For 44 Years, Jaipur Foot Helped 1.73 Million Amputees And Polio Patients Stand Again

Image Credits: Jaipur Foot

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” Nobody recognises a wonder in its process, but once if the wonder happens, there is no need for its recognition.”

Jaipur Foot, an organisation based in Jaipur, Rajasthan, who have realised what they are doing is just a help to fellow brothers and sisters of this huge family. Tens and Thousands of amputees in the developing world wear Jaipur foot. Jaipur Foot was established by former Indian Administrative Services officer Dr Devendra Raj Mehta to provide free of cost artificial limbs to poor and needy amputees. Since its inception in 1975, there has been tremendous growth in patients.

People from remote corners of India and the world come to Jaipur Foot for the prosthetic implants as it is lighter and certified as the best artificial limb in the world due to its inexpensiveness and mobility as an attribute. At the entrance of Jaipur Foot amputees walking with artificial limbs with a smile on all on their face can be seen. There are many rooms which just have thin partitions, and one of the representatives took me to Dr Devendra Raj Mehta, founder of Jaipur Foot.

This 78-year-old mighty man described that India is still a ground for amputees, and there are millions of unattended people. In his words, “The biggest sins of humankind are ignorance and unavoidable suffering”. They do not maintain a trade secret, everyone can see the manufacturing and understand the innovation of Jaipur Foot. Whether the patient is rich or poor, if the amputee come in the morning, by evening he/she will be given the limb for free of cost. 

Jaipur Foot, workshop

His decision to provide limbs for free was often challenged by donors, strategists but when the finances come into the picture he says “I am the biggest beggar in India”. He is ready to beg for his entire life for people he is committed but not ready to take a single penny from them. It seemed that selflessness has been redefined again. 

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“The minute you start instituting a charge for your service, the most vulnerable populations are the first sector of society to be marginalised, and it’s precisely this sector of the society that you wish to serve the most”. Dr Mehta opined. 

But still, I was keen on knowing the financial management of the organisation because my next big question is about the sustainability of the organisation. Jaipur Foot functions only on donations that too only if the donor comes and visits the hospital. 

I was awestruck with these financial principles and later I got to know more about Dr. Mehta.Today the question of sustainability is the nightmare for several social purpose organisations in India. Simple and great decisions by Dr. Mehta and team kept Jaipur Foot running for over 44 years now. Such is the dedication of the organisation as the organisation towards its donation policies that even the Prime Minister of India was given a simple welcome without any garland or a red carpet when he visited the organisation.

Today, people with Jaipur Foot are driving cars, completing a marathon, stitching clothes, dancing, and working shoulder to shoulder in various fields with others. Nothing could stop them even though their legs got imputed. One invention has restored their dignity, financial status, human relations and equity in the society.

Dr Mehta listens to people and their problems with a compassionate heart.  He provides cycles, financial support for small businesses and creates another support mechanism to people who are in need. He takes care of people by providing food, accommodation, and the amputees find friends and stay in touch.

The language of social purpose organisations often stuck with quarterly reports, sustainability, logical framework analysis, but are we addressing the problem? How do you develop respect for people in the society for whom you are working? These fundamental questions of mine got answered when I visited Jaipur Foot.

There is a perfect convergence of Universal Human values and operating spaces coming with integrity in Jaipur Foot. The organisation runs without hierarchy while I realised that, this work of showing the entire unit and taking people around can be done any of them and today Dr. Mehta did it. He shares his table with his personal secretary and said “All my life I was in a separate and big room equipped with big tables, separate and big houses but I also have a bigger heart to accommodate everyone possible”. 

Sampath Hari(second from left) with Dr Mehta at Jaipur Foot organisation.

After the interaction, it was all silence from within. I sat down in a small tea shop outside the office and was in sort of penance. Several thoughts were just flowing in my mind at that time but when I looked into myself and questioned “Will you be able to do something like this?” then a person came and offered me tea and while he was going back, I could observe his leg which is also artificial. Then my realisation came on the forefront and tickled me and said “Who am I do something for people who already have enough strength? All I can do is to tap the existing strength and provide resources that enable them to get back their own capacities”.

I earned humbleness from Dr. Mehta, his intention of working with people ignited my fire and made me look into myself.

 –Authored by : Sampath Hari, student of the 3rd batch of the Post Graduate Programme at Indian School of Development Management.  

