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The Akshaya Patra Foundation Announces $7 Million Commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative

Thursday, September 25, 2008 General News J E 4
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Commitment to build and expand two kitchens and feed an additional 100,000 disadvantaged children each school day for three years



BOSTON, Sept. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an organization with the vision that no child shall be deprived of education because of hunger, made a commitment to action today at the Clinton Global Initiative taking place in New York City.



The goal of the commitment is to scale the Akshaya Patra school lunch program in India in an efficient, gradual and sustainable manner. Akshaya Patra's objective is to ensure that a whole generation of Indian school children receives at least one nutritious meal every day for the entire school year. The program is a strategic intervention in education aimed at unlocking the vicious and perpetual cycle of poverty. The program directly impacts children's school enrollment, attendance, academic performance and health.



"By combining the best practices of well-run companies and the passion of helping the disadvantaged, Akshaya Patra has become a beacon of hope for the future," said Gururaj "Desh" Deshpande, Akshaya Patra's board chair, co-chair and founder of Sycamore Networks, Inc., and trustee of the Deshpande Foundation.



The commitment will be funded by the Deshpande Foundation, Ravindra Chamaria and the Government of India and includes building a new kitchen in Orissa, India, expanding Akshaya Patra's existing kitchen in Uttar Pradesh and feeding additional 100,000 disadvantaged children from these two new facilities for three years.



The main beneficiaries of the program are disadvantaged children from low-income families who are at risk of malnutrition and lack of education. The program has been particularly successful in reaching out to girls, who are especially at-risk of missing out on education due to poverty, malnutrition and lack of importance placed on educating girls in poor families.



About The Akshaya Patra Foundation

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is the world's largest NGO midday meal program and feeds over 960,000 underprivileged children daily in over 5,700 schools in six states in India. Akshaya Patra is a public-private partnership that 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 year. 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.



Through kitchens specially designed by engineers to leverage technology and sourcing its food stocks from local markets, Akshaya Patra is able to reduce 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.



About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)

Established in 2005 as a project of the non-partisan William J. Clinton Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI members have made nearly 1,000 Commitments to Action valued at upwards of $30 billion to improve more than 200 million lives in over 150 countries around the world. Through past Annual Meetings, CGI has brought together more than 80 current and former heads of state, hundreds of top CEOs and non-profit leaders, major philanthropis
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