“There is no better expenditure of money and it’s really important for these kids to stay in school and learn. I love this program; this is one of the finest commitments ever made in the 10 years history of Clinton Global Initiative.”
How beautiful and true these words are from former U.S. President Bill Clinton, about the mid-day meal program of Akshya Patra, which is Cisco India’s primary benefiting organization for our Global Hunger Relief Campaign. Through this program, over 1.4 million children from 10,661 schools across 10 states in India receive a good meal each day that they are in school. This is the world’s largest mid-day meal program and it makes an incredible impact.
According to the World Food Programme, one-third of the world’s hungry live in India. “Six days I would eat, then the next six days I wouldn’t eat at all,” said 9-year-old Roshan. The tiny girl grew up on a diet of 600 calories per day, not even half as much as a child her age should receive. And across India, millions of children like Roshan suffer from severe hunger.
In the 12 years since the Global Hunger Relief Campaign began, Cisco has raised nearly $40 million to stop hunger worldwide, the equivalent of 159 million meals. Cisco employee donations have been made to more than 160 hunger-fighting organizations. During the campaign, employees in Bangalore, Gurgaon, Chennai, Mumbai, and Pune, India are excited to do their part to make a difference for a better tomorrow. In addition to financial contributions, our employees take time out of their busy days to volunteer and find ways to help those who need it most.
This year, Cisco India took part in the “48 Hour Race to End Hunger” – an effort happening at multiple Cisco sites around the globe, with communities racing to raise money for the cause in a limited timeframe. In India, our goal was to raise US$48,000 and achieve 48% participation in just 48 hours. Our results have been tremendous: US$44,400 and 19% participation. For our first year, I could not be more proud!
As well said by Mahatma Gandhi, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
At Cisco, our culture of giving back is in our DNA. I’m delighted to be a part of this organization, as we help feed hungry children, who might otherwise have no where else to turn.