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.