Award ceremony held in Tokyo on Sunday, 29th May, 2016. Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa,
Chairman of The Akshaya Patra Foundation, received the award.
Nikkei Asia has conferred its 2016 award on The Akshaya Patra Foundation for its contributions to the field of economic and business innovation. Madhu Pandit Dasa, Chairman of the foundation received the honour at the award ceremony of Nikkei Asia Prize on May 29 in Tokyo. The winners were awarded three million yen each along with a certificate by Naotoshi Okada, President, CEO of Nikkei Inc. The ceremony was followed by a conference on ‘Future of Asia’ the next day where Japanese Prime Minister Shinz Abe spoke.
Mr. Dasa said he was accepting the award on behalf of “our movement and for the benefit of those 1.5 million children whose lives has changed because of a wholesome meal day after day.” He said: “people are not powerless to change this dire situation. We can unleash the force of compassion in the hearts of the rich to share their wealth, at least to meet the basic needs of humanity. It is only by promoting and awakening this virtue of compassion, and turning it into action in human society, that we can make this world more inclusive, equitable and sustainable.”
Nikkei Asia Prize, an annual award, is instituted to recognise outstanding achievements contributing to sustainable development and for a better future of Asia. Since 1996, Nikkei Inc., one of the largest media corporations in Japan, has been presenting the award to honour people in Asia who have made significant contribution in one of the three areas: Economic Business and Innovation; Science, Technology and Environment; and Culture and Community. Nikkei Inc. established these awards in 1996 in commemoration of the company’s 120th anniversary.
Mr. Dasa designed the first centralised kitchen of Akshaya Patra to provide mid-day meals to underserved children in the government schools of Bengaluru’s rural district during July 2000. Under his inspiring leadership and commitment, the organisation is gearing up to feed five million children by 2020. It has grown from serving 1500 to 1.5 million children in 16 years, becoming the world’s largest NGO-run school lunch programme. It recently served its 2 billionth meal.
He set up a robust governance model that has made Akshaya Patra a hallmark of transparency and accountability. Akshaya Patra is the only NGO to win the ‘Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) Gold Shield Award for Excellence in Financial Reporting five times in a row’. Mr. Dasa is an M.Tech in Civil Engineering from IIT-Mumbai.