Tapan Aslot had always seen his entire family working for the needy. So in the year 1998, when he was just nine years old, he decided to follow the footsteps of his elders.
With the help of his father Pratul Aslot and the Lions Club team of Surat, Tapan skated a distance of 700 km from Vapi to Nadiyad in a span of 21 days and raised about Rs. 2.5 lakh for children with learning and physical disabilities.
When Pratul went to donate the amount, he saw one man giving out the equipment required for differently abled children for free. He was so inspired by the act that he bought two wheelchairs, one oxygen cylinder and one walker and decided to give them out for free as well. A newspaper advertisement was published about the equipment, which invited people regardless of their caste, creed or religion to take the equipments for free and return it once they don’t need it.
Within a few months, all the equipment was given away and the Aslot family bought more equipment. As people came to know about the Aslots’ noble initiative, they started donating equipment too.
“We never imagined that there would be so many people who would approach us. But we never said no to anyone. We would buy new equipment and give it out if we ran out,” says Pratul Aslot.
There were a few sour experiences too where people would not return wheelchairs etc, hence they decided to take a fully refundable deposit while giving out the equipment.
What started with just four equipment has now turned into an NGO called Aslot Manav Sahay Kendra, which has more than 450 pieces of equipment.
“There have been cases where people touch our feet when they come to return equipments. These are extremely delicate moments. We don’t know what to feel at that very moment but it gives us more energy to help more people,” says Tapan Aslot.
Soon the NGO started doing other activities, which were called Adhar. The Aslots contacted a nearby government school and asked if they can help any needy kid. The answer came in the form of a list of 15 girl students who were either orphans or could not afford even a government school. Without hesitation, the Aslots adopted all the kids in 2004. Today, six of these girls are graduates and two are pursuing their post graduation.
The family also cooked dinner for these students at their office every Tuesday.
Since the past year, the family has started serving lunch to all the 150 students of this school every Friday. The lunch is prepared wholly by the Aslot family member and employees of their office.
“I saw monotonous mid-day meal being served in governmentschools. I wanted those kids to have something interesting for their mid-day meal. It’s the joy of cooking and serving with our own hands that keep all of us going. Every Friday we see those 150 happy faces, enjoying home made food and sweets. It’s pure bliss. We wait for Friday as much as they do,” says Pratul Aslot.
The school has seen increased attendance of students on Friday because of this initiative. The regular mid-day meals are also usually served by paid employees.
“All I want to say is that we all owe a lot to society and each one of us should pay thatback in some form or the other,” concludes Pratul Aslot.