This August, FUCHSIA brings to you the inspiring story of an Indian boy and a Pakistani girl who went to college together in London, one that proves love knows no boundaries, and tender hearts beat on both sides of the border; that genuine desire and passion prevails amongst those in both nations.
Wait … before you let your imagination run down the Veer-Zara track, let me warn you this is not a romance love story; rather, it is the story of a greater love for humanity. The desire and passion mentioned above are for to make a difference to society at large. This is the story of the Robin Hood Army (RHA).
RHA was founded by Neel Ghouse (the Indian boy) on 17 August 2014 in Delhi, with a concept rather novel and befitting to this part of the world. Its Pakistani chapter was later launched in Karachi by Sarah (the Pakistani girl), Neel’s good friend from college, and her husband Sarfaraz. The motto, “Feed the less privileged/hungry and curb food wastage” addresses two issues which are rampant in both India and Pakistan. RHA does this by procuring surplus leftover food from restaurants, packing it and distribute it to those who need it.
FUCHSIA had the privilege to speak to both Neel and Sarah, to better understand this noble cause. In this Independence issue, we share with you how their joint effort across borders has helped RHA made outstanding progress. Join us in celebrating the very first anniversary of RHA.
FUCHSIA: Where did the idea of re-allocation of food come from?
FUCHSIA: Why the name Robin Hood Army (RHA)?
FUCHSIA: Tell us about the early days of RHA.
FUCHSIA: So how did you go about expanding?
RHA Volunteers Mumbai
RHA Volunteers Delhi
RHA Volunteers Bangalore
RHA Volunteers Karachi
FUCHSIA: How did RHA arrive in Pakistan?
FUCHSIA: How has it been received in Karachi?
FUCHSIA: So what are the logistics involved on a typical distribution day?
RHA Team Karachi
FUCHSIA: Would you share some special moments from the drives?
FUCHSIA: What is the way forward for RHA?
It is admirable how these two young people from India and Pakistan took on this responsibility of killing 2 birds with 1 stone. We have examples in nature like osmosis and air-pressure differences, where supply flows from where it is in abundance to where it is scarce. The RHA is doing exactly that. And in doing so, it is mitigating both food wastage and hunger. It is commendable how they have worked out a replicable hyper-local model where each chapter runs on its own, but with seamless coordination. Every week they pool in all their learnings, results, picture stories etc. from the week’s drive into one central database, from where volunteers dispatch news on social media and other platforms.
As they celebrate their first anniversary this August, FUCHSIA wishes them many more to come. We hope they grow by leaps and bounds, and their mission becomes so widespread in the near future, that it influences not just community-level but also national-level agenda.
Aghna Javed is a proud product of a simple gadget-free bachpan, mum’s food, places she travelled to, the three boys in her life (yes, counting her hubby in too), books she has read, and everything else that life throws at her. Previously having worked at P&G, she is now a budding entrepreneur bringing interactive marketing campaigns to life in Singapore. Amongst her many aspirations in life, Aghna indulges in her childhood hobby of writing through FUCHSIA, volunteers with Singapore Red Cross, and simultaneously works on improving her Mandarin-speaking skills. Read more about Aghna in contributing writers.