We are pleased to report that the First Phase of Maitreya Project Trust Blanket Distribution Project was successfully completed on the 27th of December 2014. With deep thanks to everyone who supported the appeal, it was possible to purchase an initial quantity of 1,200 high quality thick woolen blankets from Khetriya Shree Gandhi Asharam at a highly preferential rate. The huge volume of blankets was delivered to Maitreya Project land in Kushinagar.
The next few weeks will see the most bitterly cold days of the year in Northern India. Temperatures drop to freezing and many people live literally on the streets, or in homes little more than shelters, without power, heat, insulation, and with only the thin clothes they wear in the hot remainder of the year.
The goal of this year’s Blanket Distribution Project has been to work with local authorities to identify the poorest and most at risk, and offer to each a blanket as a gift from Maitreya Project Trust.
Distribution of items of such relatively high value has to be done carefully to ensure the right people receive and that distribution is done in an orderly manner. To do so it was essential to enlist the help of the Kushinagar District Magistrate and his team of local officials and police.
In the days preceding the distribution, tokens were distributed to recipients in villages close to Maitreya Project land. On Saturday, 27th December a tent was erected on the land, and with the help of Project volunteers and the local administration, lines were formed and approximately 1,100 blankets were distributed throughout the day. It was intensely cold and foggy and bonfires were lit around which people could keep warm while they waited.
At night time from about 11 pm onwards, our volunteers went through the streets of Kushinagar and distributed more blankets to people sleeping on the street in doorways, and to rickshaw pullers who have to sleep by rickshaws to prevent them being stolen. Many rickshaw pullers come from the 3 surrounding villages in order to support their families. They bring no possessions with them as they have no city home, shelter, or place to store them. They literally sleep on the street. Some people woke up and thanked the volunteer – others remained asleep and hopefully will wake up warm.
Project volunteers also visited a local hospital where it is the responsibility of family or relatives to provide for the patient in care. Many are desperately poor and have no blankets or bedding. Relatives sleep by a patient’s bed on the floor or on the floor in corridors. Those without means were offered a blanket including a child with severe burns. MPT plans to distribute an additional 1,200 blankets over the next week. The goal remains to distribute a total of 3,500 blankets by the first half of January.
Thank you all again so much for the generosity that has made this blanket distribution possible.
Notes from the Field
Read more about this project and view photos by clicking on the links below.