Maneka Gandhi unveils book on Akshya Patra beneficiaries

November 01, 2017

November: The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a not-for-profit working towards fighting classroom hunger launched its first coffee table book – ‘Be Happy’, in the presence of Maneka Gandhi, Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development. Published by Harper Collins, and photographed by Senthil Kumar and Prem Jayanth, this book captures the lives of beneficiaries at The Akshaya Patra Foundation, which feeds more than 1.6 million children across the country, through the Government’s Mid-Day Meal Programme.

Senthil Kumar, the photographer behind the beautiful images, was inspired by the smiles the children adorned, their character and their relationship to the world surrounding them, despite the hardships they faced. Senthil Kumar has won several Cannes Lions, Best Photographer Award by Asian Photography magazine, and the title of Most Influential People in Photography award multiple times.

This coffee table book is an ode to the beloved children - beneficiaries of Akshaya Patra. It offers a glimpse of their simple, innocent, fun-filled lives. The pictures in this book tell stories of their homes, parents, and their lives in and outside school. It is a dual celebration, of lives of the children, and Akshaya Patra’s aim of transforming ‘food’ into an enabler of ‘education’. Within the pages, one will find portraits of children that will not only inspire thoughtful conversation, but will also lead to action.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation headquartered in Bengaluru, India. The organisation strives to fight issues like hunger and malnutrition in India. By implementing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in Government schools and Government aided schools, The Akshaya

Patra Foundation aims not only to fight hunger but also to bring children to school. Since 2000, the organisation has worked towards reaching more children with wholesome food on every single school day. Akshaya Patra Foundation is continuously leveraging technology to cater to millions of children.

Its state-of-the-art kitchens have become a subject of study and they attract curious visitors from around the world. In partnership with the Government of India, various State Governments and inestimable support from many philanthropic donors and well-wishers; Akshaya Patra has grown from humble beginnings serving just 1,500 school children across 5 schools. Today, Akshaya Patra Foundation is the world’s largest (not-for- profit run) Mid-Day Meal Programme serving wholesome food to over 1.6 million children from 13, 839 schools across 12 states in India.