Even donation of waste like old newspapers, or raddi as it is known in Marathi, can feed a hungry child. Activists of Maitri, a social group working for the prevention of the malnutrition deaths among children in Melghat every year, have been accepting raddi from people for five years now as a form of donation, as its sale to recycling agents brings in money that is then used for the noble cause.
So far, the group has raised more than Rs 10.72 lakh in five years from the sale of donated old newspapers. Maitri is an active participant in the effort to check deaths of the children because of malnutrition, which is especially prevalent in the monsoon.
“So far we have collected Rs 10,72,893 by way of sale of raddi, and this amount has been raised by collecting raddi from housing societies as well as a few individuals,” Jayashri Shidore, founder member of the group, said. “Raddi is regularly collected from Rahul Towers, Pinac Saddichha, Audumbar, Shukratara, Trimurty, Pradnyan Garh, Maruti Mandir Parisar, Spring fields, Wood lands, Shilpa Society and other places.”
Shidore said the money is used to help the Korku adivasis prevent malnutrition deaths in Melghat.
“Detailed audits and accounts of the funds collected for Maitri by selling raddi are also given in writing to each donor every six months,” Shidore said. The idea of collecting old newspapers came to the group when it was thinking of ways to overcome the perpetual dearth of funds.
“It was a unique concept, and the idea gradually clicked,” Shidore said. “Many people from housing societies in Kothrud, Paud Road, Karvenagar and Sinhagad Road started coming forward to donate their newspaper raddi. Today we have succeeded in developing a system for collecting and selling the donated raddi and a team of 15 volunteers works every Sunday to collect the newspapers from members of housing societies.”
Shidore said that every month Maitri collected 200 kg of raddi worth Rs 16,000. Madhukar Mane, coordinator, Maitri, who plans to visit 16 villages in Melghat accompanied by doctors for the group’s ‘Dhadak Mohim’ monsoon campaign that aims to check malnutrition-related diseases in children during the killer wet season, said people are also encouraged to donate food and medicines as immediate aid.
“We have already appealed to donors to help with drugs, food and tonics for the children in Melghat and are planning to visit these villages with 240 volunteers, including 40 doctors,” Mane said. “Money raised by selling raddi has always helped us in our Melgahat mission to a certain extent.”
Dinesh Vaidya, a resident of Rahul Towers, said the society was happy to contribute old newspapers for the good cause in large numbers. “Out of the 186 flat owners, a majority of members from our society are donating raddi every month for the cause,” Vaidya said. “We collect about Rs 1 lakh by selling a total 1.25 tonnes of raddi every year. We provide strings to each household to wrap the raddi and children have also helped to make the mission successful since the last five years.”
Reshma Kulkarni, who collects raddi for Maitri from the area opposite PuLa Deshpande Garden in Sinhagad Road, said as many as 120 households were regular donors. “We collect raddi from about 120 households from housing societies, including Shukratara, Pradnyangad and Audumbar,” Kulkarni said. “We have seen that people who are willing to donate raddi do so without fail on the stipulated day. Now this practice has been set for the past five years.”
The phone number to get in touch with Maitri if you want to donate old newspapers, food, medicines or money