The Sikh community has always been traditionally synonymous with benevolence, largely due to their constant efforts in the form of Langar or free food for all. But their recent efforts in Syria have given, altogether, a new dimension to their magnanimity.
Syria, which has been diseased by incessant violence and war for the past couple of years, recently saw a ray of hope in the efforts of these turban clad angles. The Sikh international humanitarian aid organisation called Khalsa Aid has launched a project, called Langar Aid, which focuses on fighting hunger worldwide by providing food needed to the victims of natural disasters, wars and civil conflicts. Presently, the initiative has set up base as a bakery in the Pesh Harbour area around 35km from the Kurdish city of Duhok and 10kms from the Syrian border which currently feeds 14000 people a day. This bakery has been providing free bread and water to those fleeing the conflict from a base in Northern Iraq since the start of this year.
The idea took shape when the some volunteers found out that fighters from Islamic State (IS), also known as ISIS or ISIL, were destroying food coming in for the Yazidi refugees. Serving beyond religious and ethnic barriers, the food is kept vegetarian so that no religious group is offended and everyone in the Langar eats together.
The volunteers had to modify the concept of a traditional Langar and focus solely as a bakery due to the small quantities of food that can make it through to the Kurdish region. Recently, more support has been pouring from in and around Europe which has helped Khalsa Aid to broaden its scope of charity and is soon planning to open another bakery, even closer to the Syrian border in the coming months.
As every cloud has a silver lining, the Langar Aid is proving to be that silver lining for thousands of refugees every day. Such gestures and such people deserve all our appreciation for restoring our faith in humanity at a time when it seems the bleakest.
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