Wednesday October 18, 2017

Robin Hood Army: Two friends from India and Pakistan fight to defeat Hunger

The project now comprises 400 volunteers who wear green and go out into the streets of around 11 cities distributing food to 2,500 to 3,000 poor and homeless people every night

1
293
Flags of India and Pakistan Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
  • One-third of the world’s annual food production for human consumption is 1.3bn tonnes, that goes to waste.
  • The objective of RHA is to redistribute surplus food from restaurants and eateries and create self-sustaining societies
  • RHA started in India with endeavors of Neel Ghose who had launched an initiative to feed 150 homeless people of New Delhi in 2014

KARACHI: Two brothers from either side of the border of nations- India and Pakistan, which are in highly unveiled conflict since 1947, consolidated to raise the morale of the countries and fight the common enemy- hunger.

It started in India with endeavors of Neel Ghose who had launched an initiative to feed 150 homeless people of New Delhi in 2014. A few months later, started a new chapter of Robin Hood Army (RHA) in Pakistan when Ghose shared this idea with Sarah Afridi.

RHA ISLAMBAD Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Robin Hood Army in Islamabad. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

According to a study conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization, one-third of the world’s annual food production for human consumption is 1.3bn tonnes, that goes to waste. If efficiently managed, this could feed one in nine of the 7.3 billion people around the world, who go to bed hungry every night, said the Al Jazeera report.

In India, this project now comprises 400 volunteers who wear green and go out into the streets of around 11 cities distributing food to 2,500 to 3,000 poor and homeless people every night.

Follow NewsGram on Twitter: @NewsGram1

The objective is to redistribute surplus food from restaurants and eateries and create self-sustaining societies by distributing surplus food to the lesser-privileged members of society. Some do it for religious cause and some for humanity but this initiative would probably also work in facets other than malnutrition.

RHA-Lahore Launch Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
RHA-Lahore Launch. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Youth groups in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad come out each Sunday and take responsibility on their shoulders to collect surplus produce from food outlets so that they can feed a few hundreds of households in Pakistan.

Follow NewsGram on Facebook: NewsGram2

The Express Tribune report said, the Robin Hood Army had its first distribution on February 15 – the day Pakistan and India had their opening World Cup match, reminding people of the need to bridge the differences of the two countries.

But who are the people donating for the cause? Sadly, no one but the members of the team are themselves funding the distributions out of their own pocket. However, their aim is to get restaurants on board to donate their surplus food.

The slogan Robin Hood Army said, “We might be on different teams but we are batting for the same side.”

According to aljazeera.com, the Robin Hood Army is present in 23 cities across five countries – Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia – with more than 3,000 Robins having served nearly 500,000 people.

-prepared by Pashchiema, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @pashchiema

ALSO READ: 

 

Next Story

UN Report on Rohingya Hunger Crisis Suspended on Order of Myanmar Government

The current crisis began on August 25 when Rohingya insurgents attacked police checkpoints on Myanmar's Rakhine state and killed 12 security personnel.

0
0
Rohingya
Rohingya refugees collect aid supplies including food and medicine, sent from Malaysia, at Kutupalang Unregistered Refugee Camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Feb. 15, 2017, VOA

United Nations, October 17, 2017: The UN food aid agency withdrew a critical report revealing desperate hunger among the Rohingya Muslim minority after the Myanmar government ordered it to be taken down, the media reported on Tuesday.

The July assessment by the World Food Programme (WFP) warned that more than 80,000 children under the age of five were “wasting” – a potentially fatal condition of rapid weight loss, reports the Guardian.

The six-page document has since been replaced with a statement saying Myanmar and WFP were “collaborating on a revised version”.

That process would involve “representatives from various ministries, and will respond to the need for a common approach” that was in line with “WFP’s future cooperation with the government”.

When asked why the July report was removed, the WFP said it was withdrawn from the website “following a request by the government to conduct a joint review”, the Guardian reported.

In a statement, the agency said: “The WFP stands by its original assessment, which was conducted jointly with local authorities in Rakhine state… However WFP recognises that in a dynamic and evolving situation, it is important to coordinate closely with all partners, including the government.”

Meanwhile, the UN’s most senior official in the country is scheduled to leave at the end of the month amid allegations she suppressed another report and also attempted to shut down public advocacy on Rohingya suffering.

The current crisis began on August 25 when Rohingya insurgents attacked police checkpoints on Myanmar’s Rakhine state and killed 12 security personnel.

