"How this ‘anaaj bank’ is helping UP villagers beat back hunger" news covered in The Times of India, Mumbai Edition on September 18, 2018.
The news mentions, "Formany residents of the villages of Koraon and Shankargarh in Uttar Pradesh’s Allahabad district, going to sleep on a hungry stomach was a recurrent torment for which there was little help. The vexing problem of hunger for the mostly landless locals belonging to tribal communities needed an out-ofthe-box solution, and that came in the form of an ‘anaaj bank’ launched by a self-help group (SHG).
Initially, the villagers had little hope that a small tin drum with a capacity of 300kg could do much to change their luck. But now, about a year later, they can only be thankful for the initiative that lets them take home grains on loan and donate a portion of the grain back to the bank as repayment.
The bank is the brainchild of Sunit Singh, a professor at GB Pant Institute of Social Sciences in Jhusi, who pitched the idea to the SHG run by local NGO Pragati Vahini Federation.
The grain bank has reached out to people in over 20 villages, benefiting around 300 families.
The SHG has placed a large drum filled with grain in every village. Every time a local in these villages — which have a dominant population of tribes like Kol and Musahar — needs some rice, he or she can take it out of the drum.
“Anyone can become a member of the bank by donating a kilogram of rice. In case of need, the members can take a loan of five kilogram of rice that has to be returned within a period of 15 days, without any sort of interest,” says Singh.
Singh and his colleagues are planning to expand the initiative to other blocks of the district and have even formed a special organisation, ‘Bhook se mukt Allahabad’ (Freedom from hunger for Allahabad), towards achieving that objective.
“We will launch on September 22 with the aim to free Allahabad of hunger. As ) per the 2011 Varanasi Census, these blocks have around 10,000 ‘vanvaasi’ communities like Musahars, Dahikars and Natt,” says Singh.
The organisation will collect donated rice and place drums in villages so that no one sleeps hungry.
“We hope that with our small initiative, we can contribute towards realising the United Nations goal of a ‘zero hunger world’ by 2030,” adds Singh."