Kolkata: When Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, little did Nasreen Lokhandwala know that this was going to be her longest wait to fly back to Kolkata from Dubai.
Restless to meet her loved ones, Nasreen was pleasantly surprised on Monday, when she received audio and video messages from migrant labourers in Sunderban wishing her, "Happy Birthday Nasreen didi (elder sister)."
Amid a pandemic that has left several people financially distressed, Nasreen's children in Kolkata decided to make her birthday count by donating money to a city-based NGO 'Kolkata Gives'. The NGO had churned out a unique idea to feed at least 100 needy families with the money donated by people on their birthdays or marriage anniversaries.
Mudar Patherya, the trustee of 'Kolkata Gives', said, "In this crisis, we are motivating people to celebrate their birthdays and anniversaries with a social cause. Here, we are asking people to donate Rs 3000 (who can afford) to us. We will be using this money to feed 100 needy and hungry families across the state, who are struggling amid this pandemic situation.”
In case of Nasreen Lokhandwala, the money donated by her children was used to feed labourers in Sundarbans in South 24 Parganas district in Bengal and school children. The NGO recorded birthday wishes from the labourers and school children and it was sent to Nasreen as a gift.
"I am thankful to 'Kolkata Gives' for this wonderful platform to actually enjoy the bliss of celebration by being a part of a nobel cause than anything else today. We realise the joys of life lie in the little difference we can make to the life of others. My mother (Nasreen Lokhandwala) feels for the needy and we thought that this is the best birthday gift we could give her," said Tasneem, Nasreen’s daughter.
The NGO's idea of celebrating birthdays started on May 1 and so far 10 birthdays and one anniversary has been celebrated by feeding hungry, poor and needy families. This will be an ongoing service till the lockdown gets over and so far they have served nearly 1000 families across Bengal.
In all the cases, the donors expressed their immense satisfaction by celebrating their birthdays and anniversaries.