BENGALURU: This city has chilling winter nights. Homeless in the city suffer from breathlessness and even a numbness, according to Hyderbad-based Abhaya Foundation.
On Sunday, volunteers along with the NGO gave away blankets to people living on the streets in Bengaluru. The campaign, titled Hunt the Winter, invited anyone interested to donate blankets.
To the NGO’s estimate, 10% of the city’s population – about 10 lakhs – is homeless. So, during winters, the organisation gives away woolen caps, clothes, rugs, thick blankets, monkey caps, shawls and room heaters. “Every winter, hundreds of people die on streets due to cold weather,” said Rangaiah of the Foundation. “This is why we started distribution of blankets.”
The NGO asked the volunteers to walk up to anyone sleeping and simply place the blankets over the them, without disturbing them. They do not identify themselves or the organisation. “Our intent is to protect them from the cold,” he said.
Bengaluru would need a few thousands and to cover “only the neediest”, he said. The NGO has this estimate from the work they have been doing for the past ten years.
“City’s homeless live in temporary structures without pucca walls or roofs,” said Rangaiah. “They live under plastic sheets, tarpaulins or (roughly put-together) thatch roofs and on pavements, parks and along gutter sides. Flyovers and construction sites are common refuge as well.”
They are at risk from many dangers, he listed some of them as accidents, sexual assault, and health complications for infants, young children and older people.
There are night-shelters in the city but NGOs that run these have often complained that the city corporation does not clear their bills.
November 6 marks the anniversary of the Hyderbad foundation that works in the healthcare and education sectors.