The ongoing war has ravaged Ukraine. While the refugee crisis remains a global concern, those still in the country are living under constant threat. Many civilians and soldiers have been killed in Ukraine, while many more suffered grievous injuries. Joining the list of humanitarian efforts offered to Ukraine from across the globe, Jaipur Foot USA, whose parent organisation is BMVSS, is considering the possibility of holding limb fitment camps for needy soldiers and civilians injured in the conflict.
To this extent, Jaipur Foot USA Chairman Prem Bhandari and Joint Secretary of the non-profit organisation based in New York, Nishant Garg met the Counsel General of Ukraine in New York Oleksii Holubov on Tuesday. They also met New York City's Commissioner for International Affairs Edward Mermelstein, Deputy Commissioner- Trade, Investment and Innovation for New York City Mayor's Office for International Affairs Dilip Chauhan and General Counsel for the Mayor's Office for International Affairs Sarah Friedman.
It was Bhandari who expressed his intention of organizing free artificial limbs fitment camp after a long discussion with founder and Cheif Patron Padam Bhushan D. R. Mehta. The camp would benefit both soldiers and civilians alike at such a crucial time. But Bhandari also understood the current situation of Ukraine due to the ongoing war and suggested that Jaipur Foot USA would even consider options to organise a pilot camp in neighbouring countries such as Poland.
Jaipur Foot for injured Russians, too
While the Jaipur Foot USA is considering the artificial limb fitment camp for needy Ukrainians injured in the war, it is not isolating the Russians affected by the war. In fact, when asked about organising a free artificial limb fitment camp for needy Russians, Bhandari in the capacity of Jaipur Foot USA chairman answered in the affirmative.
Due to the ongoing war, there have been severe casualties on both Ukraine and Russian side. Jaipur Foot USA and its parent organisation BMVSS, strongly uphold the Indian philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam — the World is One Family — and vow to help everyone regardless of where they are or what caste they belong to.
Yes, even for Russian people we will provide free artificial limbs to their soldiers as well as civilians because we are non-political , non-governmental non-political, non-sectarian, non-regional and not for profit charitable organisation set up to help the physically challenged, particularly the financially weak and underprivileged. We don't believe in caste or anything. We have done camps in Syria, Pakistan, Bangladesh. We believe in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. All are our brothers and sisters in the world and we will provide free artificial limbs to them. Even our Prime Minister Narendra Modi believes in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam policy," Bhandari said.
In the service of humanity
For Jaipur Foot USA, organising such a limb fitment camp wouldn't be out of its scope considering it has held tens of camps across the world over the years under the leadership of Padma Bhushan D.R. Mehta, who is the founder and chief patron of Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS) — the parent body of Jaipur Foot USA. Bhandari said he would discuss the possibility of a camp in Ukraine with D.R. Mehta.
Since its inception in 1975, BMVSS has helped over 2 million differently-abled people globally through 85 international camps in 35 countries across Asia, Latin America and Africa. The artificial limbs, popularly referred to as Jaipur Foot cost the organisation $70, but the beneficiaries are not charged a single penny. The same limb in the western world would cost $12,000-$15,000.