“When I was in my third year, I saw an old man sleeping on the road. I asked him if he needed some food. He said, “I’ve had my dinner. Why don’t you give it to someone else who needs it.” I was surprised. He had no worry for tomorrow and in fact, he asked me to give the food to someone else instead of saving it for himself. It really moved me. I was even more convinced to help the needy by offering food. My idea was to ask close friends and family to donate one day’s salary to feed people. I first asked one of my cousins in the UK. He sent 5,000 rupees immediately. This was in 2016 when I started collecting funds from friends and distributing dinner to many homeless people. I didn’t do this because I had a lot of money or food at home to give. My childhood was a struggle with limited money and facilities. My dad worked hard to make ends meet – he would cycle to work for 16 years. We lived in a small home but I always believed in giving a bit of whatever I had.
Once I started studying Masters in Hyderabad, I knew more people who wanted to donate funds. So I registered the organisation – Humanity First Foundation. It was in November when I first ordered about 100-120 plates of Upma from a hotel. I filled it in a bucket and took it to a nearby hospital early in the morning. I was a little nervous because this was my first time outside a hospital. As soon as I reached, about 300 people queued for breakfast. I cannot tell you how happy I was that day! I then increased the quantity and fed more people outside three government hospitals. It’s been 2,109 days since then and every day, the first thing I do after waking up in the morning is to feed people breakfast.
In the beginning, a few random people asked me why I was feeding Hindus when I’m a Muslim. I told them that I’m not into this political debate. My organisation is called Humanity First Foundation and that’s exactly what I believe in. For me, it’s a hungry human being who needs food. Whether he is dark or fair, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh or anything else – I don’t care. If we can’t look beyond man-made divisions, what are we? “