Birgunj’s food bank by Madhuri Mahato

BIRGUNJ’S FOOD BANK: Rajesh Man Singh, 46, is a Birgunj-based businessman and a social worker. Whenever a disaster strikes, he gets busy providing relief to the people. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, he understood that the daily wage earners, the homeless and the poor would be hit hard. “One day, not long after the first phase of lockdown started, I saw people pulling food out of the garbage, and I could not take it anymore,” Singh says, “I decided I needed to do something so that no one I know would have to go hungry.” He got two of his friends, collected funds, and now feeds 400 people in Birgunj every day.

Munna Kumar, 45, of Sarlahi is a rickshaw driver but has been without business and income during the lockdown. “I have tried to take my rickshaw out,” says Kumar, “The army patrols the streets and I was beaten by the police, so I have made no income during the pandemic.” He comes to Singh, where he gets at least one warm meal every day where Kumar gets warm lentils, rice, vegetables and soybean, “This meal gets me through the entire day,” says Kumar. Sixty-five-year-old Uma Devi has also been visiting the food bank, “Everyone who comes here gets food, no one is turned away,” says Devi.

Singh says they try to reach where the government can’t and he believes in helping his fellow friends and neighbours. “‘Live through the pandemic, feed the hungry and poor’, is our slogan,” says Singh and says he is committed to feeding those in need as long as it takes.

Text and Photos: Madhuri Mahato @mmhisimmy

Copy Edit: Nisha Rai @nishastoryteller

Edit: Mallika Aryal @mikaness

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