“I’d got a second chance, so I decided that if I live, I should live for these people,” says Jasper Paul, who met with a fateful accident and went on to transform the lives of thousands of destitute.
In 2014, then 19-year-old Jasper was in his car when it turned three flips on the road. Call it luck or fate, but the young man walked out without a single scratch.
Two months later, when he was passing the same road of the horrible accident, he found an abandoned elderly woman by the street. The gory sight of her festering wounds, crawling worms and the murky weather would have deterred anyone, but this man saw in it the purpose of his life.
He decided to help this lady for the simple reason that he had been saved, and it was his time to give something back.
Taking her to a nearby hospital, he got the woman admitted for medical care, after doing some basic cleaning of wounds. “I filmed a video of the incident and shared it over social media, which went viral and reached the right people, and the woman was discovered by her family, who had been looking for her for quite some time,” shares the young social activist.
This rescue marked the inception of Second Chance Foundation – a shelter home devoted to rescuing and rehabilitating the ill, abandoned and destitute.
The NGO began as a small-scale movement in Hyderabad based on locally sourced funds. It became a registered entity in 2017. “Initially, funding was a major challenge. But we remained focussed on our work. When people see the impact you’re creating, support throngs automatically,” he tells The Better India.
Stories of impact began circulating across print and social media as Jasper started spreading awareness about his cause. He would share transformational stories over the internet and distribute his card during on-ground operations. Touched by the devoted care extended to the otherwise ignored, people started donating to further the initiative. To add to this, Second Chance began collaborating with crowdfunding platforms like Milaap.org and Donatekart.
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Today, the NGO thrives on a large crowdfunding network of philanthropists, local NGOs and netizens. It is currently in the process of expanding to cities like Visakhapatnam and Adilabad.
The heart it takes to save lives
The efforts were novel and the cause being targeted was different from most other social reform platforms. But as Therisa Gopi, Jasper’s life and work partner, says, while many expressed kudos from afar, it was difficult for most to join in and help the needy in close proximity.
As a volunteer in the initial stages, Theresa would accompany Jasper on rescue operations to provide security and a sense of comfort to the female destitute. Most of the homeless live a life of physical injury, mental trauma, and social abandonment. So, the first and most critical step is building a rapport by getting past a deep sense of mistrust.
Consistent deliverance on their word, she says, resulted in people coming forward to help.
“Today, we have an in-house team of 20 members at the NGO. This is complemented by on-call doctors that provide medical support as and when needed. We operate on the basis of a widespread network that we have weaved over the course of time,” Jasper says.
Whenever someone spots a person in need of care and shelter, a call reaches Second Chance, who then comes to the rescue. “We get three to four calls a day from local police, social welfare departments and the general public of the city,” he adds.
No stone is left unturned by the team to help the less privileged. Many people who reach the shelter are suffering from terminal diseases, while others are in need of acute medical and nutritional care. The Second Chance family takes responsibility for any and all assistance required through their life span and performs the last rites of those who pass away in solitude as well.
While all critical care is undertaken by professionals, other needs like grooming, sanitation and the simple act of lending a listening ear are taken on by the couple itself along with other staffers.
Every person who is rescued by the team is logged into a personal database maintained by the NGO. This often helps in reuniting them with family members.
“Till date, we have helped more than 1,500 people and many of them have also reconnected with their families,” Jasper shares with a sense of satisfaction in his voice. Today, his shelter also houses 150 rescued people.
Jasper says that a hospital for the destitute, called Second Chance Mission Hospital, is also on the cards.
If you would like to contribute to the cause, you may connect with Jasper Paul at 8010810850.
Feature Image Source: Instagram
Edited by Yoshita Rao