A distinctive blue bus carrying the images of smiling children passes through the state capital everyday. The bus is known to carry thousands of smiles like the ones displayed on it. It is the bus which carries food for 92,763 children, prepared by hundreds of people working at Akshaya Patra kitchen.
As former US President Bill Clinton reaches Jaipur, we take you to the famous kitchen he visited on Wednesday.
Claimed by many as the largest kitchen in northern India, Akshaya Patra feeds children in over 1,000 government schools in the capital. It also prepares food for 5,000 daily wage earners and Anganwadis.
To many, it sounds astonishing that it produces over 2 lakh 50 thousand rotis, 6 ton dal and 5 ton rice in mere three hours. As chapattis, being the integral part of the north Indian menu, several roti making machines, having the capacity to roll out up to 2,00,000 rotis from 600 kgs of wheat flour, have been installed in the kitchens.
“The inspiration for the foundation came 13 years ago, when the organisation chairman felt that no kid should stay out of the school to work or share the financial burden of the family. This is when the novel idea of preparing mid-day meals was worked on,” said an Akhaya Patra Foundation official.
The work at the kitchen begins early in the morning to meet the target of transporting the mid-day meals on time. The kitchen has well-trained cooks and production supervisors to manage the work.
Like this, 21 other kitchens work across the nation as part of a programme run by a non-profit organisation, Akshaya Patra. Established in the year 2000, the organisation aims to to feed 5 million children by 2020. The first kitchen was established in Jaipur in 2004.
As part of a health programme, the former US President visited the kitchen to get a glimpse of the working process.
(The article first appeared on a Network 18 group’s website)