Last Wednesday, we had the opportunity to see one of the most incredible examples of ahimsa in action. The official name of the society is Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS). The objective is to provide mobility and dignity to the handicapped. BMVSS emphasizes a holistic approach to addressing the problems of amputees. The society focuses no only on the medical problems of the underprivileged, but also the financial and social problems. It was started by Shri D.R. Mehta, pictured here:
He said he started this society because he almost lost a limb himself several years back and it got him thinking about the options people have who have lost a limb. While the concentration is on the disabled in India, in the last several years, BMVSS held on-the-spot artificial limb fitment camps in 25 countries such as Afghanistan, Honduras, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, and other countries throughout Asia, Africa, and South America. They provide artificial limbs, calipers, wheelchairs, hand paddled tricycles, crutches and other aids and appliances to the handicapped to about 65,000 disabled in a year. Here is the most amazing part: BMVSS provides these aids and appliances totally free of charge. In fact, about 99% of their patients are below the poverty line. The place we visited is known as Jaipur Foot, and they manufacture the artificial limbs. Jaipur Foot is closest to the human foot and limb in terms of flexions, functions and cosmoses. With it a below knee amputee can walk, walk on uneven ground, run, climb a tree or a mountain, sit cross-legged, crouch, ride a cycle or drive a car. The average cost of one artificial limb of BMVSS is $45 in Jaipur, whereas in the US this may be more than $10,000. I would strongly encourage you to visit their website to learn more about this incredible organization: www.jaipurfoot.org. Here are some photos from our tour of Jaipur Foot:
This is one of the employees in the factory. He received a limb through Jaipur Foot and was so grateful, he decided to work for Mr. Mehta.
This is one of many people who hang around the clinic all day. He is waiting for his limb to be finished. In this photo, Mr. Mehta asked him to show him everything he has in his pockets – he had 1 rupee. Mr. Mehta said these are the types of people that need the help the most.