‘Neki ki Deewar’ turns Santa Claus for the needy across India
There is a queue in cities across India that has managed to bring happiness in the lives of the needy. It is not outside a bank or an ATM, but in front of the ‘Wall of Kindness’, which has become the Santa Claus for the poor and homeless.
The ‘neki ki deewar’, as the wall is called in India, provides a platform to residents, government and non-government organisations to come together and do their bit in providing solace to the needy. The wall is different from a charity box as it allows people to donate whatever they can and one is free to take the item they need without taking someone‘s approval.
The initiative first started almost a year ago in Iran’s Mashhad. The walls have now sprung up in cities across India in no time.
Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh
The wall in Allahabad has the lines — Chalo Kuch Achcha Karein, Jo Zyada Ho Chod Jayein, Jo Zarorat Ka Ho Le Jayein — painted on it, which encapsulate the aim behind constructing the structure .
Shyam Sunder Patel, a Kargil war veteran and co-convenor of the Shaheed Wall, said the wall was dedicated to freedom fighters as it has come up on the side of a freedom struggle memorial.
“…I was shivering two nights back when I came to this wall and picked up a blanket... It was a heart-warming feeling,” shared Guddu, a Chitrakoot resident, working as a rickshaw puller in the city.
Four colourful walls of kindness have come up in the small textile town of Bhilwara in Rajasthan within a few months.
District collector Tina Kumar said they will collect clothes from the walls, get them washed and put them in the cloth bank for the poor.
“We are receiving a lot of clothes at the walls and evidently, the givers are many more than the takers,” said Pradeep Singh Sangawat of Bhilwara’s Urban Improvement Trust (UIT).
The district was the first in the country to build the wall after couple Prakash and Vandana Nawal proposed the idea to the UIT. Prakash said he was prompted to approach the administration with the idea for the wall to ensure that people who need warm clothes don’t have to beg for them.
There could not have been a better Christmas gift for daily wager Deepak Kumar, who was able to pick up warm clothes for his family from the wall of kindness.
Bhawanimandi Municipality’s executive officer Shambhu Lal Meena said the initiative witnessed an overwhelming response with over a thousand clothes, and footwear being donated at the wall. Readymade garment store owner Ashish Pareta, donated his dead stock at the wall instead of holding a sale.
Meena added that more than 600 poor people were able to take clothes and footwear from the wall.
Col (retd) Anand Thapliyal, dean of SGRR Institute of Technology and Science, said the wall at the college served a dual purpose.
“The needy get to take stuff they want without having to ask anyone and the students learn the joy of sharing,” he said.
Rashmi Rawat and Dristi Joshi are happy that they were able to leave their old garments at the ‘Wall of Charity’ so that they could be used by someone else. “This is the power of this wall,” Rashmi said.
The ‘neki ki deewar’ has come to the rescue of those belonging to the lower strata of the society in Korba, one of the poorest districts of Chhattisgarh.
After images of the wall went viral, people from other districts also came forward to donate their used stuff. Manoj Mishra, who started the drive in the city, said, “The only thing one needs for this wall is the support of the residents of the city, which has been overwhelming here.”
(Inputs by Salik Ahmed in Jaipur, Anupam Trivedi in Dehradun, Aabsar Qazi in Kota, Sudhir Kumar in Allahabad and Ritesh Mishra in Korba)