Of all the problems that are plaguing humanity, sadly hunger is still one of them. In a cosmopolitan city like Bengaluru issues like traffic and pollution take the centre stage, but thousands are still malnourished. Food should be seen as an entitlement and not as charity. The word charity has lot of stigma attached to it, one being that the donors aren’t confident that their donation would translate to food and the other that the recipients aren’t comfortable with charity for food.
With this thought in mind Kozhikode District Administration started “Operation Sulaimani” partnering with Kerala Hotel and Restaurants Association. The idea behind the programme is simple, ordinary citizens donate into boxes kept at restaurants and other public places. This money is converted to ‘food coupons’, such coupons are made available at select outlets/petty shops in the railway stations. Any person who is hungry can take the coupon and present it in any of the designated restaurants in the city, and get a free meal. The entire system woks without big corporate donations and government support. The whole system is managed by volunteers. They convert the money into food, effortlessly. Isn’t this the most efficient way of feeding the poor. No new kitchens, or Government interventions! The existing kitchens in the restaurants feed few more.
We had a chat with Kozhikode District Collector Prashant Nair he says, “Operation Sulaimani is modelled on Food on the Wall concept which is popular in Europe, but not entirely. We carried out lots of logistics study and customized it to Indian mind-set. It’s been one year now, I think the key point here is food with dignity, it’s difficult for many to understand. I believe that it’s compassion which is driving this concept”.
Manivannan, a Karnataka cadre IAS officer well known for his fearlessness and transparency had posted on his Facebook wall about Operation Sulaimani and had asked why can’t this be replicated in Bengaluru and calling for volunteers. We hope that this becomes a reality in the near future. The Newsism team has tied up with Samanya Kannadiga, a civil Society Organization in building a team of volunteers. Watch the video to know how you can be a part of this initiative.
The Newsism team applauds Prashant Nair and all the stakeholders for carrying out such a wonderful programme and inspiring us.