There With You: Finsbury Park outreach group donates coronavirus aid parcels to India
PUBLISHED: 13:46 05 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:57 05 May 2020
A homeless outreach group has taken its coronavirus support international by buying aid parcels for people in remote parts of India living in extreme poverty.
London Homeless Welfare Team (LHWT) is using its own money to purchase essential supplies for families across Rajasthan, including those in a village named Pind Punay, where the father of founder Jorawar ‘Jay’ Singh Rathour grew up.
So far 225 families have been provided for with packages containing flour, rice, sugar, oil, tea, soap, salt and turmeric.
Jay, of Crouch Hill, launched LHWT in January after seeing the problems with rough sleeping and begging under the Stroud Green Road bridge on his commute. Since the coronavirus outbreak LHWT has given out health packs and hot food to those in need.
The India outreach is a collaboration between LHWT and the Bhat Sikh Welfare Organisation (BSWO) UK, which is run by Jay’s father Mahender Singh Rathour.
Jay explained: “Pind Punay is where my father is from originally and it’s old school, you have people pulling up water from wells. You won’t see it on a map. The nearest shopping facility is two miles away and the hospital is half-an-hour’s drive. We helped out there 10 years ago when there was a polio outbreak and wanted to help again.
“There are stewards surrounding the village and people have to sign in and out – they’re not letting anyone else in. The people are so poor and they can’t go out to earn any money. There’s not really much help for them either, so we are making up packages.”
Rajasthan has been on lockdown since March 22 and the state has reported 82 deaths from coronavirus. The items are being bought and delivered by volunteers in the region who are in touch with BSWO.
LHWT is still supplying essential items to care homes in and around Finsbury Park and giving out home cooked meals to rough sleepers in the area.
Last week volunteers walked for three miles around Green Lanes, Turnpike Lane and Finsbury Park giving out packages of hot chicken biriyani, sandwiches and chocolates to those still on the streets despite government orders that everyone be housed during the lockdown. They also gave out care packages containing hand sanitisers, tissues, water and an information leaflet.
In March Jay told the Gazette he was buying and giving out the Covid-19 care packages himself. Since then a GoFundMe page has raised almost £7,000 to pay for supplies, enabling the group to expand and work with similar groups across the country.
Donations can still be made at uk.gofundme.com/f/Londonhomelesswelfareteam.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Islington Gazette. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.