Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Akshaya Patra Foundation :: Charity on a Grand Scale

I received an email earlier this week about a remarkable charity that started in Bangalore, India. 


I was blown away by the scale of their operations! The kitchen equipment is phenomenal – devoted to providing children attending school with a daily nourishing meal. The reality is that this is probably the most wholesome meal that many of these children ever receive.  The trade off is remaining in school. It really is about building futures.


The charity is so aptly and hopefully named Akshaya Patra meaning an inexhaustible vesselwhen you start with such lofty aspirations for your organisation a name like that really sets the stage for its future!  At its onset, the founder of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness, Srila A.C. Bhativedanta Swami Prabhupada, on a visit to a centre in Mayapur saw a number of malnourished children fighting over scraps with dogs in the surrounding area. He decreed that no child within a 10 mile radius of that centre will go hungry and enlisted the temple devotees to make this a part of their mandate. A compassionate gesture that now gives hope to so many children.


The charity has since partnered up with the Government  and feeds 1.2 million children a day! A goal of 1m was set for 2010 – this was achieved by 2009.  So of course you should always set a new challenge – now it is 5 million by 2020. I truly believe that they will be able to achieve this. A true intent can’t fail.


Learn more about this charity




The kitchen from the outside - a three-storey building which uses Gravity Flow Mechanism developed in-house
by our team. Each kitchen has the capacity to cook between 50 000 to 100 000
mid-day meals per day. Costing approximately 9 crores to set up, they are built with funds from public donations.


The kitchen from the inside, consisting of rice cauldrons each of which
cooks up to 110kg of rice in 20 minutes. Sambar cauldrons cook up to 1200
litres of sambar in two hours.

It is washed thoroughly on the 2nd floor


Washed rice is sent down the chute to the 1st floor


Rice pours down into steam heated cauldrons for cooking. The entire cooking process
takes place on the 1st floor


Super heated steam is used to cook food instead of flame.


When cooking is finished, it is loaded into trolleys


Cooked rice is sent down the chute to the ground floor


It flows down the pipe into containers


Piping hot rice on its way to being loaded into food vans. Around
6000 kilosof rice are cooked daily in each kitchen.


Food materials in Kitchen


Stock in the kitchen


Washed dal and vegetables flows down the chute into sambar cauldron on
the 1st floor.


Vegetables and dal ready to be cooked


Sambar being cooked on the first floor


Cooked sambar is packed and sent to the food vans to be loaded.


Chapati dough is mixed


Heavy rollers flatten the dough into thin sheets


Dough is cut into the classic round shape


Making chapatti


Collecting all the chapattis


Transporting Akshaya Patra food through bus


Happy Kids


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Monday, 16 May 2011

JS Bach Cantata 147 - God's Symphony Hall

The great things about advertising budgets and big brands is that occasionally the money gets put to capturing something just so stunning it would be wrong not to share. On this occasion I am glad that brand executives help fund something so glorious to share with the world.

And a slightly odd phone that Touchwood? Not sure the Australian market is quite ready for it but I love the use of eco-friendly materials.

Happy start to the week wherever you are! xox

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Friday, 6 May 2011

The Business - Upstairs at Belvoir Theatre

By Jonathan Gavin
Based on Vassa Zheleznova by Maxim Gorky
From a literal translation by Karen Vickery
Director Cristabel Sved

With Kate Box, Grant Dodwell, Thomas Henning, Jody Kennedy, Russell Kiefel, John Leary, Sarah Peirse, Samantha Young

Upstairs Theatre

23 April - 29 May

Play Video

1 | 2 | 3 | 4
In 1909 Maxim Gorky wrote Vassa Zheleznova, a savage comedy about a Russian family at war over money, entitlement and the march of progress. But Vassa Zheleznova also relates to one of the great Australian themes: how we hauled ourselves out of our working class past and set out on the road to a relaxed and comfortable future.

Jonathan Gavin is one of Australian playwriting’s best-kept secrets. The Business is his transplantation of Gorky’s wonderful monster into the engine room of modern Australia: the small business.

Our central character is a woman who grew up poor, clawed her way out, and built an empire in the outer suburbs. But her salad days in middle Australia are under threat. The world is accelerating into the future, her husband is on his last legs, and the kids smell blood. Now is the time for a spectacular generational showdown over who gets the prize.

Following her charismatic turn in Gethsemane in 2009, Sarah Peirse returns to Belvoir to play the redoubtable matriarch of The Business. Cristabel Sved makes her directorial debut Upstairs with this gripping family battle which asks what all the hard work is for.

Total running time: approx 1hr, 45mins plus interval.

Winery Partner: Maxwell Wines

Set Designer
Victoria Lamb

Costume Designer
Stephen Curtis

Lighting Designer
Verity Hampson

Composer & Sound Designer
Max Lyandvert

Eamon Flack

Previews / 30-Down
8pm Saturday 23 April
5pm Sunday 24 April

Opening Night
8pm Wednesday 27 April

Schools Performances
11.30am Wednesday 4 May
11.30am Thursday 12 May
11.30am Wednesday 18 May

Captioned Performance
8pm Wednesday 18 May

Sunday Forum
3pm Sunday 22 May

Unwaged Performance
2pm Thursday 26 May

Performance Times
6.30pm Tuesday
8pm Wednesday - Friday
2pm & 8pm Saturday
5pm Sunday

“…a rambunctious and riveting production.” The Daily Telegraph

“…seriously entertaining night of bourgeois bashing. I loved it.” Stagenoise

For media enquiries contact
Elly Michelle Clough
02 8396 6242

One of the problems about doing too much reading about a production before you go is that it is going to generate your expectations and I was surprised to find how ill prepared I felt I was when I saw the show last night. Less would have definitely added more to the experience. From their promotional material an entire (and rather impactful) character is missing. It was a bit "Kinder Surprise" nice as she was quite the character but I am unsure why a character with so much stage-time was omitted entirely (and in the original 1910 script from which this version is adapted). Even the supporting media (how so very modern and interactive!) YouTube video indicates the costuming and play itself has evolved to what you would see today.

I love the Belvoir Theatre space - it can create real challenges for actors as it is so intimate and it really does test every part of the production.

I saw Jack Charles vs The Crown last month here and it was incredible. I am still blown away at the one-man show. He owned the stage, he had a presence and he filled the space. In contrast, the more numerous cast of The Business didn't attain to the same extent. The unique program guide for this show includes the script which I read this morning. The dialogue leapt of the page and left me wondering why were the actors directed to perform it in the way that they did? There were pauses that hung, not for effect, they just hung. Thought not uncommon, the 2nd half of the show really clicked better, the characterisations and interaction between the cast was stronger and there was an ease that seemed to be missing earlier in the show.

Plenty of cringe-worthy action, wonderful pop-culture references and terrific giggles to be had in an otherwise dark and disturbing tale of family dynamics. Live theatre is always worth enjoying, and The Business is no exception.

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