In these times of uncertainty, LUMS students are being proactive in offering their support and are tackling the challenges head-on. Muhammad Sarim Raza, a Management Science student at the Suleman Dawood School of Business at LUMS, is one such example. Noting the impact of this pandemic on daily wage workers, he used his social enterprise, Riayat, an organisation that actively fights urban inequality in Pakistan, to activate a Ration Campaign. This initiative strives to provide food security to the most vulnerable in our society and targets those in Karachi, Lahore and Multan.
Speaking about the situation on-ground, Mr. Raza said, “It is heart-breaking to say the least. People who used to depend on day to day wages in order to feed their families are literally starving, as they do not have the means to buy the required food. In these hard times, the only way to ensure that our most vulnerable population does not starve to death is through a social safety net.”
He went on to explain the importance of such initiatives and said, “Ration drives and food distribution drives are playing a huge role in feeding the most vulnerable section of our society and are also helping curb the spread of COVID-19, as people will come out on the streets if they are facing food insecurity, hence increasing the chances of the virus spreading.”
The Campaign’s first ration drive took place in Lahore, where the Riayat team distributed food supplies to over 80 families that had previously been verified as needy by the organisation. The ration consisted of provisions to last the family for a period of one month. In consideration of the situation, the packs also included a Coronavirus awareness pamphlet and a bottle of sanitiser.
When it comes to safety, Riayat is taking all necessary precautions. The team operates under the guidelines set by the World Health Organization and ensures that members wear all the required safety equipment, and maintain the social distance required. For instance, during their ration drive in Lahore, the team insisted that all recipients washed their hands before taking the ration. Riayat also took the extra step to identify the families for the drive beforehand as to avoid a large group of people gathering in the same space. After the drive in Lahore, the team also completed a successful session in Karachi, where they were able to target 100 families.
Mr. Raza is confident that by working together, this is a hurdle that the nation can overcome. “Pakistan's philanthropy to GDP ratio is as high as most developed countries, making us one of the charitable nations in the world. This stat shows that we have always been compassionate in the face of adversity, and this compassion is needed now too because the war against COVID-19 can only be won with compassion,” he said.
The team is keen to expand their food distribution drives to target more families, and urge others to play their part to help support the most vulnerable sections of our society.
If you would like to support, collaborate or help Riayat in their efforts, please note the following details:
Tel.: +92 311 205 9938
Bank Name: Allied Bank
Account Number: 01270010053406030010