New Delhi, Jan 27: When we say bank, one can only think of money, but can you imagine a bank which provides clothes?
"In fact, I saw many people, especially elders and children, shivering in the biting cold as they were wearing torn or insufficient clothes. This gave me an idea to do something about the problem," Mukati told IANS.
He passed the word around the communities to come forward and donate whatever extra clothes people could manage.
The response was most encouraging, he said.
"The only condition was that though the clothes may be used, they should not be torn or worn out, so we can directly donate them to the poor people. I was surprised when within two days, I got a 'deposit' of around 600 full sets of clothes and we could open the 'Kapda Bank' on the auspicious Republic Day," Mukati said.
All clothes are carefully examined for any wear/tears, missing buttons, hooks, loose stiching, segregated according to size and gender, then sent for dry-cleaning and ironing before they are given in transparent plastic bags to the beneficiaries.
The first day saw a large number of poor men, women and children, mostly slumdwellers, trooping down to collect the clothes.
Mukati's team of volunteers checked out their 'yellow ration cards' indicating they fall in the below poverty line (BPL) category and gave them one set of clothes each after noting down their names, addresses, etc.
"This is to ensure that people don't come repeatedly for more clothes and we can cast the net wide for beneficiaries. We want them to wear and use the clothes and not give them away or even sell them cheap. We want everbody to appear dignified with decent clothes," said Mukati.
Now, people are encouraged to donate their extra or unused shoes, slippers, sweaters, bedsheets, rugs, pillows, mattresses, etc, which can be given to the poor through the Kapda Bank.
This is the second major initiative by HMIC after launching the Roti Bank on December 5 last year, which has elicited response from social organizations and groups across India.
Advised and inspired by Mukati, the Badavara Bandhu Charitable Trust, Mysuru started a Roti Bank which was inaugurated on Tuesday by Rajmata Pramodadevi Wodeyar at Mahaveera Nagar in the erstwhile royal kingdom.
Mukati said that inspired by the HMIC initiative, around 250 organisations from all over India are in touch with him and want to launch similar roti banks in their areas.
Besides the Roti Bank and the Kapda Bank, the HMIC contributes to women's uplift with an academic centre for 2,000 girls in which they impart regular spiritual and vocational education in 15 different vocations, including yoga, fashion designing and computers.
(With inputs from agencies)