This January, Dishoom is delighted to announce that the team have reached a milestone of 15 million meals donated through their ‘meal for a meal’ charity partnership, which provides a meal to a child that might otherwise go hungry in the UK or India for every meal served at Dishoom.
In collaboration with long-term charity partners, Magic Breakfast and The Akshaya Patra Foundation, this ‘meal for a meal’ commitment began during Ramadan in 2015 as Dishoom’s ‘zakat’ (an act of almsgiving) and has since expanded to include a donation from the at-home Naan Roll Kits.
Both charities provide nutritious free school meals to children, ensuring they arrive in the classroom with full bellies and able to learn, helping to end food poverty as a barrier to education. Dishoom is passionate about breaking down these barriers, which remain a genuine and persistent problem in India and the UK today amidst a cost of living crisis when access to healthy, balanced meals is harder to come by than ever.
Following a winter of discontent and one of the hardest post-Christmas periods, there is an omnipresent need to support over four million children who live with food insecurity in the UK. Indeed, statistics show that in England, by the time they finish primary school disadvantaged pupils are nine months of learning behind their peers, and at GCSE level disadvantaged pupils are 1.34 grades behind their wealthier peers in GCSE English and maths, a gap that has only widened since 2019. 81% of Magic Breakfast partner schools believe that child hunger has increased in their school community in the past year (2021: 79%).
In India, these meals play a dual role in the lives of many – not only do they ensure no child is too hungry to learn, but, in many instances, they also provide the very reason for children to attend school. For many girls in India, access to the same education as boys is restricted, and girls living in developing countries are often the first to be withdrawn from education when their family is experiencing financial difficulties. By providing a free midday meal, Akshaya Patra provides an incentive to ensure these children receive the education they deserve.
The charity sector currently faces its toughest months. Double the number of households with children are now experiencing food insecurity when compared with January 2022. Combined, Akshaya Patra and Magic Breakfast work with 22,000 schools in England, Scotland and India, offering a healthy breakfast to over two million children every school day, a feat that Dishoom is proud to support.
Dishoom have made moves beyond their own efforts in the hospitality sector, helping to facilitate new support for Magic Breakfast with their valuable industry contacts such as Pizza Pilgrims and Bloomsbury Publishing. This year, Dishoom celebrates eight years of charity partnership and working together towards a shared goal of bringing down hunger as one of the greatest obstructions to succeeding in school and opening up vital opportunities for a brighter future.
In 2019, prior to the pandemic, Dishoom was donating over 2.5 million meals a year. The team quickly turned their minds to finding a solution to continue its support during the COVID-19 lockdown. With the restaurants closed, Dishoom dreamt up a delivery service - providing a way to have café favourites in the comfort of your home - and now, the same donation to school children is donated from every Bacon Naan Roll or Vegan Sausage Naan Roll kit sold.
Beyond donating meals, Dishoom also hosts an annual Magic Breakfast Takeover in the cafés, where children from Magic Breakfast’s partner schools are invited to enjoy a healthy breakfast and meet with Dishoom’s very own Chef-Wallas and devoted team of volunteers. The annual event is instrumental in connecting the restaurants with local communities and provides the opportunity for Dishoom employees to engage with the partnership and see the impact of their support in action. They also run a “Bombay Bootcamp” each year, taking team members who have been with the company for five years to visit Bombay with Dishoom’s Founders and Executive Chef. As part of the tour, the team are shown the Akshaya Patra kitchens, before serving lunch through their Midday Meals programme.
For more information on Dishoom’s long-term partnerships with Magic Breakfast and The Akshaya Patra Foundation, please visit: