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 or visit


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