Meals at Rs10: Charity wrapped in dignity
The biggest problem with poverty is the shame that comes with it, when you give the best you have to someone in need, it translates into something much deeper to the receiver. It means they are worth. These lines are from The Book of Kindness, written by Om Swami and they hold much value in an initiative started by Sanjay Dodrajka, a CA by profession. Under his program, Food with dignity, he has been providing meals at just Rs.10.
Quoting Dalai Lama, Dadrojka says,“It is not enough to be compassionate. You must act”. He always wanted to do something tangible for the people who are in dire need of help. “As responsible citizens, we cannot leave everything to our government. We need to pitch in, directly. Every year, many people across the world fail at the very elementary task of staying alive. Not because they are sick or meet with an accident, but for the most damning reason of all – they starve for want of food. Hamari Udaan, a young NGO has taken up task of providing affordable food cooked in hygienic conditions for those who have no access to such meal.”
Through small initiatives, Dodrajka has been involved in social service since his college days. However the idea to set up a full fledge NGO came to his mind after untimely death of a close school friend. “My friend died in an air crash in US and Hamari Udaan was born in 2014. The name being related to his passion for flying. The program has been running in Maya Enclave for almost twenty months now with a simple concept. Volunteers prepare the food in collaboration with ACT, another NGO from the area. This food is prepared every day in time to meet the lunchtime needs of passersby, often factory workers, autorickshaw drivers and labourers and other people from an economically stressed background. The food is hot, hygienic, fresh and tasty,” says Dodrajka.
A minimal amount is charged for the food. “We charge a token amount of Rs. 10 per plate of food served. The reason for charging this small amount and not giving away the food for free is two-fold. Firstly, it ensures that the purchaser is accorded the full dignity of a paying customer. Refills are free and once a person has paid for a meal, he or she can eat to their content. Giving away the food for free would have reduced the beneficiaries to the status of beggars, something that we want to avoid. Secondly, the token amount ensures that there is no wastage. This is an equally important component and dovetails with the ideal of tackling hunger, one meal at a time,” says Dodrajka who runs this program in Maya Enclave nearby his work place to manage this project.
Author tweets @ruchikagarg271
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