Abdul Khader, a former telephone operator in Porapad village, Kerala, has taken it upon himself to feed and provide shelter to over 131 migrants, stranded in the area, thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown.
Porapad is a small village in Trikaripur panchayat, in which a number of migrants from Bihar and Jharkhand. A report from The New Indian Express provides details.
Mounting Expenses, And High Risk
“When I heard of the lockdown, I did not think twice before taking over their responsibility.”Abdul Khader
An expat who worked as a telephone operator in Dubai, Abdul Khader has spent over Rs 80,000 across ten days on food for the stranded migrants. In addition to this, he has housed them in large, hall sized rooms. Televisions, fans, ten bathrooms were provided. Abdul Khader then hired plates and dinnerware to feed the stranded migrants.
Initially, chicken and beef were part of the menu. But as the curfew tightened, it is now a vegetarian affair with lentils, rice and soybeans.
Khader, who had employed a few of the migrant labourers in his field to farm vegetables, worked in Dubai as for Al Ain university for forty years. It was only four years ago that he retired and returned to his home village.
As for the expense and the risk of contracting the virus, Abdul Khader seems positive and determined.
“When I heard of the lockdown, I did not think twice before taking over their responsibility. What if the corona takes me tomorrow. The best thing money can do is the satiate the hunger of a person.”Abdul Khader
The migrants are thankful, and glad that Abdul has taken the bite off the lockdown, especially in the absence of any money or work. Nevertheless, it is hard to stave off melancholy when faced with more uncertainty. A migrant labourer Ganesh told New Indian Express that he was worried about how much longer this system could sustain him as he still has a “family to take care of back home.”