Sikh community is famous both for their large heartedness and courage. The latest news is perfectly in sync with the popular perception. A Sikh NGO has set up a Langar in ISIS territory. Giving a twist to the concept of Langar, large-hearted Sikhs have now taken their traditional community kitchen to one of the most dangerous places on earth today – Syria.
Langar Aid, an extension of UK-based NGO Khalsa Aid, have collaborated with Syrian locals to provide fresh bread to nearly around 14000 refugees in the strife-torn region for several months.
Langar Aid, an extension of UK-based NGO Khalsa Aid, is located in the Pesh Harbour area, about 35km from the Kurdish city of Duhok and 10km from the Syrian border. Almost 70 % of the members of Langar Aid have Punjabi roots, besides some European volunteers as well.
Instead of the classic kitchen, Langar Aid set up a bakery because Islamic State fighters were destroying any food coming in for the Yazidis. While Khalsa Aid provided the machinery and Joint Help for Kurdistan gave a new building to house the bakery, the local government in Duhok is providing free power.
“Refugees often mistake us for IS because of our appearance but that not deterred this unique force. ” said Ravi Singh, CEO of Khalsa Aid.
“I was there about two months back and it was a very overwhelming experience. It was poignant to meet a family that had fled from their homes with their 10-monthold child and they were pleasantly surprised to find aid in the middle of nowhere,” Singh said.
On the other side of Syria, on the Lebanon-Syrian border, the organization is helping refugees by running a school for 5,000 local children. “The idea is to take the langar outside the walls of the gurdwara and share food with people who need it the most,” added Hothi.
Khalsa political ideology is based on two simple universal principles: feed all and protect all, without discrimination. Some time back, Khalsa Aid has also helped Syrian refugees in Serbia. This time they are bringing help directly to the war-torn area.