It resulted in over half a million Rohingya fleeing to neighboring Bangladesh, many alleging that the Myanmar Army conducted a counter-offensive that included mass killings and rapes.(IANS)

Next Story

Pakistan Elected to UN Human Rights Council along with 14 other countries

The new members will serve a three-year term from January 1, 2018

0
0
un human rights council
UN General Assembly elect 15 new members of Human Rights Council. Wikimedia

United Nations, October 17, 2017 : Fifteen countries, including Pakistan, have been elected to the UN Human Rights Council by the UN General Assembly.

In a vote on Monday, Afghanistan, Angola, Australia, Chile, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain and Ukraine were elected, a Foreign Office statement said.

They will serve a three-year term from January 1, 2018. (IANS)

 

Next Story

Pakistan Electoral Body Bars Political Party Due to Terror Ties

0
8
Sheikh Yaqub
Sheikh Yaqub (C) candidate of the newly-formed Milli Muslim League party, waves to his supporters at an election rally in Lahore, Pakistan. voa

Pakistan’s Election Commission (ECP) on Wednesday rejected the registration application of a newly established political party with alleged ties to a banned militant group in the country.

Milli Muslim League (MML) has been disqualified to participate in the country’s state and general elections.

The electoral commission’s decision is said to be based on a request made earlier by the country’s Ministry of Interior Affairs, stating that Milli Muslim League is a front organization for Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a U.S.-designated terror sponsoring organization in Pakistan.

“The government is vigilant and under no circumstances will allow any political party with a proven record of promoting violence and terrorism to spread their extremist ideology through democracy and political means,” Tallal Chaudhry, Pakistan’s minister of state for Interior Affairs, told VOA.

Saif Ullah Khalid, president of Milli Muslim League, dismissed the election commission’s decision and said the party will take the matter to the country’s judiciary.

Political wing

Milli Muslim League was established in August 2017 as a political wing for the controversial Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), which is believed to be a front organization for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror group led by Hafiz Saeed.

Saeed was accused of masterminding Mumbai’s 2008 terror attacks that killed 166 people, including six Americans.

The U.S. government has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to his arrest. Saeed has been reportedly under house arrest in the eastern city of Lahore for the past eight months.

In September, during an important by-election in Lahore, when the National Assembly’s seat fell vacant following the disqualification of then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the newly launched MML backed an independent candidate who finished fourth in the race for Sharif’s seat.

At the time, Pakistan’s upper house of parliament strongly criticized the country’s election commission for allowing JuD’s political wing, MML, to participate in the Lahore by-election.

Some experts were concerned about the emergence of militant groups joining mainstream politics in Pakistan. They maintain that the political trend seen in Lahore’s by-election, where parties linked to militant groups are able to mobilize and generate sufficient numbers of votes within a very short period of time, as alarming.

“There should be a debate on this sensitive issue through social, political and media channels. By allowing militant-based political parties to integrate into mainstream politics, it will only escalate radicalization in the society,” Khadim Hussain, a Peshawar based political analyst, told VOA.

“There are people who believe with the merger of such militant groups into politics, we’ll provide them an avenue to maintain a political presence without leaving their extreme ideologies,” Hussain added.

Army’s support

Earlier last week, Pakistan’s army acknowledged they are mulling over plans to blend the militant-linked political groups into the mainstream political arena.

Some analysts side with MML, arguing the party should be allowed to participate in elections.

“I do not understand in what capacity the election commission has rejected MML’s application to register as a party,” said Ahmad Bilal Mehboob, the head of Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT).

“Did they (MML) break any law? If not, how can you bar MML from entering the mainstream politics when they’re doing it through legitimate ways,” Mehboob emphasized.

Zubair Iqbal, a Washington-based South Asia expert, also raised concerns over the validity of the decision.

“This is how democracy works. … There are some extreme groups, some moderate groups and no one should be stopped because of their extreme ideologies,” Iqbal told VOA. “The extremist groups can be barred from entering into the politics only through people and democracy.”

“Unless these parties and individuals are allowed to participate in the political system they might never change their extreme ideologies and might continue operating underground which will prove to be more dangerous,” Iqbal added.

International pressure

In the past few years, Pakistan has faced escalating pressure from the international community for not being able to crackdown on militant groups enjoying safe havens in Pakistan and launching attacks in neighboring countries.

In his recent speech on the region, U.S President Trump put Pakistan on notice to take actions against safe havens in Pakistan. Pakistani officials deny the existence of safe havens on its soil.

Pakistan is also accused of being selective in its pursuit of terror groups. It allegedly goes after only those groups that pose a threat to the country’s national security, ignoring others that threat India and Afghanistan.

Pakistan rejects the allegations and reiterates its stance of having no sympathy for any terror group operating in the country.(VOA)