Update (22-05-20): Alhumdulillah, my cousin was able to distribute ration among the following families as well:
Update (21-05-20): Alhumdulillah, another Rs 80,000 have been collected and transferred to my cousin’s account. InshaAllah this amount will be able to support 21 families (105 people) for 1 month, JazakAllah khair for your contributions.
Update (20-05-20): Message from my cousin: “We have covered around 600 families so far.”
Update (03-05-20): Message from my cousin: “We have covered another 100 families in the last few days.”
Update (02-05-20): Alhumdulillah, another Rs 412,000 have been collected and transferred to my cousin’s account. InshaAllah this amount will be able to support 111 families (555 people) for 1 month, JazakAllah khair for your contributions.
Update (18-04-20): Alhumdulillah, my cousin has been able to distribute ration to over 400 families. Now he has a list of another 300 families, waiting for the ration packs. We understand that with limited finances, we might not be able to provide ration to each and every family and if the lockdown continues for longer, the ration provided to 400 families previously, will also start ending from the start of the next month, but we want to continue our efforts, as much as we can. He has recently experienced some cases where women were waiting for 2 to 4 hours in the streets to find him, to get some ration, thus the situation is very plight.
We have also tried to receive ration for needy families on 4 locations in 3 cities through Gov’s Ehsaas Emergency Ration Program but no one has received any ration from the gov in the past 15 days.
Lists of Families
Update (14-04-20): Feedback from my cousin:
COVID-19 and The Past 15 Days!!
As I look back over the past fifteen days of life and the events associated with it, there is a lot to learn in light of my observations. Just 15 days ago I and the generation I represent wouldn’t have thought to see it all. We feel proud of the fact that we are the generation who went from using analog phones to the digital world, as well as observing capitalism prevail over socialism. And then for the first time in our life, we have heard words like epidemic and pandemic, and are now expressing it ourselves.
Three weeks ago, a lockdown was imposed in Pakistan because of COVID-19. It took the fallen world into its own hands and Pakistan could not escape it. History says that mankind gets a habit of learning through disasters, and sometimes not even after that.
Some of my childhood friends who are still connected thought of initiating and providing help mainly to some lower-middle-class families who are suffering from the current lockdown situation with all businesses are closed. The inspiration at that time was to maintain their dignity while distributing ration to them as well as giving any other help. I volunteered because I had some people in sight. Initially, we contributed funds and started with a target to distribute ration among 200 households, but from there, what I witnessed could shake one’s soul.
I met Yasmin, a widow with 2 children and who is also converted from Christianity to Islam (this wasn’t the reason for providing her ration, as we delivered it regardless of religion, cast or ethnicity). When I was there to deliver her ration, she requested me to give it to her niece instead, who has 6 children and the last meal they had was 24 hours ago. It was shocking for me and on my promise that I will go right away and deliver to her niece as well, she accepted it.
I met a grandmother who lives in a room with her 3 grandchildren. She must be 80-year-old and waits for neighbors to provide her left-over bread and curries so she can feed the kids. These kids don’t even know if they would even have their next meal.
I met Saim and Rubina, who have 2 years and 6-months old girls. When I spoke with Rubina, she asked me for milk for their infants instead of ration. They were left with milk for just 1 more day. Saim works 2 jobs a day both on daily wages and was out of work. I cannot forget the desperation she had in her voice.
Few years ago, I personally went through an experience as a helpless father and I cannot forget it and in the last few weeks, I felt that same feeling of helplessness in the eyes of many other fathers and saw how our lower middle class (Sufaid Posh) class got into that situation.
There is nothing worse than a father arriving with empty hands when he gets home, and a mother’s false promises to her kids, believe me.
Praise be to Allah, with the help of my many friends and relatives, we have provided ration to 400 families to their doorsteps with respect and dignity.
Respect and dignity!!
Why have we forgotten about these two words when we know that everyone has a born right to them? COVID-19 came and will go, but no one can bring back dignity once it is gone. And that has been our inspiration to maintain their dignity.
I also wonder if we could have used our mosques better at this time. Why would we have to go 15 kilometers to help the needy if the community can be served better by local community centers like our mosques? Where are our third and fourth layered political workers? Aren’t they supposed to know everyone in the neighborhoods?
I think of the many changes that the coronavirus has brought to our society. Maybe this world will never be the same place anymore. But this pandemic has brought us all together. Today we know that whether Pakistan or India, USA or China, Russia or Europe, all of our shortcomings are the same. Whether the GDP is higher or lower, if you are a nuclear state or not, or if you’re a rich or a poor country, we are all equal in this moment.
