Monday 27 April 2020 2:43 AM UTC
By A Staff Reporter
LONDON April 27: Here is another example to highlight the plight of Indian students stranded in the UK due to the Coronavirus lockdown. Manjeet Singh and his wife, living in East Ham, decides to go out for a drive in East Ham to get some food after a prolonged period of lockdown.
On arriving in East Ham, near to the Mahalaxmi Temple, he gets out of his car to a local takeaway shop to buy some food. He sees a long queue of youngsters lining up and leading to a shop.
He inquisitively goes to shop and checks out and see youngsters coming out with a bag kit of food. He stops one of the youngster to show him what is being distributed. The youngster shows him the bag which had some rice, some grocery items and some fruit drinks.
Manjeet asks him further questions and its revealed that these youngsters are queuing up to get some food. Manjeet couldn’t work out why they were in that situation, he couldn’t grasp the fact that we had such a situation where people are without food as their income and support had all but dried up.
The humanity in him awoke and he immediately asks to see one of the organisers, who was helping in distributing the food bags.
He comes to know that its done by the Malayalee Association of the UK (MAUK). He asks to speak to an official from the organisation.
Sreejith Sreedharan, chairperson of MAUK arrives to meet him in person. Sreejith explains the activities of MAUK to Manjeet. Impressed with the activities Manjeet decides to give him whatever he had with him.
He gave Sreejith £100 he had on him and two 10 kg bags of rice immediately from his car.
On his way back home Manjeet realises that what he has offered to MAUK is very paltry compared to the scale of work they have undertaken, so he decides to up the game and donate a lot more, Manjeet could not bear those students queing up for food and the looks on their faces had a thousand stories to tell.
These are children who are away from their parents and alone and he couldn’t help feeling their plight and hunger.
Next day he sends a text message to Sreejith asking him to come and collect £900 more from him and to round up his contribution to £1,000. to help alleviate hunger these students were facing, with no other means to seek help other then to turn to MAUK.
Malayalees in Kerala too have enjoyed the love and care from the Sikh community and Khalsa Aid as at the time of the severe floods last year. The Sikh community members had then arrived in Kerala to serve hot meals to those who have been affected and become homeless due to the floods.
Today, Keralites in the UK too were able to feel the generosity of this kind Sikh man through the donation made to a good cause. Manjeet is hoping to raise more money to donate to MAUK to continue to help feed the hungry students, during this lockdown.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, MAUK have suspended all their regular activities and are focussing on serving those struggling severely during this Pandemic.
Since 12 March MAUK volunteers have been checking in on around 83 of MAUK Elders Service users via phone calls regularly.
MAUK have been doing weekly shopping for a minimum of 15 self-isolating elders and vulnerable members of the local community. MAUK have also been delivering free essential food kit worth £20 to an average of 6 households each week.
MAUK has also teamed up with Loka Kerala Sabha and other prominent organisations to provide nationwide support including food, advice and reassurance to international students and undocumented migrants who have been severely affected by Crisis but have nowhere to turn to.
On top of all this, MAUK have been running free food distribution from Thattukada in East Ham at least two days a week. The demand for this service has surged as the crisis deepens. Currently, on average, 160 people make use of this essential service to meet their basic needs. So far, MAUK have distributed over 1450 food packets through this service.
As of 20th April MAUK has served 164 food kit essential non-perishable items, including rice, lentils etc. Although the majority of the recipients are Malayalee students and undocumented migrants, MAUK are witnessing an increasing number of students from other parts of the sub-continent make use of this service.
There are also members of the local Eastern European community who are making use of the Free Food Distribution service.
On Friday 24 April, the first day of Ramadan fasting, MAUK were blessed to have been able to serve 360 members of the local community with Iftar Kit containing chicken or vegetable biriyani, fruits and drink.
MAUK has thanked Francis Mathews and his team at Law and Lawyers Solicitors for their generous sponsorship. MAUK has also extended their sincere thanks to Biju and Preethi of Thattukada Restaurant, M.I. Taslivala (Chef) and Lathif Babu (MAUK volunteer) for enabling them to provide this excellent service during this desperate times.
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