Two common interests – reverence for Mother Teresa and pain for millions of Indians who go hungry everyday has now led a Kolkata girljoin hands with a Delhi-based philanthropist to roll out one of the largest food programmes that intends to feed around 100,000 hungry mouths across India daily for free.
Mukulika Sinha – Kolkata girl and one of India’s most respected names from the world of high fashion has decided to fulfill a long standing dream – feed India’s hungry.
Sinha who has worked in the most coveted fashion houses globally – Burberry and Salvatore Ferragamo and is a common face at the London Fashion Week will now head the charity run by Delhi’s renowned philanthropist Samir Thapar.
Thapar’s “erasing hunger programme” at present is already feeding over 2000 people across different parts of Delhi under the aegis of the H D Sikand Foundation – named after his maternal grandfather.
Twice daily (lunch and dinner), nearly 3000 chapatis, 100 kg vegetables, 60 kg rice and 20 kg dal are cooked by 12 people in the private kitchen of Thapar’s house (to ensure utmost quality) and distributed at various spots across Delhi – Sai Baba Mandir in Lodhi Road, New Delhi railway station, Majnu-Ka- Tillah, Shanti Niketan and the Bhati-Mines.
Thapar who is the chairman and MD of the famous conglomerate JCT is now firming up plans to scale up the programme pan India which will feed 100,000 Indians across the country by 2020.
So what drove Mukulika to take the plunge?
“Whenever I left my office or a luxury mall, I would always notice poor people on the road who would come begging for money to eat. It bothered me that here I was selling such high end products for millions of rupees on one hand but I wasn’t being able to help these people with a decent two square meal. I would often think that it was futile being successful if we couldn’t or didn’t give back to society”.
“My friend Samir Thapar was already running an initiative to feed the hungry. He was keen that I came on board to bring in my vast corporate skills and international tie ups to do what are both a social issue and a cause close to my heart. My ultimate goal is to be able to provide food to people so they can focus on working and not worry about where to get their next meal from. Our plan is to make this a national programme and reach the one million mark,” Sinha who has worked with Ferragamo and Burberry over the last 11 years said.
Hunger is one of India’s greatest national shame.
Data on the state of food availability in India shows that a whopping 194.6 million Indians go hungry every day.According to the recently released Global Hunger Index, India’s hunger levels were rated as “alarming” with almost 40% of Indian children under five years of age being stunted due to lack of nutritious food.
The annual report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says India is home to the highest number of undernourished people in the world. This means India is home to a quarter of the undernourished population in the world. Also 48% of women between 15 to 49 years of age are anaemic according to the World Health Organisation and 44% of children under 5 are underweight.
The Global Hunger Index 2016 ranks India at 97 out of 118 countries on the basis of three leading indicators — prevalence of wasting and stunting in children under 5 years, under 5 child mortality rate and the proportion of undernourished in the population.
“The 2030 Agenda set a clear global objective for an end to hunger – everywhere – within the next 14 years,” says David Nabarro, special adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change.
He added “Too many people are hungry today. There is a need for urgent, thoughtful and innovative action to ensure that no one ever goes hungry again.”