- Three cousins from Bengaluru have started Mission Milk
- As part of Mission Milk, the team provides milk to underprivileged children
- By providing milk, trio is helping daily wagers’ families survive pandemic
New Delhi: “In the initial days of our milk distribution drive, the team came across a woman who was feeding her baby with milk bottle but instead of milk, the bottle had plain water. On enquiring, the team got to know that the woman was doing so to trick her child into believing that she was being fed warm milk. The story touched my heart and made us realise the suffering of people during a pandemic”, recalled Ragid Saleem, member of Mission Milk, a Bengaluru based initiative to provide milk to children of families affected by coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown.
The coronavirus induced lockdown showed the world the plight of migrant workers and daily wagers. The streets of India were filled with migrants walking miles with a hope to reach their native place at the earliest. With no job at hand, and no money to eat and provide for the family, the only option they could think of was to go back. In an attempt to support the labourers, various organisations across the country stepped up and provided dry ration, cooked meals and other essentials.
We were also distributing dry ration and food kits to people in need in order to make the lockdown a little easier for them. We have distributed around 2,500 ration kits and 1,000 packets. During distribution, we came across a group of women standing outside a police station who told us that though they are getting food but they have nothing to feed their children. They asked, ‘how can we consciously feed ourselves when we are not able to feed our children?’, said Masroor Pasha, a mentor at Mission Milk.
A simple reality check by a group of women made three cousins supporting their uncle Masroor Pasha and other family members in food distribution think of the need of infants and young children. The trio – Zeeshan Javid, Shehzar Sheriff, and Zufishan Pasha – decided to start Mission Milk – an initiative by the youth, for the children.
The idea of distributing milk came straight from the mothers and once we understood the need of the people, we decided to work upon it and reach out to as many people as possible. As part of the initiative, we provide milk to families of migrant workers and daily wage earners, said 27-year-old Zeeshan Javid, co-founder of Mission Milk.
From Milk Parlour To Beneficiaries: How Mission Milk Supplies One Of The Essential Commodities During Pandemic
The team of Mission Milk consists of three brothers and their friends and family members. The first step towards supporting the people in need is to identify beneficiaries for which the team identifies the area where milk is needed. The team then conducts a survey in order to find out how many households are there who require milk and children mainly. Talking about on what basis the team decides who needs milk, Zeeshan said,
We are catering to children because milk, one of the most basic sources of nutrition is essential for their growth. We don’t differentiate on the basis of age group or anything like that because firstly, we can’t go and ask someone’s age and then distribute milk. Secondly, a family happens to have an average of four to five kids ranging from an infant to a young child of say 10-12 years of age. We just see whosoever needs it.
The second step is to look out for people living in the same area and willing to help. Since Milk is one of the perishable commodities it needs to reach out to beneficiaries as soon as milk packets are procured from milk parlour. Sharing the solution for the same, Zeeshan said,
We found a milk parlour – Nandini dairy parlour, a product of Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) – which is present pretty much everywhere in Bengaluru. We told them about our initiative, got the best price that is Rs. 37 per litre and started sourcing milk. Our volunteers go directly to the milk parlour, fetch the packets and immediately distribute them.
Talking about what motivated him to provide milk at a discounted price, Rizwan, owner of Nandini Milk Parlour at HBR Layout and one of the vendors helping Mission Milk, said,
They are doing social service and as a citizen, it’s my responsibility also to contribute in these trying times. I’m providing them milk below MRP that is at whatever rate I get it. Essentially, I’m giving away my profit.
This way, the team has distributed 20,080 litres of milk among 40,000 children living in 45 different areas of North Bengaluru. Initially, the team started by providing 60 litres a day and slowly scaled up to distributing 500 litres of milk every day. A family of three to four members gets 1 litre of milk.
Every time we take up an area, we make sure to provide milk at least three times a week. Once we are able to support one area, we take up another, said Zeeshan.
Mission Milk Goes On A Break, Calls For Support
On April 13, the trio started the milk distribution process and continued it till the end of lockdown 4.0. For 49 days, the team relied on funding received from friends, family, acquaintances, and reached out to a larger population through social media. The team has now taken a break so as to raise funds and continue with the noble cause. Elaborating on the need for the break, Zeeshan said,
Our weekly expense is Rs. 1.3 lakh. So far we have been in a very good position to provide to the people. But in order to continue with on a daily basis, we need permanent sponsors. We are looking for something more dependable and are reaching out to milk manufacturers and federations to work out a more solid distribution plan. We aim to get in touch with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who are still continuing with relief work. We can provide them the money and they can help with distribution.
The team has started an online fundraiser on Milaap, a crowdfunding website with a goal to raise Rs. 7.5 lakh and provide 150 families with milk on a daily basis. The team of Milk Angels hopes to get back to serving the society soon.