"The sheer joy I saw in the eyes of these people who could move around again filled me with a deep sense of happiness and pride. Many of them had lost both their legs. Some children at the camp without certain limbs were younger than 10 years of age."
When 14-year-old children are asked about their ambition in life, the standard answers range from doctor, engineer, astronaut and perhaps soldier.
However, Veer Agrawal, a 9th-grade student from American School of Bombay, says he hasn’t thought much about a particular profession, but that he would like to work towards helping those in need, particularly the disabled.
Considering his recent achievement, Veer is well on his way towards giving back to society.
Earlier this week, news reports emerged about how Veer raised Rs 14 lakh through a crowdfunding website (http://vhelptowalk.org/) to help 300 amputees from economically disadvantaged backgrounds walk once again.
Giving these amputees the joy of mobility by funding their artificial limb fitment process is a real act of kindness and compassion.
Funds raised through this endeavour enabled the physically disabled who had gathered at the ‘Jaipur Foot’ camp conducted by the Seth Bhagwandas J Agrawal Charitable Trust, a non-profit working in the field of health and education in rural Maharashtra, from November 23-26 at Risod in Wahim district, to move around with relative ease once again.
For the camp itself, around 350 physically disabled people from low-income families had arrived, of whom 300 left with artificial limbs, while a dozen received wheelchairs thanks to the money Veer had raised.
Fitting an amputee with the ‘Jaipur Foot’ costs about Rs 5000 per patient. The artificial limb is customised to suit the patient as per their size. Post fitment the patient is able to walk normally again. Those at the camp had either lost limbs due to accidents or severe medical conditions.
Speaking to The Better India, Veer shared what inspired him to undertake such an initiative.
“When I was about 5 years old, I had got into a serious car accident. Even though I was bedridden for over three months, the pain was so intense that I couldn’t really comprehend the magnitude of what had happened. Now, whenever I look at myself in the mirror and see that scar on my body, it reminds me of the pain I went through. Now that I have grown older, it’s given me a better understanding of the pain that amputees go through on a daily basis. That’s what inspired me to go ahead with this initiative,” he says.
“I did some research on the severity of the condition that disabled people go through. After reviewing some of these severe cases, I proceeded with this initiative,” adds Veer.
Veer first came across the ‘Jaipur Foot’ camp initiative through a distant relative. For the fundraising process and website development process, however, he does acknowledge the assistance he received from his family and friends, particularly his father.
However, the one thing that gave Veer particular pleasure was seeing the joy in amputees while they moved around in their newly-acquired prosthetic limbs.
“The sheer joy I saw in the eyes of these people filled me with a deep sense of happiness and pride. Many of them had lost both their legs. Some children at the camp without certain limbs were younger than ten years of age. There is this one particular kid I met who had lost both his fit. While we couldn’t fit any prosthetics on him, we managed to give him a wheelchair. His family members had said that he couldn’t sleep all night thing about the possibility of receiving a wheelchair. Seeing him on a wheelchair was a fulfilling experience,” Veer tells The Better India.
Meanwhile, a recipient of the prosthetic limb, Devka Bhabhachine, expressed his thrill in being able to walk again. “The Jaipur foot has completely changed my life and given me an independence I did not have before. I was initially a little anxious about how to use it. At the camp, we were taught how to use the leg, how to take care of it and the correct ways to wear and use it. I am very thankful to the organisers, especially the young Veer. I hope that he continues his good work and reaches out to more people who need it,” says Devka.
Veer, however, isn’t satisfied with his work here. He wants to do more, and his act of kindness earlier this month could inspire other youngsters from doing the same.
To learn more, please visit http://vhelptowalk.org/.
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)