Model Citizen: ‘I dream of a world where no one has to go to bed hungry’

Only last December, 26-year-old Subbulakshmi R was at the Girls Home in Vyasarpadi, helping the students deal with the havoc that the flood had created. Over the course of the year, she, along with the support of other volunteers helped get the place in order. Exactly a year later, nature has unleashed its wrath on this home for destitute girls once again.
Model Citizen: ‘I dream of a world where no one has to go to bed hungry’
Subbulakshmi (second from left) helping a senior citizen

Chennai

“I have seen fear in the eyes of these girls when they struggled through the waist-deep water last year. This year, the cyclone has taken away the roof from them. Now we are working on giving them a safe shelter,” says Subbulakshmi, who has been involved in social work since her college days. 
Cyclone Vardah may have unleashed its fury on the city, but she is confident that Chennai will get right back on its feet and fight back. “The challenges won’t stop, but we have to lead by example,” she says. 
Holding a full-time job in the tourism industry, Subbulakshmi spends her spare time and weekends doing social work. “In college, we used to have events on social awareness. The one that made an impact on me was on tobacco. A group of us went to the shops near schools and colleges with banners and asked people smoking there to drop their cigarettes Those days, there was no ban on selling these products outside educational institutions,” she recalls. 
Working with NGOs on various social welfare projects after she passed out of college opened her eyes to many issues. “Feeding the needy is one initiative that is close to my heart. You will often find me and other volunteers from the NGO, going around the city with food packets to feed the hungry. Think of how uncomfortable we get when we have to skip one meal? There are people out there who cannot afford a meal,” she says. 
She says that she is glad to touch people’s life. “There is this one lady we came across on Mount Road. She had no proper clothes, her eyesight was poor and she told us that she hadn’t eaten in three days. She was almost in tears when we handed her the food packet. That was an emotional moment for all of us present there. Now, whenever I pass that area, I ensure that I deliver food packets to her.” Subbulakshmi dreams of a world where no one goes hungry. 
— As told to Vipasha Sinha

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