Lahore: Ramazan is a time of reflection and kindness. Continuing on its tradition of supporting estimable people and institutions, which in turn help the less fortunate in Pakistan, Ufone is supporting Rizq, a social entrepreneur project, this Ramazan.
Rizq was started in April 2015 by a group of friends who met at LUMS while studying for their economics degree after Huzaifa Ahmad shared his desire to channelize excess food to the underprivileged who cannot afford daily meals. Huzaifa’s friends and partners, Musa Amir and Qasim Javed, were instantly on board and the three entrepreneurs came together to build a bridge between surplus food at restaurants, weddings, and households (usually thrown away) and families living in slums of Lahore.
Ufone is supporting this worthy cause and will purchase media space on television channels and digital media throughout Ramazan, to be used to promote Rizq, free of cost. This will help secure more support for their endeavors by spreading the message of their cause across Pakistan. Ufone highlighted the partnership at an event held on Wednesday, 7th June 2017 at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Lahore. Attendees included bloggers, and representatives from local print, electronic and digital media.
Rizq has two primary objectives, to decrease food wastage that is rampant in our society and to feed under nourished people particularly children. As step one, the Rizq team identifies an area within Lahore, usually slums and villages, and maps the community. Next, food drives are advertised on Rizq’s official Facebook page and website encouraging people to contact them if they have any extra or leftover food items from parties or otherwise to donate. When created, Rizq’s Facebook page generated 5,000 likes overnight.
As step two, food is collected from partner restaurants, bakeries, caterers and households. The food usually comes in large containers, which are then taken to a store where it is checked for quality, and sorted into small packages for easy distribution. Lastly, food packages are distributed to mapped communities.
On average, Rizq serves 200 to 250 meals every day, and the team aims to bring this up to 2000 meals per day. During Ramazan, Rizq targets arranging 2-3 Iftar dastarkhwans on different locations each day to make food available for deserving people.
In order to expand their operations, Rizq needs Rs 1.5 million to buy a cold storage van and a cold storage facility to manage larger quantities of food. The team has been managing with fridges till now, which restricts them to sell/distribute food immediately.
This is the first time in Pakistan a food bank has been established to channelize excess food and the project has the potential to reduce poverty and transform people’s lives. Ensuring meal availability means the families can now utilize their money for other facilities like sending children to school, or buying medicines for ill family members.
Ufone hopes to create greater awareness of the remarkable work being done by Rizq and hopes this will kindle a spirit of sharing and generosity in others.