by Tasavur Mushtaq
SRINAGAR: Seeking help was scary for Abdul, a man in mid-fifties. Living with his wife and two children, his expenses exceeded his earnings for a long time. A labourer by profession, he had difficulties to manage to get work, primarily because of the pandemic. Dealing with the challenges, as destitution took over, he somehow managed his kitchen requirements. Underprivileged, the family was left struggling to ensure having warm clothes for harsh winter.
However, on Sunday, he had a sigh of relief. As he came out of his home, somehow he got guided to a camp on the roadside in Lal Bazaar. After a brief enquiry, he got to know the offerings of the camp. Moments later, he took what he needed at home for his family.
Abdul is not alone in the crisis. During the pandemic, as people lost their lives, those who lived were restricted to their home and fear prevailed. Heath apart, as the invisible virus took over the entire globe, many families were left in penury.
But even in these dark times, a few rays of hope are what keep us alive, keep us human. One such initiative was from Infaaq Foundation and Madad Charitable Trust in association with other organizations, where an attempt was made to help such people.
Understanding the need at the local level on the basis of reports, the trust set up Ehsaas Point at Molvi Stop, Lal Bazar to collect and simultaneously provide used clothes in good condition, gently used clothes, fresh garments, blankets, quilts and other similar items to poor and needy.
Initially, for three days, the camp as per the organizers has evoked a good response on day one. “Overall there was a positive response, both from donors and beneficiaries,” said Zahoor Ul Haq, administrator of Madad Trust. “The concept is not to interfere and allow people to contribute as they please and the ones who require take as per their need.”
Another member, who worked for a day on a voluntary basis wishing anonymity, said “this year, winters are predicted to be very harsh, even now we see a big dip in temperatures. Imagine the plight of those who cannot afford warm clothing or decent bedding that could protect them from biting cold. This is why the initiative has been taken.”
Talking about the idea behind the initiative, Zahoor said, “the shopkeepers and locals told the Trust that people face difficulty in managing their winter needs as there is a crisis,” adding “we will see how it will proceed. And in case there is extra stuff, we can pack and send to areas of need.” He also said in the next step they can “prepare kits of entire requirements and send them to families after proper verification.”
Future plan of Madad Charitable Centre, another member said is to start a multi-service development centre which will have a pharmacy, diagnostic lab, a library cum reading room, a computer centre, a craft centre and IT enables classroom.
“The key to tackle poverty does not lie in doling out benefits to the needy only. There should be also on equipping them with all the necessary tools (quality education, healthcare, safety and security, professional skills.) so that they can attain personal economic growth,” he said.