ISKCON showcases success story of 'Akshaya Patra' to corporates

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Bangalore, Feb 2 (UNI) The Akshaya Patra Foundation of ISKCON's free mid-day meal scheme for school children has become a grand success, with 8.5 lakh children in 4,500 schools being covered in a span of eight years.

Under Akshaya Patra, ISKCON was feeding meals to 8.5 lakh poor children studying in Government schools in five States. This included two lakh students in Bangalore alone and 1.80 lakh in Hubli city in Karnataka. The other cities covered included Jaipur in Rajasthan (1.25 lakh), Gandhinagar in Gujarat (65,000), apart from schools in Orissa.

The Foundation held its 'Zero to Billion' conclave of the industry and community leaders, attended by about 400 eminent leaders of the country, spanning diverse sectors such as corporates, social institutions, philanthropy, art and culture, media and Government here last night.

The objective of the conclave was to act as a catalyst for building a bridge between the 'hands that need help' and the 'hands that give help' and sensitise corporates and individuals to partner with NGOs and the Government's India Development Mission.

Speaking on the occasion, Foundation Chairman Madhu Pandit Dasa said ''the journey of Akshaya Patra is a story of how a seed of simple thought and great act became a nucleus, around which the mission to feed and encourage the education of a million children belonging to all communities beckons us today.'' Infosys Technologies Chairman and Chief Mentor N R Narayana Murthy, speaking on the occasion, said Akshaya Patra had brought confidence and hope that there were enough people in this country who could bring about a change and reaching the figure of 8.5 lakh children in just eight years was an extraordinary effort.

To make the scheme a greater success, the Foundation should ensure its longevity and scalabality by adopting modern technology.

''You will have to ensure that your system works without any interruption and if something goes wrong, it should be set right immediately. The other factor that helps you spread your wings is that you do not depend on a small set of donors, but bring in a large group of philanthropists, apart from the Government, so that scalability is achieved without any problem,'' he said.

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