United for compassion is a growing community of passionate activists from different streams who spend every waking moment creating awareness about animal cruelty, apathy and what is wrong with our food, misleading information and the society.
- Cheese Pizza
- Chaas (Buttermilk)
- Cold Coffee
- Chocolate Cake
- Chocolate Ice-Cream
- Tofu Curry
- Chicken Biryani
- Toasted Butter Sandwiches
Why PotlucksThe focus of the potluck, was of course, the food. “There is a huge lacuna in the information available out there about how farm animals are treated,” stated Shweta Savla, head of UFC. “Most non-vegetarians, animal lovers or even the vegetarians who consume milk and other dairy products are not aware about how animals are tortured in the farms and the inhumane practices meted out towards them. And it all starts with the food. This way, people realize that ethical foods are delicious as well.” The potluck was an open event, inviting all vegans and activists to join the meet-up and bring along one vegan dish and bring their non-vegan friends and relatives. The idea is to expose all to dairy-free foods that are so yummy, that often new comers cannot believe that the dishes like cakes, gulab jambuns, cheesecakes brought by other members excludes dairy.
People SpeakManan Desai, who joined the potluck for the first time said, “The food was just amazing and very delicious. I was surprised to find vegan versions of dairy and non-veg items like vegan chaas, cake, chocolate, vegan chicken biryani.”. He continued, “I met some amazing vegan activists involved with United for compassion who are spreading the cause of Veganism through their outreaches, seminars and other activities.” Sumedha, another new-comer, had turned vegetarian a few months ago. She was interested in knowing how dairy-free curds and buttermilk could be made home for her family.
More Than Just About The Food“Such events are very effective for community building,” stated Mohit Shah, A UFC core-member. “When people taste such foods, they realise that they do not need to consume milk or meat. People have started realizing that even though they may not be killing the animals themselves, they pay for the milk or eggs they buy and are directly responsible for the animals’ welfare as well.” UFC organizes a range of events every month. Join the WhatsApp group for stay tuned to the website for forthcoming event details.
Unique ConceptThe unique event was conceptualized by UFC activist and yoga instructor, Nikita Solanki, to convey a strong message to people across India to celebrate Holi naturally without harming our skin and the environment as well. The event eliminated the use of organic or chemical colours. Nikita Solanki stated, “If we celebrate Holi in this unique manner, we can set an example to other people to follow the same environment-conscious principles in their own way for not only Holi, but other festivals as well.”
Green HoliUFC advocates for the celebration of a cruelty-free Holi so that innocent animals like stray animals, farm animals and local birds are not teased or ill-treated. Shweta Savla, Head of UFC stated, “Many people have not yet understood that animals do not enjoy Holi. Often people throw colours on stray dogs and cows and the chemicals in the colours can harm these innocent creatures and damage their eyes. Dogs and cats often lick themselves and if the chemicals are ingested, the effects are dangerous and can even be fatal.”
India’s First Plastic-Free & Zero-Waste FestivalSpecial efforts were made by the organizers to source the natural colours for festival. Dhruv Solanki, one of the core-members of UFC said, “We sourced vegetables and fruits from the local market at very economical prices. Most of the veggies and fruits were of second-grade quality. They were clean, though not edible. We brought the materials home the previous day, cleaned the veggies and fruits well. We added some water to tomatoes, beet, papaya peels and coriander leaves to extract natural colours like red, scarlet pink orange and green. We brought ready packets of multani matti and besan, which are also every good for the skin. Moreover, we collected ash from Holi pyres the previous evening and fallen flowers from local plants as well.” The event was a huge success and the venue was packed to the brim with people who enjoyed playing with these harmless and unique colours. We pasted each other with all these elements and even squashed tomatoes over each other’s heads. The venue partners served dairy-free thandai and chilled coffee as well.
After-EffectsThe following day, the revelers gushed that their skin felt radiant after the celebrations. The multani matti and turmeric are natural exfoliating agents that helped the face and skin feel fresh. This was very unlike regular Holi being celebrated that left oily streaks on the skin, which would not wash off for many days, and irritates the eyes as well.
Note: All expenses incurred in events not directly related to animal-activism are borne individually by UFC activists.
IS IT SO DIFFICULT?
Imagine a future you that says “I’m doing my best to live without harming others”. Does that feel good? Does it feel right? You can be that person right now.
It starts by going vegan.
We, at UFC, are inviting all individuals, groups and organizations to contribute donations to help us become stronger and grow as a group. We are involved with a broad spectrum of projects ranging from street activism to demos and workshops.
We welcome you to partner with us by donating monthly, or on a regular basis or as per convenience. Contact us on email@example.com for more details.
UFC welcomes volunteers from across the India and the world to join the movement. Let’s join hands to build a compassionate community.
If you are vegan, are passionate about doing something to protect animal cruelty, then we welcome you to join us. If you are based in any city across India, or even overseas, you can still join United For Compassion to support them towards the cause of saving animals and birds from cruelty.
We require technical and specialized support, both, online and offline across various projects that we are working on. Contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief description about your interests and skills you have to share. We would be very happy to connect with you.
16-Dec 2018, Shivaji Park: On Saturday evenings, most of the working people are on their way back home relieved that they can relax and connect with family and friends during the weekend. But not for this Mumbai-based group. After college or work, members of United For Compassion head to a predetermined location to group, exchange warm greetings and set up their iPad floor stands.
Once their equipment is setup, they invite people to view short videos or approach walkers, students or engage passer-bys in sparing a few minutes of their time. “Most people stop and listen, as we are not here to sell products or we are not part of any marketing campaign,” said Pankaj Maurya, one of the senior members of UFC. “Most people are first intrigued, then appalled about the conditions of the dairy industry and the brutally honest videos of the conditions of agriculture farming in India and across the world,.” added Shweta Savla, Co-Founder of UFC.
