Weʼre raising £300 to Help Binoop & Mukesh After Kerala Floods Destroyed Their Business
- 4 days to go
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If you don't already know, India is a very hard place to live. If you're born poor, or in one of the poorer states, it's almost impossible to improve your situation. There is no 'ladder' to climb, very little state support and a very harsh social system that looks down on 'the lower classes.'
We knew this about India when we went to visit, but meeting the people behind the stereotype made it so much more real. Binoop is an incredible guy who has worked hard to start his own homestay - Clouds Land - in Kerala. He does literally ALL the work: cleaning the rooms, cooking for guests, check-in, arranging tours, accounts, admin, marketing - you name it. He also treats you like his family and goes above and beyond if you need anything. He came to pick us up when he knew we wouldn't be able to get a tuk-tuk, he drove to the next town to find medicine we needed and he made mosquito spray appear pretty much out of thin air (just to name a few.) Binoop lives three and a half hours away from his elderly parents, wife and baby, because there's no tourism around their home. He only gets to see them a few times a year, .
Mukesh is a chicken farmer and Binoop's best friend. He runs an organic chicken farm, and doesn't use harmful medications and sells his chickens fresh every day. He also has a wife and children to support. We weren't able to learn as much about Mukesh as his English wasn't as good. He said his one dream was to learn better English so he could start to work in the tourism industry (which is where most of the money in Kerala is.)
Both Binoop and Mukesh only have GCSE-level education, because in India you have to pay for anything higher and they both come from poor families. Despite this, they've used their initiative and ingenuity to start businesses and support their families.
Unfortunately, DISASTER STRUCK about six months ago, when the whole of Kerala suffered from massive floods . Not only did this mean they had to do massive repairs on their property, but its halved the amount of visitors that stay in the area. Binoop is currently charging half the usual price for his rooms, and Mukesh can sometimes only sell one chicken a day. It's got so bad that Binoop isn't sure whether he can last through the low season (which is June-August for them.) If he can't, he'll have to give up the property and move back into his parents house. He says he might start a homestay there, but isn't sure whether there will be enough visitors. His wife is currently pregnant with another child, so his money worries are very real. He told us that his one dream is to be able to look after his family when his parents are very old.
We spoke to them about potentially writing a cookbook, as the dishes Binoop cooked were the best food we had in India!! He was very excited about the business proposal, but it's not something that we can guarantee will make money quickly. We also tipped him an extra £10 (which, let's face it, is nothing) and he said it had made his day.
This got me thinking about all the things we easily throw away £10 on: a Maccy D's after a night out, a top we'll never wear, cocktails after work, a taxi ride when we could take the bus, a ten-bag or bottle of voddy for the weekend. Things that aren't necessities in anyway. I suddenly thought that, if everyone I knew could donate as little as £10 (or even less) we might be able to make a real difference to these guys' lives.
Binoop needs £800 to guarantee he can survive the low-season, and English classes for Mukesh will cost even less. However, I've put the target at £300 because I want to actually ensure we give them something. Even the smallest amount could make a major difference in getting them through this difficult time.
Yes, there are other people in need in India and, yes, some of them are worse off than Binoop and Mukesh... but change has to start somewhere and this is a cause where I KNOW we can make an actual difference.
So dig as deep or as shallow as you can, and I will be forever grateful to every one of you!
Masoud with Binoop and Mukesh
Clouds Land kitchen and Binoop's home
Delicious food cooked by Binoop, with chicken from Mukesh
Our beautiful room in Clouds Land
Binoop's poster, which perfectly summarises his kind heart and loving personality.
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The Conways x
Feb 16, 2019
Happy to help 👍
Feb 16, 2019
Hope this helps them through this difficult time.
Feb 5, 2019
Feb 5, 2019
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one” - Mother Teresa
Feb 5, 2019
Feb 1, 2019
Feb 1, 2019
What a lovely idea. Paying it forward
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About the fundraiser
I'm just an average English person with more privilege than I will ever truly realise! I love to travel and it teaches me so much about how incredible humans are and why we need to change the world!!