The moment you stop at the traffic red light, you see women, kids, a handicapped old man asking for alms — a very common sight in India. From railway stations, to tourist spots and bus terminals, begging is one of the most serious social issues in our country. With limited prospective employment opportunities, skillset and education, people born in the poor families are often forced to either do menial works or beg to feed themselves.
What is more alarming is that as per an estimate, at least 300,000 children across India are drugged, beaten and forced to beg every day. And, this is despite the fact that begging is a crime in most Indian states.
Amidst this poor current status, the statistics show that about 44 Indians come out of extreme poverty every minute—one of the fastest rates of poverty reduction in the world. That said, government’s aim to fight poverty in India by empowering the poor, especially children, hasn’t got overwhelming results. This is where the private sector especially corporates, NGOs have been an active contributor in getting rid of begging practice in India.
One of the principle human right for every individual is to be provided with adequate meal a day. This was the dream of Shri Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON under whom Annamrita foundation, formerly known as ISKCON Food Relief Foundation was established. Annamrita Foundation is a Non-Government Organization which implements the Midday Meal Project of the Government of India from its 19 state-of-the-art centralized kitchens in over 6 states. Headed by Mr. Ajay Piramal, the foundation serves about 1.2 million meals through its 20 kitchens across India every day.
To augment their facilities in Mumbai, in collaboration with Rotary Club of Mumbai Queens Necklace, Annamrita Foundation also established the largest centralized kitchen in South Mumbai, It was Rotarian Sanjiv Mehta, also the CEO of Shah Brothers Ispat, who helped the foundation to accomplish this task. Currently serving about 60,000 Mid-day meals per day to school children, the kitchen is expected to increase it to 1.5 lakh per day in the future.
Treading on similar lines, Annamrita Foundation Delhi recently inked an MOU with the Government of Tripura for setting up a kitchen in Agartala to serve meals to about 40,000 children.
It’s due to these efforts, Annamrita Foundation has received multiple recognitions. From the D.Y. Patil Annual Achievers Award as the best organization working in the social field to the Platinum Certification for Transparency and Public Accountability from Guidestar, India, Annamrita Foundation has been exemplary with its outstanding contribution in the area of Nutrition.
However, to expand and target more kids, there is always a requirement for more contributions. Everyone can be that catalyst of change and transform a child’s future. All you need to donate is Rs 750 for one child for the entire year. Every single helping hand has the potential to transform a life.