When Kerala faced yet another flood in 2019 after 2018’s flood, the students in and around Thamarassery began collecting basic essential items for the people affected. They collected from their friends and families and gathered them in a collection point from where these students had thoughts of coming and working together as a team. These dedicated and very efficient students put and came forward with various ideas and tactics in order to overcome the difficulties faced by the floods. The regional locals were of great help and support for them. Here is when this beautiful unity began.
“The Nameless Community” is an organization built and kept together by these bright students. This community was registered as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) headed in Thamarassery and also in Delhi. About 100 and more Volunteers were recruited and trained through a Social Volunteer Drive. As a student-led NGO, the students often used social media platforms to find solutions to some of the social issues such as educational needs, sustainable development and environmental issues. The Blanket Challenge and the Mission Home Land are the two famous works done by this group of people.
The Blanket Challenge, project put forward by this community aims in distributing blankets to the needful homeless people in and around the Northern Parts of India during the harsh cold winter season. Behind all the beautiful snow-capped mountains and foggy cities, the students provide blankets to the ones dying for a warm wind. It has become a trend for people in social media to romanticize travelling during the cold seasons never mentioning how privileged each one of us are. The people living in the streets only earn a little which is not even sufficient for their daily meals. For them, blankets to keep them warm is a far away dream. The idea of this challenge emerged suddenly, during one of the winter seasons, when watching people suffer in the streets of Delhi, mostly migrating for work. The challenge has successfully completed its 3rd consecutive year by 2021.
The community raised its fund through different modes, from crowdfunding to asking help from different organizations. Volunteers from Kerala and Delhi were the steering gear to this project. They were all ready and were so active that they went to the public in different parts of kerala as well as delhi to crowdfund. It was never an easy task, as many of the people in the public still had doubts if blankets were a real basic need for an individual. The volunteers talked to each of them and explained to them how important it is for a person living in the northern parts of India and also of this challenge. In 2019, the community successfully distributed 500+ blankets mainly in Rajasthan, Haryana and some parts of Delhi. In 2020, the community was able to raise funds for 1000+ blankets which were distributed mainly in the streets of Delhi, and some parts of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. This year, the community distributed 1300+ blankets at villages in Haryana and Rajasthan and also in parts of Delhi. This year the community also collaborated with artists and other NGOs and was able to distribute 500+ sleeping bags to the people suffering from cold in Delhi.
The chief co-ordinator and co-founder of the community, Mubarak Moosa shares his experience with us. He tells us, “During the second Blanket Challenge, an event occurred that I can never forget during my lifetime while in distribution at Kashmere Gate in Delhi. The time was 1.00am, and we could see many people sleeping on paper and rugs under the main bridge. We started covering them with the blankets we brought from one side, but then happened to notice that one of them wasn’t reacting to us when we covered him. We tried to wake him up but there was no response from his side. We noticed that he was sleeping on the floor which was freezing, and there was also some untouched food by his side which was left for him by someone. But then we realized it was too late. He died freezing while sleeping on the floor. The only thing we had in our minds was that, if we could have come a little earlier, maybe we could have helped him, we could have seen him alive. The police who came in after, just grazed him and took some basic details from people beside him. The police informed us another disappointing news that, every year, in and around their area, more than 20 people die of cold, during this season. It was even harder to digest the fact that there are so many police stations in Delhi, and we could never take the correct number of people dying of cold here. It’s true that Delhi has a cold maximum of 3 to 4 degrees, but the thing is that this cold and pollution mix together, which makes us feel that these colds get into our nerves if we don’t dress properly with sweaters. We never can imagine the pain these people suffer from this cold.”
One of the legal advisors of the community, Abreedha, also shares her experience, “During the second distribution of Blanket Challenge 3.0, there was an incident that influenced me in a great way. It was late at night, and most of them were asleep, thus many of them didn’t know that they were being covered with blankets. Some of them waked due to the murmurs of the volunteers. The people woke up smiling after watching these thick blankets around them. Some of them held these blankets more closely and thanked us for it. Thus, we came to an elderly mother who was trying hard to sleep because of the cold. I took one of the blankets and covered her so that she could sleep peacefully. When I got up, she held my hand, and asked me to sit. She took her hand and kept on my head. She told me ‘Thank you so much dear, God is always with you’. She told this to me with her teary eyes. She holded my hands so tight with so much love. Honestly, I can never express the amount of happiness I felt at that time. Even after so many days that night, when I remember those days, I remember that mother, I remember her blessings. I feel rich, rich with blessings. Blanket Challenge is not just a mission for any of us. These are our duties. These are real moments when we felt alive.”
The Project was a success for 3 consecutive years, and year by year the support for the challenge is growing. The volunteers are so determined that no matter what comes in front of them, they welcome them heartily and work together. The community can be an inspiration to many other youth organizations to work resource mobilization for the needy people.