Photos taken during the June grain distribution (anaaj vitran) by Raj Saubhag Ashram. Members of the Ashram have conducted a survey in 33 villages surrounding Sayla to identify the families struggling to make ends meet due to physical and social incapacity. The families listed in the survey receive monthly deliveries of 10-20kg of food grain (totalling almost 4 tonnes), the distribution of which is organised and supervised by Raj Saubhag volunteers in order to keep administrative costs at a minimum. Fruit, biscuits and clothing are delivered on ad hoc basis. (Adapted from the Raj Saubhag website).
Having personally witnessed and experienced the grain distribution several times over the past decade, it is truly impressive to see the dedication by which this activity has been running for many years. Volunteer OAPs aged 70+ travel from Mumbai, several hundreds of miles away, every month to devote 3-4 days of their time for the distribution in all seasons, including the 45 degree summers and the wet monsoons. Most of the recipients are met individually by the volunteers, who keep a register to ensure that benefit is received only by those most deserving. New referrals are interviewed, their homes visited and their financial position discussed with trusted persons in the local community before being awarded eligibility for the scheme. Those with little or no earning potential are favoured, and worthy persons with dependants are given larger quantities of grain. Grains are distributed at the beneficiaries homes or in a well-known location in the centre of the village (often neighbours / younger family members come to collect the grains in the latter case).
Technical details: Sony a850 with Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 lens.