Anila begins her day by making Rotis for her family and just an extra five more for the migrant workers, whom she fondly refers to as her ‘new family’. She waits for the doorbell to ring in the morning and hands over the extra rotis to a volunteer from the housing society.
Stranded, hungry, away from family with no money and adding to that a nationwide lockdown.
For which Surat-based NGO, Chhanyado, came up with a simple yet, heartwarming gesture. They started a noble initiative called ‘Roti Seva’.
Anila has never met any of the migrants, and yet has been doing this since the nationwide lockdown started earlier in 2020.
“It’s hardly any work as I only have to make ten extra rotis. But through this small gesture, I am happy that at least a few people get some food to eat,” she informs.
Like Anila, a total of 26,000 households across the city have been preparing rotis and been part of the ‘Roti Seva’.
The NGO started by sending out an appeal on social media, WhatsApp groups, and word of mouth. The response was whopping!
The NGO collected and distributed close to 1 lakh rotis to migrants every day. A vegetable gravy was added to complete the meal.
Apart from the households, the NGO also roped in 129 other organizations to carry out a similar roti collection initiative. For people who did not have access to kitchen provisions, Bharat and his team provided stove, ghee, flour, utensils.
How it works
Volunteering forms were made available on online google forms or reach out to the NGO via Facebook or call the NGO members.
Based on area-wise collection duties, the NGO members would visit the building apartments in the morning across 1,500 locations and transport the rotis to their central kitchen.
Here, they would make food packets, each containing up to four rotis and 180 grams of sabzi.
“We have a team of around 150 people, including cooks, domestic help, and volunteers who run the initiative. During the entire process, we ensure strict hygiene with precautions like masks and gloves. We have appointed one person in every building to make sure that all rotis are packed and kept at the building entrance at their allotted time. This way, there is no physical interaction,” explained Vipul, an NGO member.
Thousands of migrant workers were stranded because of the lockdown away from their families. Lack of proper food and depleting savings had resulted in some unfortunate incidents, including deaths.
Along with governments, it is NGOs like Chhanyado that were making attempts to restore normalcy.
“There are close to 21 states including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Rajasthan from where workers migrate to Surat in search of jobs every year. Owing to the nationwide lockdown and shutting of factories, thousands of migrants are stuck in the city without any job or essentials. There is very little people can do to help due to the restriction on movement. So we came up with this initiative which is neither time-consuming nor expensive,” says Bharat Shah, the President of the NGO.
“As a country, we have witnessed exemplary efforts by our citizens every time there is a calamity, and COVID-19 lockdown is no exception. For me, the real heroes are the compassionate households that are taking an extra effort for strangers which is making a huge difference. I appeal everyone to do whatever they can in their capacity to help the needy,” concludes Bharat.
Source: Times of India