70-Yr-Old Kerala Writer Donates 10,000 Clay Water Pots To Save Birds In Summer; Planted 50,000 Fruit-Trees Last Year

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With the mercury soaring at an unprecedented rate, Kerala, along with most of Southern India, is gearing up to battle the scorching tropical heat. While air-conditioned rooms can provide respite to people, the situation is quite terrifying for animals and birds. In an urban cityscape, the speechless souls fail to find a shade to rest under or some cold water to quench their thirst.

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

In the small town of Muppathadam in Ernakulam, Kerala, a 70-year-old man is determined to protect the birds from the scalding heat. Sreeman Narayanan, an environmental crusader and writer, has distributed 10,000 earthen pots among the residents urging them to keep water for the birds in the unbearable summer months. For this purpose, he spent over 6 lakh rupees entirely from his personal savings. Speaking to Efforts For Good, he informed that he is willing to distribute almost 12,000 to 15,000 pots this year for the birds, probably in the entire expanse of Ernakulam. The project titled ‘Jeevajalathinu Oru Maanpathram’ (translation – an earthen pot for life-saving water) has received recognition and support from Kochi Municipal Corporation as well.

An ordinary citizen, an extraordinary visionary

Narayanan is an ordinary citizen with an extraordinary vision. His hometown Muppathadam is located in the Eloor-Edayar industrial belt, which is often in the news for its aggravating pollution. The septuagenarian social worker is a one-man army, with an aim to preserve the environment. Over the years, he has undertaken diverse initiatives to restore the natural richness of his birthplace – ranging from mass-scale afforestation to turning Muppathadam plastic-free. All of his programmes are entirely self-financed.

He has been donating mud pots every summer

Distributing the water pots for birds is not something new for Narayanan, who has been keeping up the practice since his youth. However, the huge number of pots he has distributed this year has propelled him to the long-deserving limelight.

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“I have consistently donated around 100 to 200 earthen pots every summer. I would ask well-wishers to contact me and hand over the pots to them, going door to door. But, I would find people misusing the pots, keeping it for personal use and depriving the birds. That’s why this year I have asked people to come and collect from me personally,” informs Narayanan. People from as far as Kottayam and Thrissur districts are coming down to collect pots from him.

Sreeman Narayanan Kerala Birds

The programme this year was officially inaugurated at Mar Baselios College of Kottayam, where the principal poured water into an earthen pot as a symbolic gesture. Later, students of the college kept several filled pots for birds across the college premises.

The best way to spend his savings

Narayanan earns from a lottery business and a small-scale restaurant he owns. A staunch believer in the Gandhian way of life, he does not hesitate in spending his savings for the greater good of the world. He believes his life should send out a message to the society.

A widower for the past three decades, Narayanan has brought up all his three daughters completely on his own. He is happy that they are peacefully settled now. Instead of saving more, he considers spending on the environment a better use of his income.

From planting trees to making his hometown plastic-free

However, the distribution of earthen pots is only a small glimpse of Narayanan’s efforts as a true-blue environmentalist. Last year he has distributed over 50,000 saplings of fruit trees throughout Ernakulam district, under the project name ‘Vrikshayaknja’. It had cost him a whopping 15 lakh rupees.

Sreeman Narayanan Kerala Birds

“In Muppathadam, I had personally supervised the planting of over 10,000 mango and jackfruit trees in the compounds of the houses. I took my team of three and visited every family home, convincing them to grow a fruit tree in their courtyard, to feed the birds and monkeys,” he shares.

To eliminate the use of plastic, he once donated over 3,000 cloth bags to families in his village. However, no effort can achieve long-term success unless awareness is raised in a person’s conscience. With that objective in mind, Narayanan donated 5,000 copies of Gandhiji’s celebrated autobiography – The Story of My Experiments with Truth.

Earning multiple accolades as an author

It would not be fair to draw the line at his social endeavours and overlook the illustrious award-winning writer he is. The double Masters’ degree-holder in Malayalam and Economics has authored nine books in various genres. Environmental degradation and its harsh consequences on humanity often feature heavily in his novels and short stories. His latest book Ente Puzha deals with the pollution in the Periyar river.

His poetry for children fetched him the Kerala State Institute for Children’s Literature award in 2016. Kerala Sree Award, Vaikom Muhammed Basheer Award comprise some of his literary honours, and the recent SK Pottekkatt award was given to him for his environmental endeavours.

Efforts For Good take

Recently, the #BirdBathChallenge started in Kochi by a group of techies has gone viral, which urges people to place a bowl of clean water for the parched birds. The group insisted the willing participants to opt for clay vessels which keep the water cooler for a longer duration.

