Akshaya Patra team with Honorary Guest
and Keynote Speaker. (Left to Right)
Dr. Desh Deshpande, Piyali Dutta, Jaishree Deshpande,
Dr. Sam Pitroda, Sunil Kumar
A live auction was conducted where several donated items were sold to the highest bidder. Pledges amounting to $150,000 were made to support schools where meals are delivered. The event hosted over 200 attendees from the Chicagoland.
Hunger is a problem that over 50 million children are battling silently in India. It keeps these children out of school and forces them to take menial jobs to bring home food for their families. Hunger also impedes their ability to learn.
The Foundation is one of the world’s largest NGOs which runs school meal programs serving over 1.3 million children daily in over 9,000 schools from 19 kitchens in nine states in India.
A public-private partnership, Akshaya Patra combines good management, innovative technology and smart engineering to deliver school lunches at a fraction of the cost of similar programs in other parts of the world. The APF is the world’s largest non-governmental organization that feeds children. The Global Journal also ranked Akshaya Patra 1st in the world for NGOs working to improve the lives of children and youth.
This event was chaired by Parminder Sawhney who in her welcome speech exhorted everyone to get involved and provide a chance to change the lives of underprivileged children in India. She credited her team members Jasneet Edke, Lubaina Raj, Neha Patodia, Ragini Shekhawat, Anu Aggarwal and Tanu Singh for working hard to ensure the success of this event.
Dr. Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande, Chairman and Interim CEO of APF USA gave a complete overview of the organization right from its inception to its current operation in 9 states of India. The guest speaker at this event was Dr. Sunil Kumar, Dean of Chicago Booth School of Business. Special dignitary who graced this benefit was Dr. Sam Pitroda who serves as Chairman of India’s National Knowledge Commission
Dr. Pitroda remarked that Akshaya Patra is an excellent public/private partnership model benefiting a large number of children in India.
He added that the Govt. of India is not equipped to solve all the problems facing the country unless NGOs like Akshaya Patra take an active role to address the needs. Through technology, innovation, management, entrepreneurship and business skills, APF has wrought wonders.
Following his speech, Ashley Singh sang “Tumhi Ho Bandhu “. There was a video presentation on the Foundation’s work in India showing the kitchens where mid-day meals are prepared for school children and the process involved in doing this.
A beautiful Bollywood dance number was performed by Infinity dancers – Anika Gupta, Shivani Shah, Pooja Venkit, Ravisha Saini, Radhika Patel, and Jasmine Merchant. Vote of Thanks was given by event chair, Paraminder Sawhney.