Sheena’s school meals project melts hearts and brings Leicester closer together

By Maria Regina Santos Semedo

Two months ago, Sheena Thakrar came across an announcement saying that there would be no more free school meals vouchers for children during half term or Christmas holidays.

For families who were, in some cases, scared to ask for help, Sheena decided to create Project MK in order to give them supplies with which to celebrate the holidays.

She started right away contacting schools and sharing her ideas on social media, and saw the Leicester community starting to get together to contribute by giving different products and donating money.

Sheena explained how her aunt’s death gave her a name for the project: “I lost my Mina Kaki nine years ago. When I had my first meeting with a school and saw that this was really happening, I knew I had to dedicate this to her. That is why it is called Project MK.”

The initial plan was to help 101 families who were celebrating the holidays but ended up helping 140. Reaching families through schools, Sheena discovered that many had no money to even buy a Christmas tree.

She added: “I always asked the kids if they could have anything this Christmas, what would it be. One of them asked me for an angel, and of course I bought him one.”

During the past two months, the project has been able to receive over £3,000 in donations through the website Gofundme and 90 different products to give to the different families.

Despite the project being successful, it faced some difficulties because of the Covid pandemic.

“The whole situation made things vulnerable, but nothing was going to stop me from helping these families,” Sheena explained.

Understanding that people need help all through the year, she still feels very surprised and amazed with everything that has happened.

“The community has come together. Everyone helped me deliver the festive hampers. Family, friends and the community itself were more united than ever.”

Sheema now plans to register the project in order to have a charity number and understand where else help is needed.

She also confided that her biggest dream is to build schools in India, her homeland, and that this project made her have an opportunity. If you wish to know more about this project and its plans, visit Project MK Leicester’s gofundme page and Sheena Thakrar’s Instagram page.

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