Maitreya Blanket Project 2014: Days 3 and 4

Volunteer Diary, Blanket Project: January 6, 2015

On the last two nights around midnight, we were able to distribute blankets to some really needy segments. I am detailing the same below :

1. Blankets Distribution in the Slums of Kushinagar

In front of the Railway station in most small towns are always some slums. This is where homeless people live who make temporary shacks with whatever material is available and cover them with pieces of plastic sheets etc. We went there the night before last and distributed blankets. First are the photographs of the slums followed by photos of the people who received the blankets. There were several people living in each shack but due to our supply of blankets getting low we could give only one per family. Anyway we were happy as these were really needy people.

2. The lady who broke down:

This is one old lady beggar who is invalid and moves on a tricycle which she probably received from some Government scheme for such people. I gave her one blanket and she burst out crying probably from happiness or because she rarely receives kindness. You can see her tears in the second photo.

3. A Ward for patients with leprosy:

There is one ward for patients with leprosy in the Government hospital. These patients are mostly abandoned persons brought in from the streets. We wanted to distribute blankets to them in the ward. I was behind the camera taking photos and none of the persons wanted to go into the ward to hand out these blankets to the patients of leprosy due to the pitiable site, stench, and fear of infection from coming into contact with the patients .

One of the hospital sisters was there with her daughter who came forward to help. This little girl went from bed to bed and covered the patients with blankets. I salute her for this. In the photos there are also shots of the patients.

These were all blankets that were left over from the Kushinagar villages distribution. We are almost out of stock. There are just 30 or 35 blankets left. This lot will probably go to one small orphanage in Khakilabad which we intend to visit today.

This week has been an eventful one . We all got sick with cold and coughs as we were out on the streets most nights till 1 to 1.30 in the night. The cold was severe with the night temperature down to 4 to 5 degrees. Most of the time has been spent outdoors. However we enjoyed every moment. It was a happy feeling to come back to our heated homes and warm rooms knowing that with a little work from our side several people would sleep comfortably.

Atul Chopra, Legal Counsel and Volunteer, Maitreya Project Trust – Kushinagar