The aim of this project is to support a roadside food outlet in the province of Gujarat, India. The owner, a young man named Magan, is from an impoverished agricultural family in the neighboring province of Rajasthan. He runs the enterprise with the help of three other youth from his village. All four youth depend on this food outlet for their livelihood.
The Specific Need
Magan has been finding it increasingly difficult to sustain the costs of running the enterprise. Due to the recent hike in the real estate market, rents have gone up. He has to pay the equivalent of $200 in rent alone for the small shop from where he runs the outlet. In addition, groceries have to be paid for and so also the wages of the three other youth he has employed.
All these costs have landed Magan in a debt of $1000. This is in addition to the $5000 low interest loan that he had initially taken out to establish the enterprise a couple of years ago. There are also urgent equipment repairs and upgrades that have to be carried out for the kitchen. He needs help with all of the above in order to keep running the food outlet. Magan also wishes to do a course in Hotel Management. He will be able to do it only if things become less tight on the financial front. He has so far not managed to earn a living wage from the food outlet. Please donate freely so that he can pay off his debt and put his enterprise out of loss. Any amounts, small or big, will make a difference and will be greatly appreciated.
A Shared Community Space
On a personal note, I have known Magan for more than a year and I frequently eat at his food outlet. He serves piping hot chai and spicy samosas all through the day. A lot of construction workers from nearby construction sites and others from the nearby village come there to have their chai, snacks, or dinner. Several of the customers are regulars and some are very colorful ones too. So there is always plenty of news to share.
Magan himself is very friendly and inviting, and a great listener. The food shop is also a shared community space where strangers of all sorts feel welcome enough to share their stories and make conversation. During last week’s heavy rains, I saw Magan and his co-workers sitting with absolute patience listening to a passing older man’s rant for over half an hour, simply out of respect for his age.
Besides Hindi, there is Gujarati and also Magan’s own native Rajasthani that the people at the food shop converse in. With Rajasthani or Gujarati folk numbers playing on the transistor radio, it’s a lively and full-on mix of music and different tongues.
Language Learning with some Laughs
Magan and the other youth at the food shop are trying to learn English. They are very enthusiastic learners and try to outdo themselves. It often leads to laughs and stories, and is a way of connecting their experiences from their life in the village to their present lives and work in the city. We talk about words related farming, animal names, food names etc.
I feel elated to be a part of these conversations and to share in their sense of humor in those moments. It simply makes my day. Please join me in lending a helping hand to Magan and his friends, in their journey of coming to the city and starting their own food enterprise, on their way to bigger dreams!
Thank you for your time.