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India 'Community Kitchen' Gives Bohra Women Freedom From Cooking

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
'Community kitchen' gives Bohra women freedom from cooking

Vijaysinh Parmar, TNN | Feb 15, 2012, 04.21AM IST

RAJKOT: After inhaling kitchen smoke for over four decades, Shirin Kapasi, 62, can now breathe easy. Over the past four months, she has stopped cooking for the family. Instead, she has started making imitation jewellery at home and added to the earnings of her husband, an autorickshaw driver.

Kapasi and hundreds of women like her from the Dawoodi Bohra community have been unshackled from the hearth thanks to the 'community kitchen', a concept floated by their religious head Dr Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin about four years ago in Mumbai. The community high priest promoted this idea so that women could devote time for religious activities, focus on children's education or even start small businesses.

Bohras in Rajkot, the main business centre in the region, found the idea appetizing. There are about 2,200 Bohra Muslim families in the city and nearly half of them have started getting tiffins from the community kitchens. The families contribute a fixed sum every month and the food delivered is enough for two meals.

"Women spent most of their time cooking. Our religious head wanted to free them from the kitchens so that they could focus on more constructive work," said Johar Bharmal, 42, a businessman from Bedipara.

Murtuza Fakri, who manages one of five common kitchens in the city, says a five-day training programme is held for the cooks of the community kitchen.

"Bohra families are spread over 13 different localities in the city. About half of them get food from the common kitchen," he says. "The idea is to give nutritious food to all. The community is promoting the practice worldwide."

The prices of tiffins vary from area to area. However, there are many people who contribute much more than their fixed sum so that some poor families get tiffins at subsidized prices.

"The idea is to give same food to all community members irrespective of their economic status,'' Johar said.

source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...freedom-from-cooking/articleshow/11893123.cms



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