Sujath Ullah is a 25-year-old Hyderabad student pursuing his Doctorate in Pharmacy. He’s up by 4 every morning, and is ready for with huge food carriers by 8 am, which can feed 700-800 people.
These carriers, which contain ghee upma and chutney, feed hundreds who spend their days outside the city’s Koti Maternity Hospital and Niloufer Hospital even before daybreak.
Speaking to TNM, Sujath says, “Many people stand in the queue from early in the morning to take appointment tokens. Many can’t afford to pay a huge amount for food. If we give them breakfast, they will somehow get the government’s Rs 5 meal for lunch.”
Sujath provides breakfast to 700-800 people and dinner in some areas to as many as 100-150 people across the city, a practice he has kept up for the last 575 days.
It all started when Sujath, while pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in 2016, decided to give food to a few needy people.
“I had 15 food packets with me but there were many people who needed it. I gave it to 15 people and silently walked off,” he says.
Sujath realised that the number of people who needed food was vastly more and decided to provide food to as many people as he could.
“I decided to expand that mission. I asked my parents to donate one day’s salary towards the cause every month to continue, and also appealed to many friends to contribute towards it. I started the Humanity First Foundation (HFF) in 2016, and slowly many people started to recognize and help.”
Sujath decided to feed more people on the streets without shelter, but faced a shortage of funds and time. “No one can get a good night’s sleep on an empty stomach and there are hundreds of such people in Hyderabad. So, I started providing dinner at least twice every week. I know this is very less,” he says.
Sujath says that he is thankful that his parents decided to support him and help him financially.
“I require Rs 4000 to give food every day. My parents give 40%, and the rest is given by friends, people who come across us on social media, and even through crowdfunding,” he says.
When asked he has faced any hurdles, he says: “I never thought of stopping this, but I am in need of volunteers. Anyone interested is welcome to be a part of this. If we have more volunteers, we can reach out more people.”
At present, Sujath’s friends Shabaaz Hussain and Araf Bin Bamdass and a few others help him reach out to people.
“At present, I’m just happy that many people are inspired by our programme and are calling me for advice and guidance to start the same in places such as Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai,” he says.
“Our aim is to reach more people who can’t afford a meal. We are ready to collaborate with anybody who wishes to join hands,” he adds.
Sujath, however, says that a few people did try to deter him, and asked him to restrict the service.
“I believe hunger has no religion or caste. It kills everyone. Har ek ke liye khana zaroori hain (everyone needs food),” he says.
Besides providing food, HFF also provides a few medicines for patients who can’t afford any and also runs a self-employment skill development training in Sangareddy to many women in tailoring and designing.