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His Love for Gotipua Dance - A Traditional Dance form of Odisha

It is often said that follow your passion but very few are allowed to do it. A student of standard V in Government Kapoteshwar High School in Raghurajpur, Puri, Jyotiranjan joined the Padmashri Guru Magunidas Gotipua Gurukula Niketan (dance academy) to learn Gotipua at the age of seven. He already has to his credit over 20 performances in various cities of Odisha, including Puri and Bhubaneshwar, as well as metros such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata.

Gotipua, a traditional dance form has an important place in the culture of Odisha. It is performed by young boys and involves a range of acrobatic moves – right from handstands to human pyramid.

Jyotiranjan wants to put this dance form on the world map so that it does not disappear like several other traditional dance forms in the country. His long-term plan is to master the dance form and help to promote it all over the world by teaching others. “If we do not save these dance forms, there will come a day when no one will know about them,” he says innocently. At present, he is happy that it gives him an opportunity to travel to different parts of the country. The dance also gives him an exposure to the world outside the heritage town of Raghurajpur.

Short film on Jyotiranjan Das - Gotipua Dancer

His family is based in Puri. His father Nalinikanta Das works as a priest, while his mother Sailabaila is a homemaker. Jyotiranjan lives in the hostel facility provided by the dance academy which eases the burden on the family. Here children wake up 4 am and begin their dance practice which goes on for two hours. After practice, they do their homework and leave for school. The academy also takes care of their students’ breakfast and dinner, while Akshaya Patra an NGO in Odisha takes care of their lunch at the school.

Jyotiranjan says he likes coming to school because he gets to learn about different things in life and also play kho-kho and kabaddi with his friends. As for academic learning, he enjoys Odiya literature. He also likes environmental science and geography as they give information about the nature, planet, different countries, etc.

The 10-yr-old Jyotiranjan is confident that he will make it big in the world of Gotipua and to a great extent, his confidence stems from the exposure he has got over the course of time. As for his parents, they want him to focus on both – dance and academics and make a name for himself all over the world.

Currently, Akshaya Patra’s school lunch programme feeds over 1.6 million children in 13,800+ schools across 12 states of India. We have to make sure that no child suffers from malnutrition and can have a bright life. You can be a part of this journey and your donation can transform life of a child. You can donate for education in India by choosing to sponsor a child or more!

Our Interns Experience at Great Place to Work

Every students prefers to take internship at the companies or organisation which is having a great place to work and atmosphere. The Akshaya Patra Foundation is one among the Great Place to Work. Many students who wants to intern in charities prefer Akshaya Patra as their choice, as it gives you more exposure and experience. Recently it blogged on the interns experience and in the first series of it few interns shared their experience of working at the organisation.

You can read about their experience here: Internship Experience

My mom would feel proud to see me save lives

Manasi - Akshaya Patra Beneficiary

Wanting to make their parents proud is a dream many children nurture. Manasi Lohar, beneficiary of an NGO in Gujarat, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, is one such child. She is studying in Std V in Smt Tarabhen Modak Primary School in Surat, Gujarat. “I want to study well and become a doctor,” says Manasi, who loves reading about new things every day. The 10-year-old wants to be a doctor so that she can save people’s lives. She also adds, “It’s my mother’s dream to see me achieve big things in life. I want to make her proud.” Apart from Gujarat, Akshaya Patra also served Mid-day Meals to children in other countries.

Manasi’s mother is a homemaker, while her father works in a factory. She has an elder sister, who studies in Std VII and a younger brother in Std II. She likes to participate in various competitions that are held in school. She stood second in an essay-writing competition that was held recently to spread awareness about the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission). The young girl advocates the importance of keeping surroundings clean. 

Math is Manasi’s favorite subject because she finds it challenging to solve mathematical problems. As for sports, she likes playing kho-kho and kabaddi.

Manasi relishes Mid-day Meals served in Surat by Akshaya Patra. She says it’s tasty, like homemade food. She lists the dishes that are served in her school like khichdi, varan (daal), poli (roti) and others. Of these, she says, khichdi is her favorite and adds that food is important for our growth because it provides necessary nutrients.

Mansi is just one of the many children who needs your support. Be a part of the initiative to make their dreams come true. To sponsor a child, donate online.

Revati’s hope story by Akshaya Patra

Revati - Akshaya Patra Beneficiary

Empathy walks hand in hand with Revati. An Akshaya Patra beneficiary (Akshaya Patra is an NGO in Mysuru and 28 other locations in India), Revati is a 10-year-old girl studying in Class V in Government Higher Primary School (GHPS), Hinkal, Mysuru. This young mind aims to become a pediatrician while empathy drives her ambition. She says, “I like children a lot. I wish to ease their suffering.”