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It's not how much we give
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‘Happy Fridge’: The Key To Bridge Food Wastage And Hunger Problem In India

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Rahul Khera and Gautam Jindal, volunteers (aka hunger heroes) at Feeding India, were among the many Delhi NCR residents accustomed to seeing hungry children pick up half-eaten burgers or stale sandwiches from the dustbin and savour those with the brightest smiles. Like many others, they also had the will to promote equitable food distribution but was perplexed about the approach, until they learnt about the community fridge initiative which has gained unprecedented success in Saudi Arabia and few other European countries. Meanwhile, community fridges were already being installed outside restaurants or in public places in a handful of cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Coimbatore and Kochi.

Say Goodbye To Throwing Away Excess Food Because Now You Can Donate The Food To The Needy – Happy Fridge

Thank you for overwhelming response for the Happy Fridge concept. We need more funds from you to install more fridges like this across India. With the limited funds avaialble Feeding India was able to install three fridges only. Kindly donate here http://bit.ly/happyfridge

Posted by The Logical Indian on Saturday, October 27, 2018

Needless to mention, with a shocking 103rd rank in the Global Hunger Index and a food wastage estimate of around Rs 58,000 crore – India was perhaps the best country to implement such an initiative. With Gautam’s help, an enthusiastic Rahul invested his own savings to install a ‘Happy Fridge’ outside his residence at Sun City, Sector 54 in Gurgaon. Set up in 2017 by these Feeding India volunteers, the fridge in Gurgaon has inspired the NGO to scale up the project across India.

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

‘Happy Fridge’ fostered many smiles

It didn’t take long for the local residents to learn about this laudable endeavour. They welcomed it, as wastage of excess food was a recurring problem in almost every household. “Intimating the localities was no mammoth task, thanks to social media. However, it was difficult to spread the word among those who actually needed the food,” shares Rahul, who went from auto stands to slums, inviting rickshaw pullers, ragpickers or roadside vendors to avail the community fridge any time they feel hungry. “The security guards of our residential complex played a huge role in explaining how the fridge works to the beneficiaries,” he adds.

The operational and maintenance costs of the ‘ happy fridge ‘ are being maintained diligently by the community members.

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Making memories, sprouting awareness

“I remember one young man who had arrived from a village looking for some menial day job. Somehow he had run out of his paltry savings and had no money to buy one decent meal a day. For about a month, our happy fridge was his solace, till he earned his first salary from a housekeeping job,” shares a jubilant Rahul.

In another incident, a truck driver returning in the wee hours of midnight was starving after a whole day’s hard work. He had run out of cooking fuel at his home, so our fridge was at his rescue.

“The residents keep all sorts of palatable dishes in the happy fridge, ranging from dry snacks, fruits to cooked meals. Sometimes, they even keep raw vegetables, to ensure not a single bit of good food ends up in their trash while other people go hungry to bed,” reveals Rahul.

On an average, each happy fridge supplies around 10-15 meals in a day. The gratitude and pure smiles of the hungry souls after a fulfilling meal are more than enough to continue to motivate Rahul and his neighbours. In fact, inspired by him, many other communities in the Delhi-NCR region set up community fridges in their areas.

Feeding India will set up 500 Happy Fridges

Since the past few years, Feeding India has been a prominent organisation working in the forefront to solve the hunger problem in India. Primarily, they were involved in redistributing leftover food from weddings and parties among the underprivileged people in different cities of India. Their volunteers, better known as “Hunger Heroes of India”, worked actively to bridge the gap between food wastage and food crisis.

“We used to get a lot of calls from individual households to collect their excess food. However, unfortunately, we lacked the manpower and planning to launch our programme on a door to door basis. We were desperately looking for an alternative when we learnt about the community fridges,” shares Srishti Jain, co-founder of Feeding India.

After interacting with Rahul Khera and other campaigners of community fridges, Feeding India decided to amplify this extraordinary project throughout the length and breadth of India. Presently, they have launched the #FightFoodWaste campaign to install 500 community fridges – nicknamed ‘ Happy Fridge ’. So any passer-by – be it a kid going to school without a lunchbox, or a labourer returning home late at night with no promise of a dinner – can now grab a pack of biscuits or a bowl of ‘dal-chawal’ (rice & lentil soup) to satiate their hunger. Click here to contribute for ‘ Happy Fridge ‘ and ensure India never sleeps hungry again.

Feeding India also urges everyone to make a promise to stop wasting food and instead consider donating it to those in need.

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Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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