In December 2017, Mumbai activist Chinu Kwatra began a crusade to fight malnutrition in Hari Om Nagar of Thane East, commonly known among locals as the ‘Thane dumping ground’.
If you are a stranger to Chinu’s story, then we suggest you read his inspiring journey here.
Today marks 254 days of the unique initiative Roti Ghar, where over 100 underprivileged children are receiving a healthy one-time meal every day completely free of cost.
After feeding underprivileged children, the man has come up with a new initiative in Thane, Roti Ghar for Stray dogs. Since August 1st, 2018, he has been feeding more than 100 stray dogs.
Speaking to The Better India, Chinu reveals the inspiration behind the initiative.
“I grew up with a pet dog and have always been a canine lover. I came across several stories where animal rights activists, as well as dog-lovers, were being criticised and opposed for feeding strays. In our city, we constantly observe how locals consider strays a nuisance and resort to calling the police or municipality to get rid of them. It deeply bothered me.”
One of the prime reasons for kickstarting the initiative came during the Roti Ghar initiative in Thane, adds Chinu.
“While we fed the children at Hari Om Nagar, around 20-25 strays dogs would gather during the food distribution. In addition to guarding the area, they would guard the kids too. When we served the kids, the dogs looked at us longingly. But unfortunately, there would be no food left to serve them. And though for the longest time, my dream has been to start an old age shelter home for abandoned dogs, I knew it was a long shot with the planning and funding required. So we decided to start small by feeding them. And that’s how the journey from feeding malnourished kids to stray dogs began.”
The team with four of its volunteers armed with boiled chicken travel across the entire area from Thane station to Hari Om Nagar on their scooters and feed 100 or 150 dogs every day.
The idea to not collect food in one specific area was to avoid any disturbance to civilians.
“If 50 dogs gather in one place for food, there is a chance it will create inconvenience for passersby, or if the dogs start fighting for food, there could be a safety concern. To tackle these issues, we travel across the area and feed the dogs where they live and roam.”
The team has been receiving several queries from dog-lovers across the city who want to replicate the initiative in their areas. While they have the manpower to volunteer for these, the funding to keep similar initiatives running sustainably could be a challenge, confesses Chinu.
“One of the reasons for selecting boiled chicken was that it is rich in protein and will help keep the strays healthy. We boil the chicken at my father’s dhaba itself, so the cooking is no issue. Slowly and steadily, we will introduce variety on the menu, like curd rice etc.”
Chinu continues to raise funds through his connections on Whatsapp and a Facebook page created for the initiative called Roti Ghar For Stray Dogs. While the minimum contribution is a meager Rs 25, the maximum contribution can go up to Rs 2,500.
If you want to join Chinu on his mission to feed our furry friends, get in touch with him on Whatsapp at 9769181218. Follow Roti Ghar for Stray Dogs on Facebook here.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)