Giving Dignity to the Forgotten

Members of Inner Wheel Club of Delhi South providing food for the inmates of Gurukul.
Members of Inner Wheel Club of Delhi South providing food for the inmates of Gurukul.

The Rotary Club of Delhi South, D 3011, has partnered with The Earth Saviours Foundation, which runs a Gurukul that takes care of about 400 senior citizens and deprived, abandoned, and homeless women, including some who are victims of rape and sexual abuse. Located in Bandhwari village on the Gurgaon-Faridabad Road, and near Faridabad, the Foundation also has a rescue centre to look after mentally challenged people. Within the Gurukul, the Jia Nari Niketan, which looks after the destitute women, has launched many environmental initiatives.

The women are given board and lodging totally free of charge, and they also get some job opportunities along with a monthly stipend.

This Foundation, says Pradeep Bahri, Secretary of the club, is an internationally recognised NGO, founded in 2008 by Ravi Kalra, a well-known social activist and environmentalist. Starting off as an old age home to take care of abandoned elderly people, the Foundation is also making every attempt to protect the environment. “Finding its core values — service to humanity and protecting the environment — similar to those of Rotary, our club decided to help their efforts, as we found its selfless and dedicated staff working day and night for community welfare.”

Inner Wheel members present a memento to Ravi Kalra, founder of The Earth Saviours Foundation.
Inner Wheel members present a memento to Ravi Kalra, founder of The Earth Saviours Foundation.

Presently more than 350 abandoned senior citizens, apart from destitute women and disabled people are living permanently at the Gurukul. All the basic facilities including dormitory accommodation, hygienically prepared meals, medical facilities and day-to-day needs are being provided completely free of charge to the inmates.

In India it is a common, though painful sight to see a large number of mentally challenged people on roads, says Som Dua, past president of the club. “Often, they have been observed eating from stinking garbage, having no bath for years, no roof over their heads and walking bare feet with torn or no clothes on their bodies.” Moved by this plight the Foundation set up a rescue centre for such people.

We want to bestow a bit of dignity to these forgotten souls of our society in the final days of their lives, by giving them decent clothes to cover themselves and food to nourish them. We are sure we will make a difference.
Som Dua, Past President, RC Delhi South

Joining hands with the Foundation to make the lives of the inmates in these facilities more comfortable, the club first distributed stitched clothes for the inmates “as that was the need of the hour then. Later, looking at the dormitories of the inmates and with a request from the Foundation to make more bearable the heat of the summer sun scorching the inmates from the tin roof, rolls of insulation material and cladding were donated by our club,” adds Dua. Next, blankets were donated to make the winters more bearable for the residents. Then came special lunches on special occasions when the residents received special items in addition to the regular lunches. Individual members from their club and members of the Inner Wheel Delhi South gave donations to the ­Foundation to help them run the Gurukul better, he adds.

Bahri says that during one of their visits to the Foundation, “we found that the toilet complex adjacent to the women’s dormitory had totally collapsed as it had been hurriedly constructed on the existing kuchha foundation. We have decided to rebuild this as a toilet complex with eight toilets. The plan is being made by Rtn Sat Bawa, the famous architect, for free. This amount will come both from club members as well as a District Grant of District 3011.”

Women in the dormitory.
Women in the dormitory.

What the club is attempting to do is “bestow a bit of dignity to these forgotten souls of our society in the final days of their lives, by giving them decent clothes to cover themselves and food to nourish them. We are sure we will make a difference,” says Dua.

At the end of the day, adds Bahri, it has been a very fulfilling endeavour for Rotarians of RC Delhi South. “Wrinkled hands holding the plates, the blank look in the eyes of the mentally challenged and the grateful eyes of abandoned and disabled who have finally found a home to spend their leftover bed-ridden, handicapped lives in some form of dignity, keeps the staff of this place working nonstop. This was the reason which drew us and our Inner Wheel to partner with this noble cause.”

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