Share My Dabba – A simple idea with a big impact

The Indian Economy has been doing well in the last few decades but with 25 % of the 1.1 billion people going hungry, India is still the Hunger Capital of the world. In a country where food is a major part of our culture, we waste so much every day. We can see that in restaurant buffets and extravagant weddings.
Food waste in India

One organisation “Happy Life Welfare” in Mumbai is trying to make a difference. They launched “Share My Dabba”, an initiative to get food left uneaten in your lunch boxes to hungry street children, using just a simple “Share” sticker. The logistics is handled by the famous dabbawallah’s of Mumbai. The dabbawallahs are network of food deliverers. They collects freshly cooked food in lunch boxes from the residences of mostly-suburban office workers, delivering it to their respective workplaces and returning the empty boxes back to the customer’s residence by using various modes of transport.

Video: Share my Dabba

The idea started with South Mumbai around Crawford Market. Volunteers spread the word among shops, markets and offices. For people who used the dabbawallah network would put a “share” sticker if someone had left over food. The dabbawallah’s would then gather at a collection point in South Mumbai, the volunteers would collect the food and then the volunteers serve the food from the dabbas to the kids. All this has to work with clockwork precision as the dabbawallahs can’t afford to be late. The whole distribution process is completed in some 15 minutes which the dabbawallahs take to dis-assemble, distribute food, re-arrange the tiffin boxes and leave. A classic example of how a simple idea can save food and feed 100s of children who would otherwise go hungry.

Dabbawallah of Mumbai
Image: Dabbawallah of Mumbai

Children having lunch because of Share the Dabba initiative
Image: “Children having lunch because of “Share the Dabba” initiative

Next time you go fill up your food plate remember to not waste a morsel.