Mohamad Farukh, majored in Engineering and pursued his Masters in International Development from the University of Manchester. After coming back to India, he felt a strong need for a citizen based and volunteer-based participation system of response in times of a natural catastrophe. With that thought in mind, he started Rapid Response, an Emergency and Relief Management Agency, along with some colleagues. It is an NGO based in Chennai and is dedicated purely to respond and provide relief during natural disasters. Rapid Response aims at dealing with the impact of natural disasters by providing food, medical, shelter, education and livelihood programs. They organize community programs in disaster-prone areas by imparting knowledge about safety measures and disaster preparedness. They also organise school safety programs and community management programs, especially in cyclone prone areas. In 2015, they worked for providing relief during the Chennai and Cuddalore floods and in the drought-hit areas of Maharashtra.
While working during the Jammu and Kashmir Floods in 2014, the team observed that the electrical grid was completely disrupted and temperatures often dipped below 2 degree Celsius. This added to the miseries of the victims, especially of the elderly, women and children who had no proper clothing or blankets to keep them warm during the night. They had to spend the nights sleeping on the streets and this motivated the NGO to start The Blanket Project. Under this initiative, they provided blankets to 500 people in Srinagar.
The Project went on to become India’s biggest blanket distribution drive and touched 3,600 lives in two years. Currently, they are operational in six cities, which are Srinagar, Guwahati, Lucknow, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore. These cities were chosen on the basis of Temperature Index and Need Assessment – cities with the harsh weather and the highest number of homeless. They have 40 to 50 national volunteers who are ready to help by providing supplies during any natural disaster anywhere in India.
Fully-dedicated to the job and the NGO, Mr. Farukh wants the project to expand to other cities as well, which would be only possible if more volunteers come forward. They have set an aim of distributing 10,000 blankets for the year of 2016-17 and gradually want to increase their outreach. People can support them by contributing at – https://milaap.org/fundraisers
And, this work of The Blanket Project will help thousands suffering from the curse of homelessness battle brutal wintery nights and will give them a new warmth and a hope to fight hard and live another day to thrive.
Contact The Blanket Project here.
This article was originally published in The Optimist Citizen – Issue 19 dated 16 FEB ’17. Get exclusive early access to the stories, SUBSCRIBE NOW.
DIKSHA KAKKAR & KRITIKA VIDYARTHI | TOC
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