Due the ongoing inflation crisis in Pakistan, food and petrol prices have risen astronomically, leading to many families finding it difficult to afford basic necessities like rice or flour. Writing for The Guardian, Zofeen T Ebrahim has covered the story of the street kitchen ‘Khana Ghar’ set up in Karachi’s poorest district by Parveen Saeed, who has been serving food to families for the past 22 years.
Opening up to The Guardian, Saeed said that the kitchen has become even more busy since Ramzan began, as more families have arrived to receive one-month food rations:
“But we can only give one bag to one family, and we need their ID cards to check that,” she said. “There are more and more mouths to feed than we can cope with.”
Saeed, who had received the Pride of Performance award in 2021, sells salan and roti to families for only Rs 3. Before the Covid-19 lockdown, the kitchen provided meals for 6,000 people, but afterwards it rose to 7000, and now currently stands at 8,200.
Saeed revealed that people stand in line for long hours in order to eat, because the ongoing political and economic instability has made it difficult for people to make a living:
“These people are not beggars, they have become destitute..where are the jobs?”
“Food prices have hit the sky. It is heartbreaking as they have waited for a couple of hours, only to leave empty-handed.”
The newspaper also spoke to some of the regulars who visit Khana Ghar. Former construction worker Mohammad Shakeel, a father of six, suffered a head injury and broken wrists after which finding work became incredibly hard. He said the food was a ‘Godsend’ because “with a kilo of flour costing 150 rupees, we would not be able to survive the jump in food prices.”
A widow who has been relying on Khana Ghar to feed her polio ridden daughter and toddler grandson said, “Had it not been for Parveen, we would have died from hunger.”
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