While human beings can find one way out or another to escape the barbaric summer heats, the helpless birds often find no respite. Sreeman Narayanan’s initiative is truly a most necessary step towards a better world.

For helping Sreeman Narayanan in his initiative, contact him at  9995167540 or 7012282098

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It's not how much we give
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- Mother Theresa Quote

‘Happy Fridge’: The Key To Bridge Food Wastage And Hunger Problem In India

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Rahul Khera and Gautam Jindal, volunteers (aka hunger heroes) at Feeding India, were among the many Delhi NCR residents accustomed to seeing hungry children pick up half-eaten burgers or stale sandwiches from the dustbin and savour those with the brightest smiles. Like many others, they also had the will to promote equitable food distribution but was perplexed about the approach, until they learnt about the community fridge initiative which has gained unprecedented success in Saudi Arabia and few other European countries. Meanwhile, community fridges were already being installed outside restaurants or in public places in a handful of cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Coimbatore and Kochi.

Say Goodbye To Throwing Away Excess Food Because Now You Can Donate The Food To The Needy – Happy Fridge

Thank you for overwhelming response for the Happy Fridge concept. We need more funds from you to install more fridges like this across India. With the limited funds avaialble Feeding India was able to install three fridges only. Kindly donate here http://bit.ly/happyfridge

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Needless to mention, with a shocking 103rd rank in the Global Hunger Index and a food wastage estimate of around Rs 58,000 crore – India was perhaps the best country to implement such an initiative. With Gautam’s help, an enthusiastic Rahul invested his own savings to install a ‘Happy Fridge’ outside his residence at Sun City, Sector 54 in Gurgaon. Set up in 2017 by these Feeding India volunteers, the fridge in Gurgaon has inspired the NGO to scale up the project across India.

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

‘Happy Fridge’ fostered many smiles

It didn’t take long for the local residents to learn about this laudable endeavour. They welcomed it, as wastage of excess food was a recurring problem in almost every household. “Intimating the localities was no mammoth task, thanks to social media. However, it was difficult to spread the word among those who actually needed the food,” shares Rahul, who went from auto stands to slums, inviting rickshaw pullers, ragpickers or roadside vendors to avail the community fridge any time they feel hungry. “The security guards of our residential complex played a huge role in explaining how the fridge works to the beneficiaries,” he adds.

The operational and maintenance costs of the ‘ happy fridge ‘ are being maintained diligently by the community members.

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Making memories, sprouting awareness

“I remember one young man who had arrived from a village looking for some menial day job. Somehow he had run out of his paltry savings and had no money to buy one decent meal a day. For about a month, our happy fridge was his solace, till he earned his first salary from a housekeeping job,” shares a jubilant Rahul.

In another incident, a truck driver returning in the wee hours of midnight was starving after a whole day’s hard work. He had run out of cooking fuel at his home, so our fridge was at his rescue.

“The residents keep all sorts of palatable dishes in the happy fridge, ranging from dry snacks, fruits to cooked meals. Sometimes, they even keep raw vegetables, to ensure not a single bit of good food ends up in their trash while other people go hungry to bed,” reveals Rahul.

On an average, each happy fridge supplies around 10-15 meals in a day. The gratitude and pure smiles of the hungry souls after a fulfilling meal are more than enough to continue to motivate Rahul and his neighbours. In fact, inspired by him, many other communities in the Delhi-NCR region set up community fridges in their areas.

Feeding India will set up 500 Happy Fridges

Since the past few years, Feeding India has been a prominent organisation working in the forefront to solve the hunger problem in India. Primarily, they were involved in redistributing leftover food from weddings and parties among the underprivileged people in different cities of India. Their volunteers, better known as “Hunger Heroes of India”, worked actively to bridge the gap between food wastage and food crisis.

“We used to get a lot of calls from individual households to collect their excess food. However, unfortunately, we lacked the manpower and planning to launch our programme on a door to door basis. We were desperately looking for an alternative when we learnt about the community fridges,” shares Srishti Jain, co-founder of Feeding India.

After interacting with Rahul Khera and other campaigners of community fridges, Feeding India decided to amplify this extraordinary project throughout the length and breadth of India. Presently, they have launched the #FightFoodWaste campaign to install 500 community fridges – nicknamed ‘ Happy Fridge ’. So any passer-by – be it a kid going to school without a lunchbox, or a labourer returning home late at night with no promise of a dinner – can now grab a pack of biscuits or a bowl of ‘dal-chawal’ (rice & lentil soup) to satiate their hunger. Click here to contribute for ‘ Happy Fridge ‘ and ensure India never sleeps hungry again.

Feeding India also urges everyone to make a promise to stop wasting food and instead consider donating it to those in need.

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Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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