News / Asia

India Charity Offers Amputees Escape From Poverty Trap

Amputees are seen during a free distribution of ‘Jaipur Foot’ in Mumbai, India. (File Photo)
Amputees are seen during a free distribution of ‘Jaipur Foot’ in Mumbai, India. (File Photo)
Kurt Achin

Losing a limb is traumatic in any circumstances, but it can become a poverty trap for those without access to advanced medical care. The Indian state of Rajasthan is home to one of the world's largest charities devoted to empowering amputees by giving them new prosthetic limbs, and a new life.

Two-year-old Vaishnavi's mother loves her very much. She takes good care of her daughter and handles her surprisingly well - considering she has no arms.

Sangeeta explains that she lost her arms as a result of electrocution. She says she was working near electrical lines and water spilled onto a metal rod she was carrying.

She and her family have come to this Jaipur facility to receive a set of replacement arms.
It is known locally as Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahitya Samiti, but more commonly referred to by its most famous product: "Jaipur Foot."

More than one and a quarter million patients have received prosthetic legs, knees, arms, and hands produced by the facility since it was founded in 1975.

"Nobody has to write to us," said Mehta. "They just walk in. Immediately they arrive, they are admitted. They are given food. They are given all facilities, given limbs in two or three days and they go back."

D.R. Mehta, a former civil servant, started Jaipur Foot after an accident decades ago nearly cost him his own foot. The months he spent recovering in the hospital put him in contact with fellow Indians who were not so fortunate - most of them from among the country's poorest people.

"Losing a limb also meant losing economic status," he said. "They [the victims] cease to be useful. They lose respect even in the house."

Sangeeta understands very well the economic burden a lost limb can put on an entire family.

She says cooking food is a big problem. Her husband does the cooking, she says, so he often is late to work or cannot work at all. She says they sometimes have to ask the neighbors for help. It's a big hassle, she says.

"It's so satisfying for me, personally," said Mehta. "A person comes in crawling. He gets a limb in a day or two, for no charge at all, and walks out - like you and me, making a truncated being whole again. Seeing them going back and working in the field, working in the factory, it's not merely giving a limb - it's restoring their economic power."

Even patients who could afford other treatment options come to Jaipur Foot because of its reputation for quality.

"I'm from Penang, Malaysia. When I was nine, I had an accident. A truck ran over me and they couldn't save the foot," said a female patient. "So I've been wearing a prosthesis since I was nine, and I'm 40 now. I came to get a new prosthesis. It's always been a dream to come to Jaipur to get a Jaipur prosthesis. So it's like a dream come true. I can't wait to get moving!"

Jaipur Foot receives about a third of its funding directly from the Indian government. The rest comes from corporate and private donors.

It operates limb replacement camps in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and many other countries where war and landmines have robbed people of limbs.

As for Sangeeta - it will take some time and practice for her to master using her new limbs to grasp objects. She says she looks forward to resuming work in the kitchen - and to brushing her own hair.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid