Hyderabad : It's a novel way of reaching out to people. Scores of individuals and NGOs are doing their bit to render succour to the victims of recent floods in Hyderabad. However, Safa Baitul Maal (SBM), a city based charity organisation, helped out the affected persons in a unique way. It organised a three day free shopping mela where the distressed families picked up things of their choice.

Pearls Garden, a wedding hall on the Balapur road near Hafizbaba Nagar, was a beehive of activity for the last three days. Hundreds of persons descended here to acquire household articles. Instead of providing money to the needy, the SBM chose to hand over tokens worth Rs. 10000 and Rs. 5000 to the flood victims depending on the severity of damage suffered by them. The affected families were identified after a detailed survey conducted in the rain ravaged parts of the city. At the shopping centre, which concluded on Friday, people were seen picking up whatever they wanted worth the token in their hands.

Sbm Shopping Mela 3

"There are 170 different articles on display here all worth Rs. 50 lakh. From ration to utensils, kitchen sets, clothes, blankets everything is available here. Instead of thrusting a relief package we have left it to the affected families to take things as per their requirement", said Ghyas Ahmed Rashadi of SBM.

Many women who turned up at the shopping centre were seen picking up mats, bed sheets, blankets while some went for provisions and a few for buckets, mugs and plates. "Instead of taking what is given it is better to acquire things you need most', remarked Shaheen, a women from Hafizbaba Nagar, clutching a brand new cooker.

Sbm Shopping Mela 4

More such shopping melas are in the offing in the coming days in the rain affected areas. The next shopping mela is planned to be organised on November 4 and the place will be announced shortly. Pooling its own resources along with the money donated by the philanthropists, SBM purchased different household articles. "Our intention is to ensure that the needy get what they want most", Mr. Rashadi said.

Outreach programmes surely benefit communities.

J.S. Ifthekhar

J.S. Ifthekhar is a senior journalist with nearly four decades of experience. Ifthekhar cut his teeth in journalism at the Indian Express before he moved to The Hindu. He was also associated with the Siasat Daily, Telangana Today, Deccan Chronicle, Onlooker magazine, Newstrack, Detective Digest and a few news agencies. He has written on different subjects and aspects of Hyderabadi life. However, his passion remains literature in general and Urdu poetry in particular. He is equally concerned with culture, heritage, civic affairs and problems confronting the man in the street. As a journalist he has taken up cudgels on behalf of the underprivileged and many of his stories in The Hindu saw the government promptly taking corrective measures. Ifthekhar has authored two books - Hyderabad - The Nawabi City on The Move and Haj - The Spirit Behind it. He has also translated two books from Urdu to English. His third book - Urdu Poets and Writers , Gems of Deccan  - is just released. Loves to write and writes to live. Can't imagine doing anything else.

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