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Deposit bread, feed the poor: Roti bank in Indian capital on mission to alleviate hunger

A brainchild of Rajkumar Bhatia and Sudhir Behrani, the roti bank has presently 21 active collection centres across Delhi. Photograph: (WION)

WION Delhi, India Sep 08, 2016, 07.17 AM (IST)
By WION Bureau, New Delhi

If you really want to feed people standing at traffic red lights asking for alms, start donating a 'roti' (bread) everyday to the roti bank. It's not a money bank, eye bank or a blood bank. It's a bank that distributes free of cost rotis to needy people in India's capital.

This bank was started almost a year ago in Delhi and has been feeding thousands of poor people.

A brainchild of Rajkumar Bhatia and Sudhir Behrani, the roti bank has presently 21 active collection centres across Delhi. Both Bhatia and Behrani who work at Azadpur Mandi (Asia's largest wholesale market for fruits and vegetables) collect rotis every morning and distribute it for free to whosoever wants.

What began with seven rotis, the bank now serves up to 1,800 packets in a day. The collection centres are located in Azadpur Mandi, Indra Nagar, Panchwati, Adarsh Nagar, Uttam Nagar and Modern School, Shalimar Bagh in the city.

Bhatia explains how it started, saying, “Once upon a time someone came to me asking for help, I offered him some money but he refused to take money and asked for food instead. This led to the bank.”

“When you interact with school kids (who bring extra rotis everyday from home), their thoughts will amaze you. The concept of sharing and caring will develop over time in these children. When they grow up, they will eradicate hunger,” Behrani adds.

The two have built a strong partnership with Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh, and with support from the principal of the school, the roti bank received 472 packets from teachers and students on the very first day.

Geeta Sehgal, a teacher at the school, says, “We do speak to our children very often, telling them why it is important to bring an extra food packet for poor children. I think, over time they have understood the value of feeding the poor.”

Both Bhatia and Behrani everyday visit various schools asking students to get extra bread from home.

According to a United Nations 2015 report, India ranks highest globally with nearly 195 million undernourished people. Moreover, last year's Global Hunger Index put India at the 20th place with a serious hunger situation. Among South Asian nations, it is behind only Afghanistan and Pakistan.

So next time, you want to help the poor, do remember a few rotis can make all the difference.

 

Two friends from Delhi, Sudhir Behrani and Rajkumar Bhatia, have made 'feeding the hungry' their mission.

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