Narayanan Krishnan


With a degree in hand and future in sight, Narayanan Krishnan was on his way to be an award-winning chef at a 5-star restaurant in Switzerland. All it took to change his plans forever was a walk on the streets of his home town of Madurai where he saw an elderly man lying on the side of the road, eating his own human waste for food.

Krishnan reached out to this old man who placed his frail, wrinkled dirty hand upon him and this is when he decided that helping this man and those in need would give him that happiness and fulfillment he had yet to experience until this moment.

The following year he founded the nonprofit group Akshaya Trust. The organization is named for the "Akshaya bowl" from Hindu mythology, a bottomless bowl that can feed the hungry forever - just as Krishnan hopes his group will do.

Each morning, Krishnan and his team rise at 4 am, and seek out the homeless throughout a 123-mile radius, armed with packets of hot vegetarian meals that Krishnan has prepared by hand. He brings the meals to a crowd of about 400 regulars, and gives them free haircuts and beard trims when they need it. In the years since starting the non-profit, he's served over 1.2 million meals. His recipients are nearly all mentally ill, and do not have the capacity to thank him. Nonetheless, Krishnan receives great pleasure from the work he does.