Spreading good cheer on I-Day

Unique initiative
Last Updated 12 August 2015, 18:30 IST

This Independence Day will bring some difference in the lives of homeless and less fortunate people in India and Pakistan, as preparations are in full swing on both sides of the border to serve food to these people. The benevolence on these individuals is not powered by the respective governments, but by a voluntary organisation, The Robin Hood Army (RHA) which aims to mobilise students across India and Pakistan through its newly-launched campaign #Mission100k.

A collective effort of two friends, Anand Sinha and Neel Ghose, RHA came into being in 2014 when the duo realised the massive amount of “food wastage” in the restaurant and eatery business. So, they collaborated with different restaurants and eateries in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Bangalore to “serve the poor and destitute” by convincing these joints to share “leftovers” with them. This food would then be distributed to the destitute.

The word-of-mouth publicity increased their visibility among like-minded people and in February, 2015 they spread their wings to Karachi, followed by Lahore. So, the RHA now has over 750 volunteers in both the countries.

“The whole idea of this activity is to help students, who are the future of their respective countries, to understand how they can help the one in need. It is to tell them that they necessarily don’t need to join an NGO to reach out to less fortunate, anything simple like this will be good enough,” Ghose tells Metrolife.

The RHA has joined hands with an online media organisation, Scoopwhoop and mobile taxi hailing app, Uber to mobilise students from both the countries to service food to 100,000 homeless people.

“As the youth of Pakistan and India, we believe the biggest act of freedom is serving your own countrymen, especially those who need it most,” says said Sarah Afridi who set up the RHA in Pakistan, along with Sarfaraz Abid. “The aim is to guide students, who are the future of the country, to actively bridge these inequalities.”

The foundation of RHA is modelled after a similar organisation, ‘Re-food’ in
Portugal, which helps to end both hunger and food wastage in the country and the duo’s volunteering stint at this organisation made them realise that they should replicate the
model in India.

“We are providing Do It Yourself (DIY) kits to the volunteers where we have explained which area they should be targeting, the ideal time to go around and how they can convince restaurants to be a part of this initiative,” Ghose says.

According to Ghose, institutes like Shri Ram College of Commerce, Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata and Lahore University of Management Sciences have agreed to be on board.“So far we have 20 colleges and we hope the mission is a success,” he concludes.

(Published 12 August 2015, 14:43 IST)

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