A Little Red Sticker is Feeding Mumbai’s Hungry Slum Children
We’ve all grown up being made to feel guilty about not wiping our lunch boxes clean in school. I certainly remember my mom drilling the theory of homeless kids going hungry for every morsel that I half ate or made a face at. But I always wondered why she said that. It wasn’t like my left overs could be shared by one of them, as much as I would gladly have that. My guilt was of no help to the little mouths that needed to be filled.
Thankfully, a simple bright idea struck the Happy Life Welfare Society and the Dabbawala Foundation. And it was a sticker! They collaborated to initiate Share My Dabba, an incredibly simple idea helps distribute 16 tons of uneaten food every single day, to the hungry and homeless street kids in Mumbai. Here’s how-
According to this video, approximately 2 Lac children on the streets of Mumbai went hungry every day in 2013. Who better to come to their rescue than the city’s famous dabbawalas! This network of the world’s most efficient delivery men, deliver more than 2 Lac lunches on a daily basis. And now they deliver grateful burps too!
It works so very simply and effectively. If you decide to skip your perfectly good, home cooked meal, or just can’t manage to eat it all, all you need to do is mark it with the red dot shaped ‘share’ sticker and our cycle heroes will make sure your left overs reach a hungry little tummy. The stickers of course, accompany your lunch.
Here’s how powerful the idea really is. From a 120 tons of food distributed in the city each day, more than 16 tons remains uneaten, some of it even untouched! So on their way back from collection, once you’ve had your fill, the dabbawalas sort the tiffins ‘with stickers’ and hand them over to NGO workers and volunteers working with slum children, along their respective routes.
The idea is so strong that it manages to bring about a huge change, without actually affecting the six sigma system, that is the backbone of their delivery system. All this wasn’t easy, especially because the dabbawalas can’t afford to be even a second late. Questions about the dignity of the kids being fed left overs, have also been raised. But the potential and humanness of the idea seems to have trumped it all.
Simplicity can really do wonders.