It's 2018 and for most people eating a meal out of a 'Dabba' may seem too antiquated, but for millions who live in Mumbai, Dabbawalas are synonymous with home.
Read more: Dabbawalas Ensure That No One Stays Hungry In Aamchi Mumbai, Here's How They Do It
People who leave home in quest of a better future, those who forget their tiffins, those who stay alone and many others who just can't bring their own meals, Dabbawalas have been a constant support with home-like food, every day, around the year.
But this isn't the only thing they are famous for. Their magnanimous yet so well-articulated system has been serving as a case study in many top B-schools, yet, there is so much more to them. In December 2015, the Mumbai Dabbawala Association (MDA) came up with a plan to feed the destitute, needy and homeless people of the city.
This initiative gave birth to the 'Roti Bank' - an association collects leftover food from functions and distributes it among the poor. Since its advent, their waste management drive has saved Rs 40 lakh worth of food from getting wasted.
"From the eyes of dabbawalas, Mumbai as a city has two different sides. On one hand are the well-to-do families which generate humongous food waste and on the other hand is the downtrodden society that cannot even afford one meal in a day. Being one of the largest food delivery services in India, we thought it was our duty to bridge the gap between two and thus was born Roti Bank" said Subhash Talekar, the man behind the initiative, reports NDTV.
Read more: Mumbai Roti Bank Joins Hands With Dabbawalas To Feed The Needy
The MDA team has collaborated with many caterers, wedding planners and food joints across Mumbai. They also accept donations from individuals, communities or anyone who wants to help feed people. They then travel to different locations, collect food, check its hygienic standards and then distribute it within the next 3-4 hours.
On an average, they serve 300-400 people on a daily basis.
They go to hospitals, railway stations, slums, religious institutes and everywhere else that catches their eye. They engage themselves in drives, initiatives, events and encourage people to donate more and waste less food.
In the same vein, they have also kickstarted a 'Clothing Bank', collecting discarded clothes for the same purpose. It's quite amazing the kind of ambition the MDA team has taken for the welfare of people.
It is heartwarming to see what we as humans can do for our fellow beings if we have the right intent. Thanks to these guys lesser people sleep on an empty stomach and if join hands, maybe, one day, no one will go hungry. We salute the spirit and deeds of the dabbawalas! You guys are awesome.
Read more: This Video Of Mumbai's Dabbawalas Taking Small Steps To Make The City Diabetes Free Is Inspiring
- In this file photo, dabbawalas of Mumbai push their cart laden wth lunchboxes through the streets of Mumbai.
- Rob Elliott/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Flipkart Internet is tapping into one of India’s most efficient offline distribution networks to deliver packages: the dabbawalas of Mumbai.
Made famous for their steadfast delivery of freshly-made lunches in tiffins or ‘dabbas’ from people’s homes to the desks of office workers for more than a century, the dabbawalas navigate Mumbai’s maze every day using a complex code to sort through and deliver thousands of lunchboxes. They’ve even featured in a Harvard case study titled “The Dabbawala System: On-Time Delivery Every Time.”
Flipkart said in a statement on Friday it had partnered with one of the unions of the deliverymen in Mumbai. Their efficiency served as inspiration for how to conduct business and keep costs down, the statement said.
Here’s how it will work: The dabbawalas will only drop off prepaid deliveries to customers, while picking up their lunch boxes. They will not pick up packages from sellers. The plan is to expand the program include training the dabbawalas to use apps, according to the statement.
Other e-commerce companies have also experimented with inventive ways to expand their presence in the Indian market and deliver packages to customers in areas that are hard to reach.
Amazon.com Inc. said in 2014 it was considering joining forces with India’s vast network of tiny mom-and-pop shops that would allow customers to pick up their online orders from small neighborhood stores. It also tied up with India’s largest gas station chain owners, Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd., to test the a pick-up service. In 2013, Amazon started using India Post in order to try to reach deep into the country’s hinterland.