Founded by Chinu Kwatra, Roti Ghar is a project taken by Khushiyaan Foundation aiming to tackle malnutrition among children.
They form a queue waiting for their turn to reach the small tables from where the food is served. And, as these kids reach near the table, their sparkling eyes desire to overlook other kids before them to have a glance at the food distributed by ‘Roti Ghar, an initiative by Khushiyaan Foundation.
Roti Ghar, along with team Ananta and other partners, provides cooked food to nearly 1,800 kids every day, with an aim to eradicate malnourishment. Started by the Thane-based NGO, Khushiyaan foundation, the initiative works for the underprivileged children of Mumbai, Thane, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Delhi, and Odhisha.”Only when their stomach will be full, their minds will run,” Chinu Kwatra, the founder of the NGO talks about the need to start the initiative.
However, before bringing smiles to these children, the 31-year-old, who belongs to Thane, had to go through various challenges in his own life. He was in depression in 2014 after encountering a severe accident and losing his friend. But one day, he happened to visit a Municipal school where 130 kids were studying and helped them with art, dance, and other activities. “This was the first time I felt positive. I also posted a few pictures on Instagram and received good responses from people,” he says.
The incident marked the inception of his social works. After that, he started visiting schools to help children with their extracurricular activities. “In Punjabi, we call food, ‘Roti’ and ‘Ghar’ signifies love and affection. So, I started ‘Roti Ghar’ to provide food to the helpless, especially, children, who are the future of the country.”, he says about the initiative that started in 2017 from Thane.
Within one year, Mr. Kwatra was able to feed 100 kids in a day. However, it was only after the sponsorships and donations that in 2018, he was able to feed 1000 kids per day! Since then, help started pouring in, making Mr. Kwatra get the initiative registered under the Khushiyaan foundation in the same year.
Since then, the number of children increased and the initiative spread to other cities as the team Ananta, Child Help Foundation and other partners joined hands. The beneficiaries also included people other than kids from underprivileged backgrounds.
All for good
Apart from that, Khushiyaan also worked for other causes through various initiatives. Project Pathshala was started in 2016 to contribute to the development of children. The team worked to clean Mumbai beaches in the same year and also worked for the ‘Nari Shakti’ initiative, which commenced in 2017 to break the stereotypes related to menstruation by holding open discussions about the topic under the vertical, ‘MARD- Menstruation A Right to Discuss’. “I believe that men are the ones who have been the taboo creators when it comes to menstruation and we need to spread awareness among them.”, Mr. Kwatra says.
The team consists of nearly 1,000 volunteers with 12 core teammates and 10 people at the back end, and they are still working on the above-mentioned projects. They have been manufacturing and distributing more than 5,000 eco-friendly pads to women across Mumbai. On the other hand, the team also started welfare centers for stray dogs and pet animals in Navi Mumbai. They even have opened an old-age home in Thane. “We adopt schools to provide the children with the uniforms and stationery,” Mr. Kwatra says adding that the team has started mobile schools for the slum kids.
While the group was also active during the second wave of Coronavirus in providing food, ration, and oxygen supplies to the people, it did not let ‘Roti Ghar’ operations come to a halt. Mr. Kwatra kept on visiting various places with his team members as he says, “If you want to bring the change, you have to be the change”.