I am Sakshi Guha, a 34-year-old from Bengali Love Cafe. I am from the small town of Muzaffarnagar and belong to a middle-class family.
Bengali Love cafe is a women-run organisation under which I hire people to help uneducated homemakers and train them how to survive, earn and grow together. Starting a business with no seed money or help from anyone and scaling it to the level at which it operates today within a year is commendable.
Our journey is interesting and motivating as we started with zero investment. I had lost my job and didn’t have any financial support. I lost vision in one of my eyes in childhood, nevertheless, I never lost any hope. But when I lost my hope at the beginning of the pandemic, that was a life-changing event. That was the time I decided to do something not only for myself and my family but for society and our country too.
We realised the importance of food and job as we lost both during the pandemic. Hence, we started our journey by distributing leaflets in and around our locality with the hope of getting customers for a tiffin service run by a woman. We used to take that money for those who can afford it to those who couldn’t and provided free meals to them. We serve over 200 meals a day across Gurgaon.
As per a recent update, about 194 million people in India today do not have enough food to eat, the largest in any country in the world. According to the Global Hunger Index 2020, India falls under the ‘serious’ hunger category with a rank of 94 among 107 countries.
These statistics, however, do not take into account the impact of Covid-19. The resultant migration, unemployment and loss of earning members of households have pushed millions of Indians into extreme poverty and hunger. We set up the Bengali Love Café Foundation to help people in need by providing them with free meals and fruits. We serve meals to people in isolation, family members of Covid patients, students living in PGs, youth workers, corporate employees and senior citizens.
We are also helping other women by training them and helping them to grow together. We grow vegetables at our own house and are fresh and chemical-free. All masala used for cooking is also homemade by our women team members to maintain hygiene, quality and cost-effectiveness of food.
We promote a zero food wastage policy and always promote donating the extra food left to the needy. We believe that if each one of us takes an initiative to help at least one needy person with food, then one day, the entire people of our country will be free from hungry and able to live happily.
We promote Feed India, a meal campaign under the Bengali Love Cafe Foundation. We are glad to share that we have been able to help more than 30,000-40,000 people across India so far. People from different cities are joining our camping through social media channels and promoting the same.