Statistical figures obtained from some of the leading organizations reveal that about 800 million people around the world are undernourished. India alone is home to 180 million people who don’t get enough food every day. This figure places our country at the topmost position, and it is quite alarming. However, if compared to the early nineties, the proportion of undernourished people in India has seen a significant drop by 36%. Since 1991, after the economic liberalization, India’s economy has strengthened few folds. But, higher economic growth has not been fully translated into higher food consumption. This stands as a real-life problem and is also a matter of concern. A Kolkata-based entrepreneur Saurabh Dhanuka is addressing this problem in his way with the help of his venture Ridhi. Ridhi is a complete volunteer based start-up which collects surplus/excess/leftover foods from parties, occasions, restaurants, cafes and food outlets and distributes them to the underprivileged kids. “I have few volunteers who are students and young working professionals associated with me who help me as and when they get time,” says Saurabh.
“Last December, I went for a birthday party celebration of my friend’s wife where I saw eight plates of Biryani being thrown after the party was over. I asked him why he was doing that. He said it’s of no use since tomorrow is Monday and no one will consume this either. This incident gave me a thought of starting my venture RIDHI, where I took a pledge of serving leftover food to underprivileged kids rather serving it to dustbins.”
Solving the problem with RIDHI
Ridhi Foundation started its journey in December 2015. Presently it operates in entire Kolkata and in some parts of Delhi and Bangalore. It has 12 volunteers in Kolkata, 3 in Bangalore and 5 in New Delhi. The food distributed to the needy is sourced from restaurants, which regularly provide surplus or freshly cooked food on a goodwill basis. Also, anyone and everyone can contribute food.
“Many times we get a call from parties, get together that lot of food is being left, so my team goes and collect the food and distribute the same in slum areas, charitable houses and any such area where we feel a little contribution can bring sparkle among poor souls,” added Saurabh.
Saurabh and his team at Ridhi have taken a pledge to feed at least 50,000 underprivileged kids this year. Till date, they have served more than 2000 kids. “We have spoken to few NGOs and they are more than happy to help us. RIDHI does not accept monetary donations and only distributes the food or donations in kind that it receives from its restaurant partners and donors.”
Managing the Operating Cost
“The operational cost is managed entirely by me as of now. There are couple of NGOs who are helping me. Whatever income is earned via my other start-up, Jab We Ate, 10% of it is saved for RIDHI Foundation every month.”
The present challenge
“There are total 865 million hungry people in the world; 200 million of them are from India itself. Moreover, one in every eight person in India sleeps hungry each night. This itself is the BIGGEST challenge.”
Future plans and spreading the word
“The foremost important, I want to register RIDHI as a charitable trust in India. Apart from this, I am working on spreading awareness of RIDHI through my own network channel to promote the idea of this service. I am looking for tie-ups and associations with restaurants to provide food in large numbers to the poor souls. Importantly, I am also working on introducing new volunteers on board so that I am able to create an impact amongst people around me and inspire a community to give time and help to those who need it most.”
If you think, you can in any form i.e. as a Volunteer OR Restaurant OR any NGO help me to grow “RIDHI” and eradicate food wastage, please contact me at email@example.com. Let’s serve some happiness!!