The news channels in India announced a few days back that the cold wave is likely to continue in North India and will advance further south. That’s no reason to celebrate. But this news is heart – warming and is definitely a reason to rejoice. A group of women living in Sanaswadi village near Pune in Maharashtra have opened a make – shift ‘kapada’ or clothes bank in the same village. They are donating clothes, free of cost to underprivileged women and children in nearby villages. The women in these villages, who were the beneficiaries of sarees, shirts, trousers, water bottles, towels, blankets and carpets donated to them, expressed their joy and gratitude for the items received. Read more on Donations
“Forget sweater, my one-year-old child does not even have proper clothes to wear. These clothes are like gods for us”, said Sangeeta, a resident of a village near Sanaswadi. “These clothes mean a lot to us. We have been thrown out of our homes in Nagar district. We have no money and no roof. In these cold conditions, this kind of help, especially clothes, means a lot for each one of us”, said Shobha Shinde, another resident of a village near Sanaswadi.
“If there can be a roti bank, why can’t there be a kadpa bank?”, said activist Seema Pawar, who is the founder of ‘kapada’ bank and who was instrumental in bringing the women in the area (Sanaswadi village and surrounding areas) together. The ‘kapada bank’ has just come into operation and so far it has distributed clothes and other items to 400 slum dwellers and the homeless (waifs). Seema Pawar said that ‘kapada bank’ does not accept torn clothes and other items which cannot be used. “All donations are voluntary”, said Seema Pawar. “In the meeting of our Yeshkiriti Samajik Sanstha, the members agreed to do their bit for the sake of deprived sections of the society”, Seema Pawar added.
“The clothes are procured from people who have stopped using them, avoid using them frequently or don’t intend to use them. It could be a saree, a pair of jeans, a T-shirt, a shawl, a blanket or anything else. It is all voluntary. We don’t force them to donate just because we land up at their doorsteps or we are asking them to do so”, Bhagyashree Jadhav, another member of ‘kapada bank’ said.
Vaishali Khedkar, an activist and another member of ‘kapada bank’ said, “Initially, people were perplexed. But when we explained to them the purpose of doing it, they readily agreed to donate whatever was possible”. Mangale Saswade, another member of the bank said, “We don’t have to go door to door to seek help. It is also done through social media or through word of mouth”.
“When people realize that this is not about politics, contesting elections or about money-making, they voluntarily come forward. We are very lucky; the people in Sanaswadi and nearby areas have been very cooperative and understanding”, said Seema Pawar.
The women of kapada bank gather at a convenient location in Sanaswadi from where they disperse to various locations to distribute their items, free of cost.
“As of now, we operate from a designated spot. Also, I have provided my house to store the material. Soon, we will have a proper place from where throughout the day, we will be able to operate”, Seema Pawar said.
It is absolutely shameful that in India, a country which talks about the highest GDP growth, there are still people below the poverty line, who don’t have fundamental food, clothing and shelter. The economic growth of India has to be inclusive. Even the people at the bottom of the economy have to benefit from the economic growth that is taking place. Only then can India truly be called a developing nation. Eradicating black money is one way to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. The demonetization move is one brilliant step in this direction. To further bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, the Government of India must fund and promote more of self – help groups like Seema Pawar’s. Read more on Startup News