Everyday during her daily morning commute to work, cosmetologist Amulya Deeconda would observe groups of people waiting near the bus stop and green coloured plastic shelters in the vicinity of the Indo-Cancer hospital. It was a common sight which she saw daily until one fateful day.
“I found this man near my clinic who was clearly very weak and wasn’t even able to walk properly. I gave him some food and money and he went on his way, but the incident stayed with me and got me thinking of the people who spend hours or a full day in the sun without food. Most of them are poor people waiting near the hospital,” says Amulya who decided to start distributing food packets to the relatives of patients in government hospitals.
“I began by asking my circle of friends if they would like to contribute a small amount towards preparation of the food packets and many responded positively,” recalls Amulya who started the initiative Seeds of Hope in May 2015.
Helped by her friend, Navneet Gowrishetty who runs a digital advertising agency, she began to distribute over 150 food packets daily at different government hospitals such as Gandhi, Osmania, Niloufer. “Since full meals are not really practical, we give them lemon rice, pulihara and curd rice (in summers). The food packets are made by a caterer in Vikrampuri who was recommended by a friend. He takes care of sourcing the ingredients and delivers the packets by 12 – 12: 30 am everyday,” adds Amulya. With floating volunteers for every distribution drive, the exact number of volunteers varies. It is also dependant upon what kind of contributions they get. “We get Rs 2000 – Rs 2,500 in donations which is enough for making 150 packets,” says Amulya who distributed close to 1000 packets at the all the government hospitals in August during a larger drive.
Amulya and her friends have also adopted 35 families from the Kappaladoddi village near Vijaywada. “The village used to be a very big handloom centre once upon a time. Unfortunately, as the youngsters moved away to the big cities in search of work, work diminished here. We adopted families with old people and widows and gave them basic necessities such as rice, pulses etc,” adds Navneet. Eager to provide a platform to women from rural areas, the group of youngsters is now planning to come up with an e-commerce portal that will provide livelihood to the rural women. “The website is still in the works. It will sell products like murkulu, sakinalu, laddus, pickles etc as the women can make these at home and can look after the household at the same time,” shares Navneet.