17-year-old with a heart of gold
Bengaluru: In a bid to help the destitute migrants and homeless amid the lockdown, Anvi Mittal, a Class 12 student from the Greenwood High International School founded the organisation Ration Square. The student-led initiative provides ration kits to migrant workers during the pandemic.
The organisation has so raised around Rs 4.5 lakh for the cause and distributed 8,350 kg of ration in slums across eight locations in the city till date including one of the largest areas of the state capital, Whitefield.
Anvi partnered with Good Neighbours India and Samridhdhi Trust, both NGOs, who helped her identify the needy families to whom the ration was to be supplied.
Anvi, the founder of Ration Square, described why she was inspired to set up the organization to help the needy.
"I saw the news of young boy who refused to leave the side of his dead friend, who had died after having walked for 500 miles without food and water. I felt horrible and compelled to look beyond my frivolous needs and demands. I started reading online about the condition of migrant workers and what I could do to help them. After some contemplation, I decided to reach out to the parents of my school with the help of my school authorities. I requested them to pledge ration kits of Rs 500 each which contained 10 kgs of ration. Within two days, I was surprised and pleased to receive overwhelming pledges for kits. I realized then, that most people wanted to help and contribute to such causes, but were unaware of credible and reliable sources. That's how Ration Square was born," Anvi said.
Anvi negotiated with local grocery store owner for a good mix of ration for each kit. The store owner not only managed to source the quantity mix within her budget, but also offered her the godown for packing and storing.
Then the kits were packed and loaded onto a truck for dispatch of the ration across multiple locations. Each kit contained pulses, rice, cooking oil, sugar, salt, turmeric powder and chilly powder. The first location Anvi went to was a slum located in Whitefield where there were huts that had very little sunlight and ventilation and 10-15 people cramped up in a single room. The ration was distributed, and the last kit at the distribution centre was give to a child of 6 or 7 years, who was struggling to just hold the 10 kg bag.
"I came home realising just how privileged we are and also the responsibility that comes along with it. It has taught me to respect and value money and to understand the difference between necessity and need." added Anvi.
Anvi at a slum in Whitefield