Jaipur Foot – Crossing transcontinental barriers

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Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS), Jaipur is a non-governmental, non-religious, non-sectarian, non-regional, non-political society, for helping the physically challenged, particularly the financially weak among them. BMVSS is the world’s largest organization for the handicapped in terms of fitment of artificial limbs and calipers etc.

BMVSS, being a social organization engaged in humanitarian work, provides all the artificial limbs, calipers, crutches, ambulatory aids like wheelchairs, hand paddled tricycles and other aids and appliances totally free of charge to the physically challenged.

On the occasion of the 2500th death anniversary of Lord Mahaveer, known for his compassion and loving kindness for all, Shri Devendra Raj Mehta envisioned and set up BMVSS in March 1975, as a human welfare organization. The idea of this humanitarian project was born out of a trauma. In 1969 Mr. Mehta had met with a serious car accident in which his leg was crushed. But, despite the ominous forebodings of the surgeons, both his leg and life got saved.

 Dr. M. M. Bapna and Dr. Ganga Ram Purohit of Mahatma Gandhi Hospital, Jodhpur, who were his operating surgeons, would later constantly remind him of the plight of poor patients who in such situations, often lost their limbs. This motivated Mr. Mehta to set up an organization to help such people. Once the funds could be raised and organizational structure worked out by Mr. Mehta, BMVSS was setup. Mehta is a graduate of the Sloan School of Management at MIT in the United States.

The main objective of the BMVSS is the physical, economic and social rehabilitation of physically challenged, particularly the resource-less, enabling them to regain their mobility, self respect and human dignity so that they become self-reliant, normal and productive members of the community.

The beauty of the Jaipur Foot is its lightness and mobility, as those who wear it can run, climb trees and pedal bicycles. Their knee replacement developed in cooperation with Stanford University costs a mere $20, and was named one of the 50 best inventions in the world by Time Magazine.

As a non-profit social enterprise staffing 20 centers across India and servicing 65,000 patients each year, 20,000 of whom require new feet and leg replacements while the remaining 45,000 require crutches, wheelchairs, hand-peddled tricycles and other aids, Jaipur Foot is not only a global leader in prosthetic science, production and manufacturing, but also surgical in its fiscal discipline.

More than 1,000 disabled persons in and around Jaffna district of Sri Lanka will be fitted with Jaipur feet and limbs by a 20-member team from India, during this month. What Jaipur stands for might be unknown to people in the peninsula. But, “Jaipur foot” is a household name as thousands of war victims have benefited from it.

Jaipur foot is indeed one of the biggest examples of Indian philanthropy and good will.

Sources:

http://www.forbes.com/

http://www.sundaytimes.lk/110904/News/nws_27.html

http://www.jaipurfoot.org/

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