Meat distribution: How you can give back on Eid

Published: October 15, 2013
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Adults and children clamour just to get a kilogram of meat at the Meat Distribution Drive held by the Social Welfare And Trust (SWAT) society. PHOTO: REUTERS

“Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.” – Mother Teresa.

This quote, illustrates very simply yet eloquently, the core principles upon which a social worker functions. Unlike most organisations, the objective of social organisations is not consideration, that is, receiving something in return for giving something. Instead, their work stems from the belief that the aim in life is not personal contentment and satisfaction; rather, it is about ensuring some level of happiness for those who don’t have the ability to do so themselves.

The Social Welfare And Trust (SWAT) society at the Institute of Business Management (IoBM), Karachi, also functions on these beliefs and principles.

SWAT provides a platform for students and helps them ‘make a difference’. Although it came into being a mere two years ago, the society has achieved many milestones, from arranging a Sports Day for underprivileged children, to providing free education, uniforms, books and transportation to 44 young students; and distributing free Iftar to the underprivileged throughout the holy month of Ramazan.

SWAT has also undertaken a project on the occasion of Eidul Azha called the Meat Distribution Drive. The first phase of this cause, which takes place on the first two days of Eid, involves members of SWAT collecting meat from willing contributors in all parts of Karachi by personally going to their houses.

The meat is then delivered to a cold storage facility to keep it fresh. The second phase begins on the third day of Eid, when the volunteers gather at the IoBM campus to pack the meat into packages weighing one kilogram each. The volunteers then take the packed meat to the town of Ibrahim Hyderi in Karachi where it is distributed via a queue collection system. Just last year SWAT was able to collect and distribute more than 2,000 kilograms of meat.

Although the above agenda and process of the cause seems simple and straightforward, the reality is quite different. Last year, I personally took part in the meat distribution, and handed out meat to the underprivileged individuals who stood in long lines just to collect that one kilogram of meat.

Memories of the experience still send shivers down my spine. People standing in line would make a bowl with both their hands to take the meat, and this simple gesture made me realise the importance of that one kilogram of meat to them. It made me feel frivolous and thankless because I would not think twice about that commodity, while for them it was a much-awaited luxury.

The feeling would intensify when a swarm of kids would run towards me just to get a single packet of meat and upon receiving it, their tiny hands would tremble and their eyes would fill with tears of gratitude. It made me feel both, shameful and grateful to the Almighty and strengthened my resolve to keep working for this cause, as John Holmes so aptly said:

‘‘There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”

We at SWAT are often asked what is so different about this cause. People want to know why they should aid SWAT, when other organisations carry out social work on an even larger scale. My answer is for them to do a mental exercise: imagine a student belonging to the upper echelons of society. He/she is likely to be used to waking up late, uses nothing less than a Smartphone, and wears the latest fashions.

Now imagine that very student along with others quite like him/her, in a scenario where they are bathed in their own sweat and tears, with blood staining their clothes from handling the meat. If that isn’t enough, they often end up cutting themselves when breaking the ice to dislodge the frozen meat, just to serve their fellow men and women.

I ask you, what do they get from this? Nothing except perhaps a bottle of water during their break. However, they fight on. Do you know why? Simply because as Winston Churchill put it,

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

So my answer is this: support SWAT because if a generation of the young and affluent is doing something that they could have cared less about, only for the benefit of the less fortunate, it says a lot about the future of this country. It is people like them who can make a difference in the years to come.

Iman Ahmed

Iman Ahmed

A bachelors student, studying Media Studies at The Institute of Business Management (IoBM), Karachi.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.