The Robin Hood Army

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The Robin Hood Army

By Mari Marcel Thekaekara


The Robin Hood Army is in India and also Pakistan. by The Robin Hood Army (Facebook)

*Robin Hood is a hero from English legends – he took from rich people to give to poor people

It’s good to read about groups that really help – the only thing they want to do is feed people who are hungry or homeless writes Mari Marcel Thekaekara.

My grandparents and parents walked through parts of Burma to escape the Japanese army in the Second World War. So they told us lots of stories about not having food.

'We took gold and jewellery but we could not get rice to eat,' they said. So the rule was, 'take as much food as you can eat, but never waste even a very small bit of rice or bread. Remember, all over the world, people starve,' they told us.

Some years ago, I watched my niece Maya, born in the US, eat everything on her plate. A group of adivasi women were surprised and said, 'Look at that child, she doesn’t waste food.' I was very pleased that Maya, born in a rich country, followed what our grandparents taught us.

I first saw people putting good food in the bin when I started working as a flight attendant job at the age of 21. I was shocked! They threw away very good food every time the plane landed in Bombay. I went to some nuns I knew and asked if they could organize collecting the food for hungry people. They were very happy with the idea. I slept better that night.

I hate food waste. Today is the big harvest festival, Pongal in Tamil Nadu and in many parts of India. So I was very happy to find a campaign to give leftover food to people who need it. This is The Robin Hood Army (RHA). They want to become a movement in cities all over India and Pakistan. Now the RHA is in 18 cities eg. Delhi, Bangalore, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabd, Pune, Mumbai and Jaipur in India and Lahore and Karachi in Pakistan.

The group is young. They are professionals, friends and colleagues who wanted to do something to make a difference. They are very open. Their website says, 'On the first night RHA gave out food, it makes us feel good. But giving food to about 50 people a night, once a week is not going to make a real difference in a country where millions are starving. This is a serious problem – so we need to help more people, more restaurants and more cities. And the deadline is yesterday.'

They ask for volunteers, colleges and restaurants to join them and begin independent groups for local areas. It’s good to read about their progress. Neel Ghose and Anand Sinha started the Robin Hood Army in Delhi giving food to 150 homeless people. Almost a year and a half later, they are now in 18 cities. In August 2015, RHA ran a big project: Mission100k. Together with Zomato, Uber and Scoopwhoop, they got Indian and Pakistani students to work together to give food to 1 hundred thousand people on Independence Day.

The governments of India and Pakistan often take one step forward and two steps backwards. So it is great to see this Robin Hood Army with no political motivation. They only want to get food to poor people. RHA does not accept donations of money - only food and time of volunteers. Students who volunteer in projects like this change for life – they become a little more caring and sensitive.

There is a lot of bad news. But this is something positive. Lots of good things are happening. So many young people are looking for something to do to help – not only make money and get a good career. People can and will change the world.

NOW READ THE ORIGINAL: (This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed).