Umeed Ki Kiran has Fed Almost 5,000 Migrant Workers

The human spirit is a being
Unlike any known before
Since just as reason is fleeing
Faith and love are e’er restored
By these rays made not of pigment
Nor of predetermined mould 
That bring more than just a figment
Of the kindness we behold.

These lines by Jill Eisnaugle returned to memory while I spoke with Parul Datta of BG Foundation regarding their latest initiative Umeed Ki Kiran. The name literally translates to the title of Jill’s poetry, Ray of Hope. 

BG Foundation was started in 2008, in Gurgaon, with the purpose of educating the children of migrant workers. Slowly, it graduated from being an education program to more of a community program, helping the kids with skill development and career mentorship as well.

One day end-March, Parul, one of the educators at the foundation received a call from one of their kids at 4 am. It was right after the lockdown was announced in the national capital region. He told her that their neighbours were panicking, picking up all they could and leaving their homes in huge numbers. Soon after, she got a call from another kid who said they stayed with 18 other families and they had enough food to survive just about three more days.

These urgent pleas for help got the foundation to spring to action and figure out ways to provide food to these families. From there on, the effort quickly gained momentum and today it delivers more than 100 care packages; each can sustain a family of five for a week. 

Umeed Ki Kiran has distributed food to almost 5,000 migrant workers since the lockdown has started.

The beauty of it, in Parul’s own words, “We were amazed to discover that our efforts inspired not just our friends and family, but also the police, Red Cross and other charitable organisations to lend a helping hand to the cause.” 

One of the biggest challenges for Parul and her colleagues was to manage the coordination as virtually as possible, and the volunteers have been of great help in transporting and distributing the care packages. The local police are also helping in efficient identification of the families that need genuine help, thereby reduce resource hoarding.

It is the wonderful support they received from fellow human beings that made the foundation name this initiative Umeed Ki Kiran. It’s interesting to note that, despite (or maybe because of) all the adversities, differences are slowly melting away. “The World will now be better equipped to reach out to people in cases where geographical distance has been a hindrance in the past,” says Parul. 

I tend to agree.