In the bustling streets of Madurai, a remarkable sight captures the attention of passersby. Amidst the vibrant chaos, a group of young individuals emerges like a beacon of hope, their hands full of neatly wrapped packets of freshly cooked meals. They traverse the bustling city with a clear mission: to silence the growls of hunger that plague their community. These selfless heroes are none other than the spirited members of 'Suvadugal,' an NGO that has become synonymous with compassion and nourishment.
Hunger relief has been the predominant focus of Suvadugal, with their team providing nourishing meals to at least 100 people daily for the past three years. The initiative began in 2020 when 13 college students volunteered to distribute food during the pandemic under the guidance of Madurai MP S U Venkateshan. Although the initial initiative ended with the relaxation of the lockdown, the students were determined to continue feeding the hungry.
Pooling their resources, the group started purchasing food from local eateries and distributing it to those in need. However, funding became a challenge, leading to a temporary halt in their efforts. It was a chance encounter with a devastated senior citizen, who used to collect food packets from them, that reignited their motivation. They relaunched their initiative, now named 'Thani oru Manithanukku,' and the team grew to over 70 members.
Taking a different approach, the team decided to cook the food themselves. Two of their teammates, Saranya and Sanjai, volunteered to prepare meals in a special kitchen set up in Kalavasal. Additionally, the team ventured into a no-food waste initiative, collecting leftovers from events and distributing them after a quality check.
With each passing year, their efforts have evolved, and their aspirations have grown. The team aims to open a stall near the Government Rajaji Hospital, providing free food to those unable to afford it. Inspired by the hunger-free status achieved in Kozhikode district, Kerala, the youth of Suvadugal are determined to make Madurai a hunger-free place.
With this ultimate goal in sight, these young change-makers are making a profound impact in their community with their unwavering dedication.