The holy month of Ramzan began on the 25th of April 2020 and it is usually a month-long festival for all the Muslims and their neighbors! However, this time was different - Covid-19 was at its peak and it brought along with it fear, dread, and yet, strengthened faith in everybody involved in the Ramzan festivities.
Usually, most of the muslims keep a Fast (Roza) and won't eat anything from sunrise to sunset, for 30 days starting on that day. At the time of sunset, they break their fast by sipping water and eating dates, fruits and other snacks, gathering in one place with their friends and family. This is what happens in Ramanagara and Channapatna too.
However, this time, the festive season was gloomy.
The people in these towns mostly worked in either Silk manufacturing factories, or in the factories manufacturing Wooden Toys. Owing to the COVID-19 lockdown, they were not allowed to move out of their houses. Their factories had also been closed for more than a month by then. This meant that they had no income since that last one month and they had been struggling for three square meals a day.
Now that Ramzan was beginning, these people would start to fast, but most of them didn't have enough resources to break their fast.
"Although they fast, none should go hungry."
With this in mind, we at SWARI took the initiative to create and distribute Iftar Packages for the ones who need them, each Iftar Package containing fruits, sweets, snacks and sherbet or another similar drink. Fruits and other required items were sourced from Antharbhaava, an NGO in Bangalore, that is working in the disability employment space.
We invited people to donate their Zakat to our cause, so we could support the NGO Antharbhaava to do better work, and also help these families have a beautiful month of Ramzan.
And what a response it was! While Muslims donating their Zakat to Iftar was already heartwarming, Hindus came forward to donate and said that they were donating it for their Muslim friends. So beautiful!
It costed us thirty thousand rupees per day to get 300 Packages each day to these people, and since Ramzan began, we ended up distributing FREE Iftar Packages for the needy, 300 packages per day, each package containing 25g of dates, a mix of 3 cut fruits which is about 400g, a bakery savoury and a 200ml pack of flavoured milk.
While there were usually more people than the packages we had every day, we felt honoured and humbled that we were a part of a project this huge, and especially something that changes peoples' lives, one meal at a time.