RHA's vision is to beat global hunger and bring out the best of humanity using food as a medium. RHA is showing hope and serving the famished all over the world. Drawing from the literary character of “Robin Hood”, it aims to redistribute food in food surplus cities to ensure that no-one is left hungry.
Goal 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations is to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, making sure all people—especially children—have sufficient and nutritious food all year. Though an ambitious humanitarian goal, the success rate of this, as with most other SDGs, is as daunting as it is disappointing. As I sit at my desk and type out this article on December 20, 2023, just eight days short of less than six years remaining to fulfill this goal, I am extremely appalled at the figures that exist today.
It takes an incredibly apathetic person to take in the following information, with assimilation, and not shed a tear. (Trigger Warning: The following facts and statistics exemplify the true and most unfortunate state of the world. If you have ever had any traumatic experience with hunger, it may cause you discomfort).
Hunger kills more people each year than AIDS, malaria, and terrorism combined.
Every 10 seconds, a child dies from hunger.
82% of hungry people live in countries with food surpluses, not food shortages.
One in every eight people sleeps hungry each night.
One-third of the food produced around the world is never consumed.
There are 850 million hungry people in the world.
As my mind assimilates this predicament, the rather dire sensations of dysphoria, imminent doom, frustration at my very own human race, and petrification of the dystopia that seems so very inevitable all battle within my heart for eternal dominance. Nevertheless, amidst this most ominous and macabre situation that the entirety of the world finds itself in, my heart is mildly comforted by the knowledge that some of my more generous and responsible fellow humans are not acting like sitting ducks like the rest of us amidst this extreme quandary, and that some are even willing to dedicate their entire lives towards remedying this grave vicissitude that humanity has cultivated for itself.
One such initiative was born on an early morning after a party in Mumbai, when a kind man called Neel Ghose and his friends ended up with too much leftover food on their hands. Not wanting to waste so much sustenance, they collectively decided to distribute this food to the malnourished. Little did they know, this one decision of their lives would save the lives of thousands others. Galvanised upon witnessing the famished souls feast on ordinary dishes and latch with their dear lives onto the utensils as if they were their lifelines, Neel, filled with newfound invigoration, founded an organisation that would serve as a catalyst in terminating global starvation, an organisation that the world knows today as The Robin Hood Army.
“The problem is not that there isn’t enough food; it is the lack of consistent food facilitation to the right people at the right time; in fact, 82% of the people in the world live in countries with food surpluses. We are on a mission to change this,” said Saloni, the Growth Expansion Lead at RHA.
Modelled after the Re Food model in Portugal in 2014 and named after the infamous and iconic literature character Robin Hood, who stole from the rich and gave to the poor, Robins form associations with restaurants that provide them with leftover food; they then distribute this food to those that need it the most.
It is rather noteworthy that RHA is a zero-funds organisation. “We don’t believe that we need money to instigate social change. Only a true passion,” said Saloni. Furthermore, RHA does not provide its volunteers with any sort of certification. On this, Saloni said,
“We want our Robins to be fueled by passion, not an incentive to further their CVs.”
Today, RHA has served 28,164,165 people and functions in 159 cities in India and abroad. Saloni also mentioned,
“With over 28 million people served, the army streamlines its processes to set up hyperlocal community chapters across the world. Our focus is to become a global engine that brings out the best of humanity using food as a medium.”
Despite these pleasantly astounding facts and figures, RHA claims that they are 1% done. “Solving global starvation is not something I believe I will be able to see in my lifetime. There is just so much to do. We are still just 1% done. 99% to go.” The existence of organisations such as RHA is truly the only ray of hope we have in a dark tunnel.
This constructive story has been written by student journalists of the Re-Imagining Media Program. We are thankful to Ms. Saloni Sharma for her time and for answering all our questions patiently.