By Adeel Saeed
PESHAWAR, Jun 14 (APP):Realizing increasing difficulties and hardships of poor strata in the wake of prevailing economic slump caused by coronavirus pandemic, a group of Peshawar dwellers have decided to replicate the idea of `Goodness Baskets’ for the help of needy people.
The idea of keeping `Goodness Baskets’ at bread bakers shops for help of needy people was initiated in Turkey and received appreciation globally after becoming viral on social media. In the city area, a number of bread bakers have placed these Goodness Baskets at their shops close to a printed colorful poster highlighting the importance of help of needy people in our religion. The poster also explains that in Turkey during the period of Ottoman Empire, people used to place such baskets so that people could put some extra bread in it for the consumption of needy and poor people.
Pakistan Hindkowan Tehrik, a platform of Hindko speaking people of Peshawar, being patronized by a local businessman, Atif Haleem, has taken the initiative of keeping Goodness Baskets at the shops of bread bakers.“The idea of keeping these baskets came to my mind while observing an increase in hardships of already economically pressed
poor people of the city,” said Atif Haleem.
Talking to APP, Atif said ,”Initially Pakistan Hindkowan Tehrik has placed these baskets in around 20 shops in the interior city for the help of people and we are increasing these by taking the owners of the shops in confidence.” “Customers coming to the shops keep some extra bread or money in the basket which the shopkeepers collect and when a needy comes, he gives him freshly baked bread as per his demands,” Atif explains.
He said the organization was expanding its work on a daily basis by taking bread bakers into confidence and also by spreading the network of Goodness baskets to the Sadar area of Nothia. Atif said people wanted to help poor whenever they got a platform for it and the idea of the Goodness basket was right step in that direction. Muhammad Imran, a bread baker in Hastnagri area of Peshawar city told this scribe that he was happy over cooperating with Pakistan Hindkowan Tehrik in the noble cause.
“Representatives of the organization came and talked with me about the charity initiative and I forthwith expressed my consent for becoming a part of it,” Imran remarked. He said, “Everyone wants to do good work and this apparently looking petty donation is helping a lot of needy people on a daily basis.” “Around 20 to 30 needy people come to my shop for the collection of bread kept in the basket,” Imran added.
He said initially it was a new initiative and people were getting awareness about it as a result of which both the donation and bread collection was increasing with each passing day. Imran also informed that a number of customers have said that people in the nearby locality also wanted launching of this helping programme and soon the basket would be kept in those areas.
“The prevailing coronavirus lockdown has exacerbated our miseries very much, making it almost impossible for poor strata to feed their family on a daily basis,” said a needy person who requested for not disclosing his identity.
“I have a five-member family and we have to opt for starving sometimes because of having nothing with us to eat, he disclosed”.
Moreover, the Goodness Basket was a very good idea of helping needy people in a respectable manner without hurting their self respect, he added.
He further said that a similar programme of `Goodness Wall’ was also a very appreciable initiative where people hung their used or extra clothes for the needy ones. He said the poor were compelled to seek help by raising their palms in front of others and if such programmes were initiated those would provide them help in a respectable manner.
“This is a good initiative of inviting people to come for help to those facing difficulties due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy of the country,” commented Bilal Rehman, a young social worker associated with TARS (Compassion) Foundation.
Talking to APP, Bilal said everyone who could afford should contribute in such activities aimed at helping the poor. He said coronavirus forced lockdown and commercial slump has rendered hundreds of thousands of people jobless or snatched their livelihood, making life very much difficult for them. In such a scenario, it was religious as well as moral responsibility of all well off people to contemplate on helping needy people suffering because of a natural calamity, Bilal advised.