Saturday, November 28, 2009

It doesn’t take much to spread the warmth

1.
What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of human beings, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the sufferings of the injured. - Sacred Tradition, Bukhari

To serve the imminent creation (zahiri khalq) is to serve the transcendent one (wahidal batin).
- Sacred Teaching

The world is evolving from imperfection to perfection. It needs all love and sympathy; great tenderness and watchfulness are required from each one of us. - Hazrat Inayat Khan, Bowl of Saki

2.
The increasing gap between the rich and poor all over the world will not fail any one in any third world country (as well as the developed nations) to come across those who lives on less than the bare minimum. In my home country Bangladesh, poverty is everywhere. Even in the capital city Dhaka where I live, you can easily come across people having almost nothing, no matter what neighborhood you live in.

The winter is here. As I pass by the road in the morning hours to catch a bus bound towards my workplace, I can’t help but notice young kids living with their family on the roadside with very little warm clothing to put on, some are half naked. On weekend when I take a early morning walk just to pass by their dwelling places (which is beside the street, on pedestrian, not hard to imagine with makeshift temporal arrangement with no proper covering) its obvious that they don’t even have enough blanket to cover them at these long winter night.

It left me utterly sad the other day to see some of these children without enough warm clothes, so today (Friday, 27 Nov, 09) I was helped to source out some woolen pullovers and sweaters. The initial intention was to buy only for the children and young adults. I bought larger sizes so that different age group can cover since chances are that they will be sleeping with these pullovers on as well to protect them from cold as the winter becomes intense and family members of different ages might share the same one at different times. For very young ones on their mother's lap I had to buy small sizes as well.

The group of people I visited and distributed, there are about twelve families with an average of five to six people in the family. While distributing the sweaters to the kids and young ones and couple of elderly women, as my sack was getting empty, I left with a promised that I will come back and provide for all of them in that semi-slum, Inshallah.

Not far from them are couple of other patches of these semi-slum kinda living arrangement of very low income group of people and I would love to go back and make sure all of them around this area have their warm clothing this winter.

You’d be surprised to know how little it costs to distribute warm clothing among these people who have so little. Bangladesh is a major exporter of manufactured garments. Infact many of the clothing you will find in descent clothing stores and fashion streets in USA or elsewhere in Europe are 'Made in Bangladesh'. So locally we can buy reasonably good quality clothing at a very cheap rate (since production cost is little).

On an average an adult sweater / woolen garment costs now about 100 Taka (Bangladeshi currency) which is less than 2 USD. For young ones a full set of clothing (two pieces) might be 150 Taka (again less than 2 Dollar 50 cents).

What it means to have great compassion? “Let no one suffer in my midst! Let no one suffer if I can help it. Let no one far or near suffer! I will never tell a suffering person, ‘It’s all right.’ Instead, I will ask, ‘Why are you suffering? How can I help?’ And I will act on it.

For, my pains arise from great compassion. My pains push me to share and to give. Let me not give till it hurts, but rather let me give till I cry in joy.” - Sacred Tradition of Great Compassion

The winter is not serious as compared to Canada or USA, but those who are forced to sleep on street with no blanket, no roof on top or no wall to protect from cold wind at night, even relatively mild winter can be very hard and miserable. Whats more troubling for them is when these children or elderly ones from poor family catch serious cold, they can hardly afford to go to doctor or buy medicine (since food is already hard to come by, doctor and medicine becomes a luxury). So protecting them from cold does long way in saving them from further trouble in their life.

For every single person who does not have enough to cover himself or herself, winters, are much bigger, regular disasters. You can survive without food maybe for a day. But what about the basics? - Anshu Gupta, Goonj Exec Director

If you’d be so kind to join in, feel free to contribute, chip in and spread the words among your friends and family of generous heart who might also take part in it. A personal email to generous one with a genuine recommendation (with links to this post) to contribute perhaps would be the least we can do for this tear stained world.

3.
Start a huge, foolish project like Noah;
it makes absolutely no difference
what people think of you.
~ Rumi ~

Project: Spreading the Warmth

Where:
Dhaka, Capital of Bangladesh (a country in South Asia, beside India), exact location where this project sets as beginning target can be viewed on google map here

What:
Buying winter clothing for those who live on the street, priority given to children and elderly

Execution and Contact:
Sadiq Alam, mysticsaint@gmail.com, +880-1924572887

Target:
To reach 500 persons (in reality, even to alleviate the suffering of one and spread warmth to just one other person is worth the call and effort), Fund raising target 1000 USD.



If you'd like to start a similar project in your own city, you're most welcome to collaborate and share resources. Kindly email me (mysticsaint@gmail.com) with your intention, interest and brief plans. The more there are opportunities created in spreading the warmth, the better.

# Resources

. Not Just a Piece of Cloth (video)
A Global Oneness Project Video about Anshu Gupta who is the founder of Goonj, a volunteer-run recycling center in New Delhi. Anshu shows how Goonj recycles garments to provide clothes, schoolbags, sanitary napkins and other amenities for India’s poor. Anshu offers a heartfelt appeal to be mindful of the unused clothing taking space in your closet right now, and what a treasure it could be for someone in need.

. Ignorant Addiction to Transcendence
. Prophet's Eid and the Orphan
. World Street Children News
. The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World
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