A board put up on the hut reads: “Take what you need, leave what you can”. Anyone can leave anything, from farm surplus to food to essential commodities, etc.
While COVID-19 was wreaking havoc across India, besides the government, several philanthropic organisations were putting in every effort to help people in need. Some young people in Notun Leikul Village, in Assam State, carried out a social experiment, bearing in mind the dignity of their tribe.
As the coronavirus disease and social restrictions put in place due to it brought a difficult time of hardships, some young people in a village in India’s Assam state have set up a ‘Blessing Hut’, as a kind gesture, helping anyone in need.
The idea evolved as the lockdowns and various other restrictions kept a lot of people away from work for months.
Anyone can donate essential items in the ‘Blessing Hut’, set up to help alleviate financial challenges being faced by the villagers and the needy, and anyone can take anything.
Talking about how the ‘Blessing Hut’ evolved, Pasiem Singson, a member of the village youth club that came up with this idea, shared with Sputnik how it all started.
“One day while returning back from his farm, the youth club’s secretary Lalngam Hengna brought a bunch of bananas. He kept them outside the community centre and dropped a message on the village’s WhatsApp group, saying that whosoever wants it can collect it for free,” he stated.
“From there, I thought why shouldn’t we do this in a much organised way and shared the idea in the group. It was welcomed by all,” he added.
Later, another club member, Lienna Singson, donated timber for use building the hut. Soon, other people started donating things.
Located at the foot of Hempeuet Peak (locally called ‘Simit Bung’), the second-highest peak in Assam, the village is home to the Kuki tribe, with over 90 households and a population of more than 450 people.
“The main motive behind setting up the hut was to help fellow villagers, keeping their dignity intact,” said Pasiem.
A board put up on the hut reads: “Take what you need, leave what you can”.
Anyone can leave anything, from farm surplus to food to essential commodities, to school stationery to books, etc. This way, if anyone cannot afford food or anything, he or she can collect it from there without looking at others for help.
Citing an example, Pasiem shared, as people cultivating vegetables and fruits were not able to sell their produce due to the curfew, their crops were rotting in the fields up on the hills.
“So, the ones willing to help others can just walk in and donate such items and the needy are taking them to consume. Our purpose is to ensure that nobody in and around us goes to sleep without food during this difficult time,” he added.
The hut was inaugurated by the local pastor on 25 May this year. Now, with the ease in COVID restrictions, donations have also started from Haflong Town, located 11 kilometres from the village.
Asked about how they are monitoring the donations or those who are taking away the things, Pasiem said no such record has to be maintained. “We have noticed that the vegetables, clothes, rice, etc. are disappearing in a day or two which itself tells the success story of the hut.”
Apart from the Blessing Hut, the people of Notun Leikul donated green vegetables from their farms in the containment zones in Haflong Town twice during the month of May.
In the second week of May, a mass Rapid Antigen Test for COVID-19 was conducted in the village by a health team from Jatinga state dispensary and no one tested coronavirus positive.