Mumbaikars open their heart for iconic dabbawalas

Updated: Apr 21, 2020, 07:10 IST | Pallavi Smart | Mumbai

After mid-day highlighted the plight of the city's dabbawalas amid the current lockdown, two organisations step up to help them financially by buying groceries and other essential stuff for their families

Mukkti Foundation will help 100 dabbawalas while Reboot has initiated online fundraise. File photo
Mukkti Foundation will help 100 dabbawalas while Reboot has initiated online fundraise. File photo

After mid-day ran a front-page story on April 14 about how the city's iconic dabbawalas are struggling to feed their families, Mumbaikars have extended helping hands. Two organisations – Mukkti Foundation and Reboot, have come forward to help dabbawalas survive the lockdown period.

While Mukkti Foundation has taken the responsibility of 100 Dabbawalas by helping them buy groceries and other essentials, Reboot — a startup has initiated an online fundraising campaign.

Since the nationwide lockdown, around 5,000 Dabbawalas who are responsible for feeding lakhs of Mumbaikars daily have not been able to feed their own.

Smita Thackeray, Chairperson of the Mukkti foundation, said, "We were associated in the past with the dabbawalas to spread HIV awareness in the city. My son Aishvary read mid-day's story about their hardships and expressed the desire to help them using his personal savings. I was more than happy to know the feeling of help and support one sees in the youth of today."

Reboot, a pan India community for women professionals has started a fundraising campaign to help as many dabbawalas as possible. Anupama Kapoor, Founder of Reboot, along with her son Angad has started this fundraiser. Angad has also created a video on dabbawalas which they are sharing along with the appeal urging people to help them.

"The dabbawallas are a part of Mumbai's heritage. I don't know if any other city in India has such a systematic, healthy home food delivery service that feeds two lakh, people, every day. So when I read mid-day's report, I felt it was our responsibility to make sure they have enough for their families. After speaking with their president, I asked my son to make a video and we started a fund-raising campaign and am glad to report that donations have started coming in," said Anupama Kapoor.

Ramdas Karwande, president of Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers, the trust of dabbawalas in Mumbai, said, "It is really overwhelming the way Mumbaikars have come forward. It was getting tough for us as we are not really counted under the unorganised sector. But our workers are without salary as their is no work and with extension in the lockdown, we are unlikely to get our salary for the month of April. Until now, the association was helping workers by paying their grocery bills. But it too has limitations. This help has come at the right time."

5000
Total no. of dabbawalas who are facing survival issues due to lockdown

Voices slug

Anupama Kapoor

Anupama Kapoor, Reboot, Founder
'The dabbawallas are a part of Mumbai's heritage. I don't know if any other city in India has such a systematic, healthy home food delivery service that feeds two lakh, people, every day. So when I read mid-day's report, I felt it was our responsibility to make sure they have enough for their families,"

Smita Thackeray

Smita Thackeray, Mukkti foundation, Chairperson
'My son Aishvary read mid-day's story about their hardships and expressed the desire to help them using his personal savings. I was more than happy to know the feeling of help and support one sees in the youth of today'

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