Bangalore: Mid day meals have been a major incentive attracting lakhs of students. While the one in Bihar went terribly wrong, the Akshaya Patra Foundation's initiative has been a success story.
For the past 12 years, Akshaya Patra Foundation has served cooked food to nearly 14 lakh children in government schools across the country. The foundation reached an important milestone by serving its billionth meal in August 2012. From a very modest beginning, the foundation now covers most government schools in nine states across the country.
"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," said Chanchalapathi Dasa, Vice-Chairman, Akshaya Patra Foundation.
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 the billionth meal, the Foundation got music director Shankar Mahadevan and lyricist Javed Akthar to compose a theme track for them.
"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," said Shankar Mahadevan.
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 from across the country.