Five youngsters, two weeks of time, and eighty-three kind donations later, one hundred and two blankets have shifted to a home in need.
It all started on December 22nd with a thought — that of sharing the Christmas spirit with those in need. We gave our friends, friends of friends, and family members a chance to become Secret Santa for someone in the need of a blanket.
The response we got was refreshing. Within a span of one week, we were able to raise a sum of 27000 Rupees.
Once we had the donations, we had to figure out a way to procure good quality blankets.
Procuring good quality blankets:
If you, the reader, are one of our donors, you would know (through our FAQs) that we planned to buy the blankets from Munirka, Delhi but were open to other options if good quality blankets were available elsewhere at a lower price.
We asked around and found out that Karol Bagh and Azad Nagar were our best bets. After combing through both the markets, we finalized two shops, one from each of the markets. Finally we went with Swatantra Canvas Co. from Azad Nagar as it reduced the price by Rs. 5 and also pitched in with two blankets from its own pocket. :)
These blankets were the warmest ones available in the market.
The distribution drive:
Now that we had 102 blankets stacked up in a hostel at IIT Delhi, we didn’t want to wait one bit on distribution. We wanted to go ahead with the distribution as quickly as possible.
Luckily, we got in touch with Ashray Adhikaar Abhiyaan (AAA), an NGO which has been working for the rehabilitation of homeless people across India for the past 15 years. They run night shelters (rain baseras) for the homeless to sleep in.
We loaded about half the blankets into a car borrowed from a friend. We distributed 35 in two rain baseras, both around Karol bagh (one near Idgah, Faiz Road and the other at Dev Nagar).
The choice of donating to rain baseras instead of distributing on the streets was motivated by Mr. Sanjay Krishna, our point of contact in AAA. He has been working in this field for more than a decade. He told us about the chronic problem of donating blankets on the streets in Delhi, where often these blankets were re-sold for a fraction of the price. A much better alternative was to donate to night shelters where the blankets will be re-used again the next year around.
After donating 35 blankets at the rain baseras, we still had 67 blankets left with us. Mr. Krishna was kind enough to put us in touch with Prakash Ji, who had been actively involved in field activities since more than a decade. He spent a good part of his life working for the causes of rag-pickers, fighting for their democratic rights.
Once again, we loaded the remaining blankets into the car and took off for Kapashera basti near the Delhi-Gurgaon border. We reached at around 8 o’ clock. The basti was an assortment of small tin houses and piles of collected garbage from all around the city.
We met with Chinta ji, the leader of the group of women residing in the cluster. She showed us her home, where she and her ‘maalik’ slept.
We made it a point to donate to the women of the houses, and Prakash ji was in complete agreement. He asked Chinta ji and others present to gather all women and children from the cluster. Soon we were accompanied by womenfolk from the whole cluster.
We gave a couple of blankets each to old folks like Chinta ji and Saantvana ji, and one blanket each to all the remaining women.
After the donation was over, we were cheered with a round of clapping, which truly wasn’t for us, but for you — we were just the medium.
Have a look at the images below, and let us know if that brought a smile on your face. :)
We are planning more activities like this in the future. To hear more from us, please drop us your email-id here.