Distribution of Ration Cards

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The journey to today’s distribution of ration cards has not been easy. It began over a year ago when the animators of MWSC resolved to help the most deprived families within the community obtain ration cards. These families had all but lost any hope of ever receiving a ration card because every time they had attempted to do so in the past, they had to ask other more educated community members to help them and these members opportunistically asked them for huge amounts of money (500 to 1000 rupees) which the families had no ability to pay. They were repeatedly cheated and given false promises.

Therefore, it was at first difficult for the animators to mobilise the

ommunity and convince them that now they would not encounter similar difficulties. The first step for the animators was to visit families door-to-door to establish who was most deprived and in need of a ration card. Thirty-one families were selected and the animators brought them to the panchayat (local government body) to obtain the necessary requirements – residential certificate, birth certificate and photograph – to obtain their ration cards. 

news_jan12_ration card 3This wasn’t an easy task as many people protested that they did not even have the money to have their photograph taken.  Therefore, much work was done by the animators to motivate and convince the families that paying a little bit now would lead to long-term benefits (in the form of reduced prices for food and fuel) when they received their ration cards. After this, however, it took seven months for the ration cards to arrive. The people began to lose hope again and kept asking the animators when their cards would arrive. It was difficult for the animators to convince them that they were being processed and were on the way, and therefore the community should not lose hope. Eventually on the 11th of February the ration cards arrived, ready for distribution to the families. On the morning of the 11th of February the animators arrived at the panchayat early and waited for the Food Inspector (from the Food and Supply Department) to arrive with the cards. Once he got there, they quickly began filling them in from the application forms of the community. news_jan12_ration card 2One by one community members started to arrive to collect their ration cards. There was some initial anxiety amongst people that they would have to pay 800 – 1000 rupees to get their cards, which reflects the difficulties and corruption they had faced in the past. The Food Inspector quickly informed the concerned group that they would only have to pay the standard five rupees per card. They seemed surprised, but happy and eager to register and get their cards. One by one the cards were distributed. Each community member collected cards for every member of their families. Much work was done by the animators to ensure that the details on the cards were accurate so as to avoid any problems with the use of the cards in the future. There were many happy stories from the day. For, seventy-seven year old, Chandra Bahadur Tamang (left), it was the first time he had ever obtained a ration card despite his old age. He said “today I am not frightened to speak. I will speak up and tell everyone about the ration card and how to get it without paying 800 rupees. Even if the media come, I will speak up”. Upon receiving his cards he sat outside the gram panchayat for a long time staring in disbelief at them.  It was heart-warming to see!

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Sunika Tamang (above) was so delighted with her card that she resolved to go to the ration shop the very next day!

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Animator, Jermina Ekka (right), talked about her experience of the day: “I felt very happy to see the community receive their ration cards today. We put a lot of effort and hard work into mobilising the community to receive their cards. There had been so many false promises. At times I lost hope myself but regained it especially today. Now I will be able to help other families in the community to receive cards also”.