geography and current events. The Penny-A-Day fundraiser was a follow up to a program the students held last December.
“Last November, I was browsing Akshaya Patra site and ‘it costs $28 to feed one child for a whole year’ caught my attention,” said Dr. Eswara. “I could not believe it was as simple as that! It was the holiday season and shopping was in full spree. The best gift these children could have would be at least one hot meal per day.”
“These students should be lauded for springing to action. Their compassion at this young age for other children who are less fortunate is inspiring,” said Madhu Sridhar, Akshaya Patra’s President and CEO. “The Shishu Bharti School is teaching these students valuable life lessons - caring, sharing and sparing can be a truly rewarding experience.”
About Akshaya Patra
The Akshaya Patra Foundation is the world’s largest NGO-run midday meal program, feeding over one million children each day in over 5,700 schools through 17 kitchens in seven states in India. A public-private partnership, Akshaya Patra combines good management, innovative technology and smart engineering to deliver school lunch at a fraction of the cost of similar programs in other parts of the world. It costs $28 to feed a child daily for the entire school year. With an average government subsidy of 50 percent, $28 can feed two children. For many of the children this is their only complete meal for the day. This gives them an incentive to come to school, stay in school and provides them with the necessary nutrients they need to develop their cognitive abilities to focus on learning.
Akshaya Patra’s kitchens are specially designed by engineers to leverage technology. The organization also sources its food stocks from local markets, thereby reducing costs associated with transportation and food spoilage while supporting the local economy. In a short time, the foundation has grown to become the largest, and certainly most innovative, school lunch program in the world. Akshaya Patra is a great example of what a non-profit organization can achieve-- a cost effective, scalable solution with high quality service delivery. After reaching its goal of feeding one million children each school day, Akshaya Patra’s next milestone is to serve 5 million children daily by 2020. For more information, please visit www.foodforeducation.org.
You may also access this article through our web-site http://www.lokvani.com/