Born in a slum, Chandni or Chandni Di as she is lovingly called, went through the worst of what slum life had to offer in her childhood. From performing in street dance shows with her father to ragpicking, selling corn and even getting arrested on false counts of stealing, she had seen it all. But she did not let circumstances dictate the rest of her life.
“After the sudden demise of my father. The responsibility of running the household fell on my shoulders. I was wondering what to do with life when I got lucky and met a few NGO volunteers who were educating children from the slums. It was then I discovered my purpose - making life better for slum kids, no matter what it took.” - Chandni
From performing in street dance shows with her father to ragpicking, selling corn and even getting arrested on false counts of stealing, she had seen it all
After promoting education among slum children for the NGO that she worked with, and even reporting on slum issues for a newspaper, Chandni decided that she had to start something on her own. And thus she founded Voice of Slum (VoS) in Noida in 2015, along with Dev Pratap Singh, who had faced similar challenges in life like her. After running away from home at the age of 11 and staying at railway stations to working as a ragpicker, waiter and a territory sales manager at a reputed organisation, Dev finally left it all to serve young slum kids.
After I gave food to a child, he was both happy and sad. Apparently, his mother had died and his father was paralyzed. He regularly ate food out of trash.
When I asked the kid "won't he get sick from eating from trash?" the little child replied simply, " Didi, at least I'm not hungry at night".
“We centred our activities around education at first. We take a child under our wing and provide free education for 1.5 years. These ‘tuition classes’ or Bridge classes are to prepare the child for mainstream education. After 1.5 years of taking VoS classes, the child is enrolled in a school. Depending upon the timings of the school, VoS takes additional classes in the morning or evening to ensure that the kids are up-to-date and their education is progressing well. Through educational, vocational activities, the NGO can ensure that young children don’t get into drugs or stealing but rather prepare themselves for a better, mainstream and a respectable future.” - Chandni
Over the years, both Chandni and Dev Pratap recognised the role played by nutrition in addition to education, in empowering slum children.
I met kids who had not eaten for over 2 days, they told me their brain was about to shut down, they couldn't move their legs, everything hurt - Chandni
“When I used to interact with kids who came to our learning centre, most of them would tell me that they have not eaten anything for the past two days. Most of these poor kids complain of aches in their body, and many of them do not have parents to take care of their needs either. That’s when I realised that feeding children nutritious meals will aid in their all-round growth and development. And that’s how Feed The Slum was born.” - Chandni.
Feed The Slum is a comprehensive initiative that seeks to address the multifaceted challenges of hunger and education by providing adequate nutrition. It was established as a community kitchen offering a safe haven for children from the slums of Delhi NCR to enjoy nutritious meals.
Chandni Di is providing more than just meals
“At Feed The Slum, we are committed to providing more than just meals. Our Nutritious Meal Program aims to fulfil an important "socialisation role" as well. We believe that food should be served in a clean, organised, dignified, equitable, and friendly manner. To achieve this, we strictly adhere to the serving rules.” says Chandni.
All their meals are served in a clean open space, which is meticulously swept every day, creating a hygienic environment for the children. Prior to eating, they make sure that all children wash their hands with soap, emphasising the importance of hygiene and health. They serve each child an ample quantity of nutritious food, allowing for a second helping if required, ensuring that no child goes hungry.
Voice of Slum also has a strict policy against food wastage. Any extra food, if available, is promptly redistributed to those in need, ensuring that no nourishment goes to waste.
This year, they plan to feed nutritious meals to at least 1,000 slum kids | The cost of feeding one kid for an entire month is approximately 1,200 INR
“When I saw children eating a hearty meal for what is probably the first time in their lives, my heart was full. They were smiling from ear to ear. I am sure that if they are given proper nutrition like that consistently, they will go on to do great things in life.” - Chandni
Thanks to VoS, 825 children have successfully completed the Bridge course, 315 children are currently in formal schools, and over 22 lakh hot meals have been served to them. This year, they plan to feed nutritious meals to at least 1,000 slum kids. The cost of feeding one kid for an entire month is approximately 1,200 INR.
You can be a part of this incredible mission by supporting Feed The Slum. Your contribution can help provide nutritious meals to children living in urban slums. The donations will be used in procuring rice grains, pulses, fresh vegetables and will also pay for the salaries of cooks and other staff.
Every donation, no matter how small, makes a significant difference in the lives of these children. By providing them with access to quality meals, you are nourishing their bodies, minds, and dreams.
Click here to donate.
Registration Number - AAOCM6666MF20229