KATHMANDU: At noon everyday Minhaz Khan from Bijay Chowk, Gaushala makes his way to his coffee shop in Thamel in his father’s old pickup filled with packed biryani (a rice dish) to distribute among the poor, homeless workers, foreigners and street children, who wait for his arrival outside his shop.
Khan, 38, an entrepreneur, started distributing food to the poor and needy since March 25 under his Menz Foundation. “In the initial days, there used to be 60-70 people; now I serve more than 200 people every day,” informed Khan. So far he has been able to feed more than 8,000 people.
And the distribution of food is not limited to his Thamel coffee shop; he has been reaching out “to the needy in various parts of the City like Baneshwore including slum areas along Bagmati corridor”.
His wife Roshni, 26, and two brothers — Hassan,12 and Hussain, 14 along with Khan prepare the food which “starts at 6:00 am and goes for hours. After packing it all, I head towards the regular point (his coffee shop) to distribute it around 12:00 noon, and finish by 2:00 pm”.
His work does not end here — after this Khan heads out to various public offices, health posts and other areas to carry out disinfection work. “Disinfection is very essential as it’s the only weapon that kills the virus. So every day I disinfect various places of the City with a hydrochloride spray,” said Khan adding, “As my father is in dyeing business, we have hydrochloride stock. I am using it to make society safe, as much as I can.”
Khan has also been distributing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to essential workers and offices which he makes in his own factory at Chaumati. “I feel in this uncertain time, it’s important for everyone to remain safe, and PPE is the best way to keep oneself safe,” shared Khan who has distributed more than 1,200 PPEs to media organisations, medical facilities and volunteers, among many others.
He assures these PPEs are designed under the World Health Organsation standard and a team of 10-15 individuals and 60-65 machines have been actively working to bring out these PPEs, which are made of “Gore-Tex fabric which can be used as a rain coat and can be washed and re-used”.
Khan credits his father as his motivation. “I am following in the footsteps of my father Shamim Khan. He has always been open and ready about helping others. He is the inspiration behind my efforts.”
The inner satisfaction Minhaz gets makes him continue with his selfless efforts. “A mother feeds her child with the food I give right in front of me, a foreigner who’s been stuck here looks at me with love and respect, a street child tries touching my feet after he receives his meal. This leaves me with great satisfaction.”
Minhaz is using his savings for this. “I had my savings which I am using. I will continue till they last. But I have plans to continue this service until the lockdown ends.”
Appealing to everyone to support each other, he said, “There are less poor than rich in the City. If everybody gets concerned and reaches out to the needy ones in the community, then no one will die of hunger.”