Free roti in Quetta
Such ground-level initiatives are highly commendable because they form basis for creating a response system
Many claim that the coronavirus does not discriminate, but its effects sure do. While the country maintains quarantine and social distancing, let’s not forget that the poor is suffering the most due to such measures. Daily wage earners and labourers are seen wandering about the streets in search of work but are sent back home by security officials. For those who cannot even afford three square meals a day, safety equipment like masks, gloves and sanitizers seem to be a luxury they are devoid of. The poor and destitute class is more vulnerable to the virus and everything else. This predicament has not just emerged due to the pandemic, but it has been persisting for decades in the form of class divide. What is also surprising, however, is that middle-class families living from paycheck to paycheck are also in dire need of help due to the economic slowdown.
Amid the trauma of the pandemic, citizens and rulers have set a unique example by collaborating with each together to ensure that essential resources are provided to those in need. This is happening in Balochistan where the government is providing roti in the provincial capital free of cost with the help of an NGO, named Bailul Islam. The door-to-door distribution of roti among the needy families is spread out by dividing Quetta into different zones. Apart from the deserving families registered on an online application through call centers for delivery purposes, there are many that are either ashamed of asking for help or those that are not reached. Names should be kept anonymous and the reach of locating deserving families should constantly be expanded. Such ground-level initiatives are highly commendable because they form basis for creating a response system to help take on the Herculean task of overcoming the pandemic. The federal government needs to work with provincial governments to implement such initiatives across the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2020.
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