The innovative Indian destination and community management programme Compassionate Kozhikode has identified Nov 13 as a World Food with Dignity Day to celebrate the success of a scheme it launched earlier this year to ensure all its citizens could get a free and nourishing meal, regardless of their ability to pay.
Called Operation Sulaimani, the scheme has brought the administration into partnership with local restaurants, hotel associations and civil society to ensure that anyone who doesn’t have the money to buy a meal can get an approved coupon and walk into any one of a hundred restaurants in the district and enjoy healthy food.
There are now more than 25 ‘Sulaimani’ Distribution centres spread across the 14 zones of Kozhikode district that one can access in times of need. The coupons can be exchanged for a good meal in more than 100 restaurants in the district.
A donation box is kept at each of these restaurants for the public to contribute. Tourists, for example, can donate money in these boxes rather than giving to beggars, knowing that people in need will receive a good meal, and with far greater dignity. As such the scheme epitomises Compassionate Kozhikode’s focus on building a place that is better for its citizens, which in turn makes it better for anyone coming to visit.
Money from these collection points is consistently collected by volunteers and deposited in a bank account managed by the Hotels & Restaurants Association. Any loss of revenue incurred by participating restaurants is thus absorbed through the system where they match the coupons collected by each restaurants and distribution centres.