Strong support for a strong aspiration

Revati, a student who is benefitted by Mid-Day Meal Programme in Karnataka, comes from a broken home. Her mother committed suicide when she was just three months old. Her father, who remarried after the incident, works as a coolie at a provision store. Her 11-year-old elder sister stays with him, whereas Revati stays with maternal grandmother in a joint family. She sees her father once a week or once a fortnight.  

Hope in the story 

A determined student, Revati counts English and Kannada as her favourite subjects. “I also like drawing, dancing and participating in cultural programmes. Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meals in Karnataka are a big hit with Revati and her classmates. They are also a relief and reassurance for her family that she gets a healthy, wholesome school lunch every day. She enthusiastically states, “The food is tasty, nutritious and hygienic, which is great. The payasam and Bisibele Baath are my favourite.”

Read all the Akshaya Patra Beneficiary stories at hope stories.

Meet Narsimha Raju | Hope Story by Akshaya Patra

Akshaya Patra Beneficiary

His interests revolve around sports. Meet Narsimha Raju who wants to become a Physical Education (PE) teacher when grows up; he says “Nobody can have a positive influence on a child’s life the way a PE teacher can.”

Narsimha Raju, a Standard V student from Visakhapatnam, comes from a humble background and is also a beneficiary of Akshaya Patra – an NGO in Visakhapatnam. His father is a driver with a travel company, while his mother looks after the house. Once the school day ends, he helps his mother with daily chores like shopping for groceries and, fetching water. In the evenings, he plays with neighbourhood children and ensures he completes his homework. He also looks after his younger sister Meghana, who studies in Standard III.

For a student, his career goal seems clear. He says, “My goal will be to make good sportsman, so that when they win, I will get both, appreciation and happiness.” Apparently, his school’s PE teacher of has had a good influence on the lives of children studying in this school. More importantly, Narsimha Raju has seen people — both, management and visitors – appreciate the teacher for his enthusiasm. No wonder then, it serves as an inspiration from him.

He is an Akshaya Patra’s beneficiary who is benefitted by the Foundation’s Mid-Day Meal Programme in Andhra Pradesh. To know more about Narsimha Raju, visit stories of hope.

Lakshmi’s Hope Story by Akshaya Patra

Lakshmi - Akshaya Patra Beneficiary

Standing guard in defense of the country is a mighty ambition. Lakshmi Bai, a 13-year-old beneficiary of The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO in Hubballi, studying in Std VII, wants to join the armed forces. The Siachen incident, where 10 soldiers were buried underneath snow, changed the way she looked at the armed forces and inspired her to pursue the dream of joining them. She admires the sacrifices soldiers make so that citizens can be safe.

Lakshmi’s hope story is that she wants to serve her nation 24*7. “Protecting the nation is the primary objective. Sleep is secondary,” she says, adding, “This is my tribute to the martyrs and the soldiers who are working day and night for our nation. A soldier takes care of his nation irrespective of the weather. He has to stand vigil when the nation sleeps peacefully. I admire our soldiers."

Lakshmi enjoys the mid-day meals served in her school in Karnataka’s Hubballi, by Akshaya Patra, an NGO in Hubballi. “I do not bring lunch from home as I like the meals served in school, especially the pulao. The meals are highly nutritious, so my mother is not worried about my health anymore,” she says confidently.

Meet Sanjana – Mid-Day Meal Beneficiary Who Tops Her Class

Sanjana - Akshaya Patra Beneficiary

For Sanjana, it’s just another day at school; she reaches school around 9 am, completes pending homework, attends the morning assembly and gets on with Std VIII classes for the rest of her day. Government Higher Primary School, located in Bairidevara Koppa, Hubballi, is well maintained and the students here are quite enthusiastic. A section of this school was built under the ‘Freedom through Education’ project led by Round Table India.

Sanjana Borashetti from Hubballi is not just a school topper but is also the go-to person for her classmates. She also has her own collection of Kannada poems. After school, she leaves for home that has grown accustomed to living without electricity. Sanjana and her family have been living without electricity for four years. In order to study and complete her homework, Sanjana uses a torch. “There are two torches at home. I use one while studying,” she says.

For this young girl, Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meal in Karnataka is a boon. She and her siblings have been dependent on mid-day meals for many years and Akshaya Patra, an NGO in Karnataka is glad to be making a difference in their lives. Her story gives us an in-depth understanding on why social development initiatives like Food for Education are important in nation building. To help the initiative, you can donate towards education in India by sponsoring a child for a year. To read more about Sanjana’s life and other beneficiaries, visit stories of children.

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