Akshaya Pātra USA

Unlimited food for education

President Bill Clinton Visits Akshaya Patra in Jaipur

Press Release


Jaipur, Rajasthan July 17th, 2014 – Former President Bill Clinton visited the Akshaya Patra’s in Jaipur Kitchen on July 16.  The kitchen, which is part of Akshaya Patra’s Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action,  was built in 2004 and currently serves over 106,000 students in more than 1,400 schools is one of 20 such kitchens that Akshaya Patra operates across India.

The kitchen is part Akshaya Patra’s commitment to the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative. President Clinton toured Akshaya Patra’s centralized kitchen facility and met with students, parents and teachers and administrators at a local school. Akshaya Patra is one of the organizations that President Clinton will visit in Asia this week to focus on critical issues, including global health, improved access to medicines, climate change and economic development. 

Akshaya Patra is a secular non-profit organization in a public private partnership with the Indian government, which implements the world's largest NGO managed mid-day meal program. Akshaya Patra began as a pilot program feeding 1,500 children daily in five schools.  Driven by the vision of its founders and Board members, today Akshaya Patra feeds more than 1.3 million in over 10,500 government schools in 10 states from 20 centralized and 2 de-centralized kitchen locations.  Akshaya Patra employs 5800 employees to prepare and distribute the meals every day. They have set an aggressive goal of serving 5 million children by 2020.

In 2005, President Clinton established the Clinton Global Initiative to convene global leaders to create solutions to the world’s most pressing global challenges.  Members of the CGI community have made over 2,800 Commitments to Action, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries .  Akshaya Patra USA’s Chairman Desh Deshpande and his foundation (the Deshpande Foundation) along with philanthropist Ravinda Chamaria were a key catalysts to Akshaya Patra USA’s 2008 CGI Commitment to Action.

“Over the course of last 14 years, Akshaya Patra has developed a process whereby it can deliver a hot nutritious, tasty midday meal to 1.3 million children DAILY for just under 12 cents per meal. A public-private partnership, the government of India contributes half.  So for only $15 a year, a donor here in the US or anywhere around the world can support a child, who is Hungry for School and eager to make it in this world,“ Emily Rosenbaum, Akshaya Patra USA CEO stated. 

The single largest factor for poor children dropping out of school in a country like India is the necessity of supplementing family income. By providing a hot nutritious mid-day meal, Akshaya Patra creates the conditions which allow even the poorest families to continue their child's education. 

“Akshaya Patra combines the execution excellence of a for-profit with the compassion of a non-profit.” Akshaya Patra USA Chairman Desh Deshpande told President Clinton and the delegates at the kitchen tour. “If we all come together and bring our skills, our passion and our resources to bear, “ he continued, “ we can help this organization meet and surpass its goal of  feeding 5 million children daily by 2020.”

President Clinton remarked at the government school served by Akshaya Patra which he visited:

"This CGI commitment is a very important program," said President Clinton. "The lunches served are not only healthy meals for kids, they are also tools that help to get more children into the classroom."

The Clinton Global Initiative has brought greater visibility to Akshaya Patra’s school meal program and its USA fundraising affiliate, Akshaya Patra USA.  Since making the Commitment to Action as part of the Clinton Global Initiative, awareness about Akshaya Patra and Akshaya Patra USA has grown tremendously.

CGI has also empowered Akshaya Patra to build relationships with corporate foundations whose generous funding have enabled the expansion of the school meal program in India. In the US, Caterpillar Inc. donated over $2 million for a new kitchen being built in Lucknow that will serve 100,000 additional children annually.  ConAgra Foods has sponsored vehicles and distribution vessels and meals for children in Gujarat, where it has a factory.

Akshaya Patra just recently launched a grassroots Youth Ambassadors Program for High School Students.  Youth Ambassadors will build new skills while working to expand the reach of Akshaya Patra. This program aims to build a compassionate bond between the youth in USA and the school children in India.

For more information about the Clinton Foundation’s visit to Akshaya Patra, please contact Emily Rosenbaum, 781-454-7222 or Emily@apusa.org, or Krista McCarthy at Krista@apusa.org.  For more information about the mid-day meal, Youth Ambassadors program or ways to contribute, please visit www.foodforeducation.org.

About the Clinton Global Initiative

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 2,800 Commitments to Action, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $103 billion.

CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their communities and around the world. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.