November Lecture Series featuring Akshaya Patra in Food for Education

On Novem­ber 26, 2012, the North­east­ern Social Enter­prise Insti­tute hosted Madu Srid­hat, pres­i­dent and CEO of Akshaya Patra, for its Novem­ber Lec­ture Series event.

 Akshaya Patra, works in 9,000 schools across eight states of India to pro­vide nutri­tious meals to 1.3 mil­lion under­priv­i­leged school chil­dren. It is esti­mated that approx­i­mately 8.1 mil­lion chil­dren in India do not attend school reg­u­larly in order to con­tribute a mod­est income for their fam­ily. Akshaya Patra’s “food for edu­ca­tion” ini­tia­tive pro­vides an incen­tive for chil­dren to go to school through the promise of a sub­stan­tive meal, reliev­ing the fam­ily of the cost of feed­ing their child.

  The organization’s rep­u­ta­tion as one of the most effec­tive and largest NGOs in India are a result of the wide reach and effi­ciency that are stan­dard in Ask­shaya Patra’s oper­a­tions. Ms. Srid­hat spoke to7 the inte­gral role inno­v­a­tive tech­nol­ogy plays in serv­ing such a large pop­u­la­tion qual­ity food on a macro scale; Akshaya Patra’s kitchens in Hubli can pre­pare 185,000 meals in under five hours and gravity-flow mech­a­nisms ensure the high­est hygienic stan­dards in meal preparation.

 The recent pass­ing of Naman Shah, a 21 year-old Finance, Entre­pre­neur­ship, and Mar­ket­ing stu­dent in the D’Amore McKim School of Busi­ness largely inspired the selec­tion of Akshaya Patra for the Novem­ber Lec­ture Series. Shah, alum of the 2011 Field Study to the Domini­can Repub­lic was a pro­po­nent of Akshaya Patra’s impact­ful work and an avid donor to the organization.

 The untimely pass­ing of such a cher­ished stu­dent has spurred the cre­ation of projects in order to honor Naman.  Naman’s peers, friends, fam­ily, and fam­ily have col­lab­o­rated to cre­ate the Naman Shah Memo­r­ial Fel­low­ship. Stu­dents par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Domini­can Repub­lic Field Study that exhibit an inter­est in social entre­pre­neur­ship, a com­mit­ment to ser­vice, and com­pas­sion among some of Naman’s other hon­or­able attrib­utes. The fel­low will be given the oppor­tu­nity to develop an in-country project out­side the scope of the aca­d­e­mic pro­gram that improves the liveli­hood of the poor­est of the poor in the Domini­can Republic.

Stu­dents work­ing with the North­east­ern Social Enter­prise Insti­tute fundraised over $6,500 for the Naman Shah Memo­r­ial Fund, due to the gen­er­ous con­tri­bu­tions from the Shah fam­ily, Ms. Srid­hat, and the lec­ture atten­dees of the lecture.

Stu­dents cur­rently enrolled in Pro­fes­sor Den­nis Shaughnessy’s Social Entre­pre­neur­ship class hon­ored Naman’s mem­ory through erect­ing a library in India through Room to Read. The stu­dents were chal­lenged to raise $2,500, an amount matched by Pro­fes­sor Shaugh­nessy. A gen­er­ous match­ing cam­paign from Room to Read will scaled the impact of this gift to mul­ti­ple class­room libraries in Naman’s memory.

 If you are inter­ested in donat­ing to the Naman Shah Memo­r­ial Fund, please con­tact sei@neu.edu or visit http://www.northeastern.edu/catalyst/projects/seiaa-sp2012.html

 

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