The last time this probably happened was after World War II. Maybe it is time for world leaders to start spending money on health, education and human development rather than weapons. But what difference will it make with me writing it all here?
Now in my opinion, we are still provided with some opportunities after all of this. As a nation, we have gotten to know ourselves a bit better. We have gotten to know that sitting home and spending time with family is actually not a bad thing. So, all you men don’t have to go out in the evening, at least not every day. We can also live without eating out for 3 weeks, as well as do our shopping during the daylight. With that, we can close businesses at 8 pm like the rest of the world and save so much on energy. It is, therefore, a good chance to make use of the current situation.
Come on, PM Sahib! Make some bold decisions! These traders can close their shops at 8pm and this nation will get up at 9am and do their shopping! After all, we are a poor country…
This is a very difficult time. And I am afraid it is just the beginning. Given the conditions I have seen on the ground, I can say with certainty that no state or government can do anything alone. And with a country like Pakistan, where there is no data available, we cannot leave it to the government and state alone. Our state institutions lack resources, information and even the stamina to deal with everything.
In the end, all depends on Allah, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t to do our bit too. Trust me when I say that any one of us could have been the recipients, rather than the providers.
Update (11-04-20): Alhumdulillah, Rs 515,550 have been collected and transferred to my cousin’s account. InshaAllah this amount will be able to support 139 families (695 people) for 1 month, JazakAllah khair for your contributions.
Update (08-04-20): Msg from my cousin, “In the morning we distributed 11 ration packs, now we are about to reach to distribute 13 more ration packs… Just finished last shift. 13 more ration packages delivered just now. Can’t explain reactions of people when they get it. You are all getting prayers.”
Update (07-04-20): Msg from my cousin, “Off to distribute to another 26 families and after that purchasing”
Update (04-04-20): Msg from my cousin, “Ration for another 56 families delivered today, thanks to family and friends for their constant support. This was the highest number delivered in 1 day as the effort is now more improvised.”
The following text was published on 5th April 2020:
My cousin is completely indulged in this distribution, from morning to evening, for the past 9 days, with the help and support of family members, relatives, friends and colleagues. He does the purchasing of groceries in bulk in the least possible rates and he is purchasing the flour from the flour mill directly, to get the best possible rates. Then the packing of the ration packs is being done at another cousin’s house, with the help of family members, helpers and colleagues. He does the verification and arrange lists of deserving families with addresses and phone numbers and then visit the houses of each family in his car, along with a colleague, to deliver the ration packs.
He is not distributing randomly on the streets or to professional beggars. His focus is on the lower middle class, who are not beggars and who were able to support their families financially by working as daily wagers but are no longer able to afford even food for their families, due to the lockdown. These families are ashamed of begging and thus it is very critical to deliver ration at their houses, to keep their dignity intact. After delivering the ration, he emphasizes on the families to stay at home and to keep their children at home.
He even came across a family of 2 adults and 6 children with the eldest child of 8 years, and they had not eaten anything for the past 24 hr. He also came across a 13 years old girl, living with her younger brother, younger orphan cousin and old grandmother.
One ration pack is good enough for 5 people for a month, it contains 13 items, including:
- Aata / Flour : 20kg
- Ghee : 5kg
- Lentils : 5kg (1kg of each type)
- Rice : 2kg
- Sugar : 2kg
- Milk : 27 packs (220ml each)
- Tea : 1/2 kg
- Haldi / Turmeric
The initial cost of this ration pack was Rs 4,100 but after some time and negotiations, he was able to get it reduced to Rs 3,700. He was also able to meet a flour mill owner to get Rs 70 discount on flour.
As of 4th April 2020, he has delivered ration packs of around Rs 700,000 to 181 families, which should be enough for 905 people for a month. These families were mainly located in Gawal Mandi, Dhoke Hassu, Jhangi Syedan, Bakra Mandi and Adaya Road, etc. He has shared his expereinces of ration distribution in the voice and video msgs below. He has a pending list of another 100+ deserving families, where ration is required and Zakat is applicable on almost all of these families.
Preparation of Ration Packs
Verification and Preparation of Deserving Families Lists
Distribution of Ration Packs
If you would like to donate any money then it will be transferred to my cousin’s bank account. Donations can be made through any of the following channels:
- In cash to me
- Via STC Pay (Instructions)
- In my KSA Bank Account
- In my Pakistani Bank Account
- Via PayPal – https://paypal.me/urShadow