The wide chasm between the privileged and underprivileged of India is invariably visible even in daily life. A quick walk down your local street will often show you the deteriorating condition of the destitute homeless, who are in need of basic amenities like fooding, medication, and shelter from unmerciful weather.
Every life is riddled with its own struggles, which is why many of us are often unable to extend help despite wanting to. However, a few social warriors have risen to the occasion from time to time and acted on the situation to make others’ lives better. This is the story of one such woman who chose not to look away, paving the path for all to help in whatever capacity they could.
Helping the helpless
Jalpa Patel of Rajkot, Gujarat, is a businesswoman by profession. The entrepreneur runs an automobile showroom by the name of Ridham Car Zone which makes for her daily livelihood. However, that’s not all her business provides.
Since 2009, Jalpa has been using the money she earns to deliver food, clothing, and medicines to the poor and underprivileged population of her city.
This year, her initiative transformed into a registered NGO named Saathi Group.
Her drive was initially sparked by a need to help those who couldn’t help themselves, and she began by reaching out to such people she came across in her vicinity. While juggling work and family, she would carve out her weekends for social welfare.
But a tragedy in her own life pushed this woman to devote more to the cause of life. “In 2013, my father passed away from a heart attack. Caught up in work, I got too late for final goodbyes. I could not reach him on time that day. But this made me determined to help the needy as much as I could. That was when the cause met serious action,” she tells The Better India.
Gradually, she began devoting more and more time to the ill and hungry. This would include conducting daily food drives for 100 to 150 people, providing the needy with clothing, and administering medication to the ill.
The courage of her convictions attracted citizens of the city to help. A team of volunteers was soon in place to look after basic functioning of day to day affairs. Others would contribute by donating food and ration. Today, many from even faraway cities help her organisation via monetary donations.
“We get alerts from the public through social media channels about anyone in need of food, water, or other assistance. Upon careful scrutiny of the authenticity of the situation, we reach the concerned location and deliver items to where the needy are. Often, people diagnosed at hospitals are unable to buy medicines for treatment for the lack of money. For such people, we go to the hospital and buy the prescribed medication on their behalf,” says Jalpa.
In the past eight years, Jalpa has helped improve the lives of over 1,000 destitutes through her selfless initiative. A team of 50 volunteers helps with on-ground as well as backend operations out of the sheer good of their hearts.
“We are also working towards setting up a shelter for such people in the near future,” she shared with resolve.
To learn more about the NGO, you can browse their Facebook page and watch team Saathi in action.
Read the article in Hindi here.
Edited by Divya Sethu