Children from some of India’s poorest communities turned out to help support a charity providing meals for the homeless at Leicester Market.
Seventeen children from Ahmedabad in Gujarat, spent Saturday night working alongside volunteers from Midlands Langar Seva Society (MLSS) to help the homeless and those in need.
Rajdeep Johal, of MSS, said: “We think it’s fantastic that they have come to help us. For little kids to have the organisation to come to do this is amazing, especially when you realise where they come from.”
People who were there to pick up donations or get a hot meal shook hands, hugged and thanked the young people for their caring approach.
One lady, Jackie, was amazed to discover that the children wanted to help. She said: “For them to come here and want to get involved, it just shows what thoughtful young people they are.
“For them not to have much themselves but still want to help, I’m so pleased I met them.”
The MLSS started organising meals for the homeless and those in need four and a half years ago. They serve food on Saturdays from 7pm to 8pm, Sundays from 5pm to 6pm.
From this week, they will start a Friday service from 7pm to 8pm – meaning that for the first time, there will be food available for the homeless or needy at the market seven days a week.
Students from University of Leicester and De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) Sikh Societies volunteer with MLSS every week.
Amandeep Dhaliwal, president of DMU Sikh Society, said: “You get to know people who come here and people who come here say that it’s not just the food but the companionship, seeing a friendly face, that makes a difference.”
* Find out more about volunteering at DMU
* DMU prepares to welcome the Jai Jagat kids
* Students and alumni arrive in India for week of volunteering
On Saturday, queues stretched the length of the market for a hot meal, pizza, samosa, fruit, breakfast bar, a hot drink and a cold drink. The cold drink was served for Chabeel Day in honour of a Sikh guru while the day’s hot meal was donated by a Sikh family.
Mr Johal said: “We have between 90 to 110 people here every Saturday and around 60 to 75 people on Sunday. Over the last 18 months to two years, we have seen a huge increase in the people using the service as word has spread. It’s sad that this is needed but
The Jai Jagat kids also packed up food parcels which were taken out around the city centre to those who may not be able to make it to the market.
The children all come from communities in Ahmedabad helped by the charity Manav Sadhna, which is supported by students and staff at DMU through the university’s Square Mile India programme.
DMU is sponsoring their visit to Leicester and their show, which was performed to a packed audience in the city yesterday (Sunday June 9). Their show, which marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, included drama, music and song and dance routines devised by the children themselves.
Sunita Patel, senior public engagement officer at DMUlocal, said: “Over the last five years hundreds of students across all faculties at DMU have travelled on our Square Mile India programme to volunteer on projects ran by Manav Sadhna and so it has been a wonderful opportunity to invite these 17 young ambassadors to Leicester. It has given our students yet another incredible opportunity to engage in a cross cultural experience about issues and topics that matter to them all.
"We believe partnerships such as this are key in inspiring our students to engage actively in their communities, both locally and on a global scale. As DMU is the global hub for UN’s sustainable development goal 16 which stands for peace, justice and strong institutions it felt fitting to host the first performance of the Jai Jagat (one earth family) right here on our campus.”
During their visit to Leicester the Jai Jagat kids have visited elderly residents at the Pop-In Café in Thurnby Lodge, toured the Curve Theatre. Tomorrow they will visit a city primary school before heading to London for the final performance of their show.
* Would you like to volunteer to help out? MLSS is always grateful for donations and welcomes volunteers. To find out more visit its website here
Posted on Monday 10th June 2019