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. 

“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
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

Image Credits: Jaipur Foot

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.

Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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