Six Million Meals Campaign
Solidarity Feeding by Karwan e Mohabbat for India’s Dispossessed
SCALE OF HUMANITARIAN CRISIS
The Covid-19 pandemic has emerged not only as a health crisis but also an immense humanitarian and economic disaster. In India, the countrywide lockdown, announced with barely 4 hours’ notice on 24 March, 2020, left millions of daily wage labourers and working-class people stranded without access to work, home or food. The intense suffering of millions of working and farming people, especially migrants, casual workers, the self-employed poor, waste gatherers, single women headed households, the destitute and disabled poor, persons with disability, stigmatized people, survivors of targeted violence, and others was going to be further compounded with the extension of lockdown upto 3 May. As cases of Covid-19 infections rise, there remains uncertainty about when the lockdown may actually lift.
Team Karwan e Mohabbat and a country-wide group of volunteers have been providing meals and food packages to homeless, daily-wage and migrant workers from the start of the lockdown. Our network of volunteers are working in Delhi NCR, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Besides supporting the urban poor in cities like Delhi NCR, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Pune and Mumbai, including migrants, workers in MSMEs, casual daily wage workers, ragpickers, refugees, sex workers and homeless people, we are also focussed on the distress of the rural poor – farmers, daily wage and migrant labour in Assam, Jharkhand, Bihar, UP and Haryana.
We receive hundreds of SOS messages every day from various parts of the country of food supplies running out among stranded people and try to respond to them through our networks.
The relief is provided in these 3 ways:
1) Cooked meals for homeless men, nomadic groups, elderly and disabled and stranded migrants.
2) Dry food ration kits that have supplies for 100-150 meals and is able to sustain a family of 5 for 10 days or longer.
3) Money transfers to far-flung ration shops from where people who are difficult to reach by our volunteers can procure food supplies locally; and also sometimes for health emergencies.
We also continue to advocate and support state governments in various states, pointing them to families and clusters of highest need.
At the start of the lockdown, we had set for ourselves the target of distributing one million meals. Then as distress grew, we raised our goal to three million meals. Through these efforts, we have in the first month of the lockdown, provided over three and a half million meals to the poor and needy. But with the extension of lockdown and mounting hunger and suffering, the graph of our efforts continues to rise, but we need to strive even harder. Our target now is six million meals. With volunteers and systems in place, and a generous flow of solidarity donations, we hope now to supply six million meals in the coming weeks of the lockdown and the intense economic crisis even after its lifting.
TEAM KARWAN E MOHABBAT
Team Karwan e Mohabbat is a large open platform, devoted to the values of solidarity, compassion and justice. For the feeding solidarity program in times of the COVID 19 pandemic, Karwan e Mohabbat is supported by several hundred individual donors from India and around the world and some leading philanthropic organizations. The team includes volunteers and staff of Aman Biradari who work for healing and justice with survivors of violence; volunteers and staff of the Centre for Equity Studies who work with homeless people and various other disadvantaged groups; volunteers and staff of Rainbow Foundation India who take care of formerly homeless children; older children and young adults in our care; and a range of other young volunteers including students and young professionals; and volunteers from the homeless population.
FUTURE NEEDS and AIMS
As stated, the scale of hunger and deprivation is growing exponentially with the possibility of extension of lockdown in many states. Even after it is lifted, we recognize that the economy will take very long to revive, leaving millions of the poor working people extremely vulnerable to hunger. We intend to raise further resources and build capacity and reach to be able to provide at least 6 million meals with dignity and honour to those most in need, while the impact of the lockdown continues.