This motley group of passionate animal lovers, all dressed in black self-designed hoodies with messages of peace, go beyond the scope of regular responsibilities to create awareness in the society. “Everyday, in some way, via whatsapp or social media, we are constantly sharing news or facts and studies that throw light of the atrocities of the dairy industry. Initially, most people show signs of indifference, or are sceptic, but once we show them videos, the reality sinks in“, pointed out Mohit Shah.
Since the UFC animal liberation march on 1 December in the same area, UFC had organized one in Bandra last week as well. UFC encourages people to ditch dairy and meats through talk, videos and distribution of printed informational booklets as well.
The early February (3 February 2019) morning was a perfect winter Sunday for Equal Street in Linking Road, Bandra. The weather was cool, not nippy, the lush neighbourhood green trees swayed in the quiet breeze. One of the highlights was a small table set-up that featured delicious foodstuffs made by professionals.
The outreach witnessed a crowd of youngsters and children who were shocked when they learned about the cruelty of animal agriculture and other forms of animal abuse. Many of them were completely unaware of the cruel practices prevalent in the Indian diary industry like the forcible artificial insemination of cows, the killing of infant male calves and so on. Some Equal Street participants also agreed to drop meat and dairy, and join UFC movement in the future.
Volunteers showed videos of the cruelty meted out to farm animals and appealed to them to eliminate animal products from their diet and lifestyle. “But if we leave milk, we will miss cheese!” exclaimed a horrified onlooker who was immediate guided to a food table laden with home-made cheesy vegetable dip and a shot of buttermilk. Most onlookers’ reaction ranged from pleasant surprise to awe to know that such ethical food options can easily be made at home. This dynamic group of people included diverse professionals and students who have been walking the talk by living ethically for many years. This time, part of the 20+ strong team was UFC.
All UFC members are vegans and their primary goal is to encourage others to drop animal products like dairy, eggs, honey and meat from their diet and silk, leather and down based apparels from their lifestyle as well.
Equipped with nothing but mobiles and tabs, we share well-researched information backed by videos and appeal to viewers to educate themselves and rethink their lifestyle choices.Shweta Savla, Co-Founder UFC
Also joining forces with UFC was The Save Movement, an international awareness group, organized by David Andrew Ramsden and Anni Lankinen (in lead image) who are in Mumbai to lend their support to the rapidly growing vegan movement. During their visit to the city, they conducted vigils across the suburban dairy farms and local slaughterhouses to witness the proceeding and share the details with people as a part of their ongoing awareness campaigns.
Other members of the movement whose contributions made an indelible impression were Ruchika Chitrabhanu, Co-Founder of India’s largest compassion-based event, One Earth Festival in Mumbai; Mayavi Khandelwal, Founder of My Pure Path and Shilpa Gupta.
29 December 2018, Mumbai: It was a chilly post-Christmas evening when the activists gathered near Bat Of Honour at Carter Road, Bandra. It was a pleasant surprise for UFC Founder, Shweta Savla to see senior members turn up for the outreach. Greeting were exchanged followed by warm hugs as they caught with each other. This time there were five new activists who had learnt about the outreach from social media and decided to join in.
Senior activists, Hitesh Shah and Mohit Shah quickly set-up their iPad stands, and distributed the iPads and tabs amongst the team members, in a quick synchronised move, a practice honed after months of outreach work.
The team broke up in pairs or individually and started speaking to people. Some approached group of walkers with short films about the dark world of factory farming. The films played their role in making an impact while the activists explained how purchasing dairy unwittingly pays for the cruelty meted out to farm animals.
Other activists like Chhaya Phadkar appealed to groups of youths passing by and softly and attempted to sensitize them into the pain the animals are put though and to make a difference if they were more alert and aware about the food they ate.
New Activists & Icy Treats
One of the highlights of the programme was the presence of 5 new activists that evening. All of them were vegans for over a year and learnt about the UFC outreach programme and decided to join in. Few had even done outreaches abroad as well. New activists Vlad Alex, Pop Dancer and Rittika Chadha, Designer have been vegan for a year and had done outreaches in Budapest and other cities as well. They were on a break to Mumbai and decided to join UFC that day. There were others who were new to activism, but had been vegan for over 2 years. “These are just some of the examples of how the vegan movement is growing each day. There are so many people becoming vegan that we are yet to connect to. And this is also how UFC is growing steadily as well. Today we saw about 30 activists in outreach programme. We must have reached around 100 people collectively.”, stated Shweta.
The outreach concluded with a pleasant surprise from Savla. She had organized ice lolly treats for everybody. As all activists relished the lollies the chilly December evening, they started discussing the outreach planned the following day at Marine Drive.
UFC Activist Rajat Wadhwa who held an outreach at Vashi with a friend at the same time, said that people in this area are not aware about veganism, and when they saw the films, they are appalled at the conditions in farm factories. “We are planting the seeds today at the grassroot level”, he said. “The outreach process is slow, as it could take more such interactions before people open up to making lifestyle changes”, pointed out Shweta.
“The outreaches have also had some heart-warming results. It was on one of these outreaches that the activists spoke to somebody who decided to turn vegan overnight and join the group for activism. This is one of the many remarkable encounters that helps drive the UFC group to appeal to more people,” said Wadhwa before he signed off.
Each day of outreach is an enriching experience for the activists. And this day was memorable because more activists joined forces with UFC in their ongoing efforts. Additionally, new vegans enthusiastically joined in the effort and the interactions that followed were warm and new connections were formed.