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A HEARTY LUNCH

Compiled/ partly written by MELVIN DURAI Email Compiled/ partly written by MELVIN DURAI
May 2012
A HEARTY LUNCH Eleven cents is what it costs to provide lunch for a schoolchild in India—at least if you have an efficient program like the one run by the public-private partnership, Akshaya Patra. Recently featured on NPR, the program provides free lunches to about 1.3 million underprivileged schoolchildren in India. Shridhar Venkat, a former corporate executive, directs the lunch program through the Akshaya Patra Foundation. “Feeding a child is not charity,” he told NPR.

Corporate management techniques and good engineering—the kitchens are designed to maximize efficiency—have made the program so cost-effective, it became a case study for Harvard Business School. But with no profits to be made, what sustains the program are caring people like Venkat.

“We want to do things with heart,” he said. “It’s not just, ‘build large kitchens.’ All these large kitchens have a big heart.”

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