"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'" In the context of this popular quote by Martin Luther King Jr, NY-based social activist Prem Bhandari lives by helping others - be it during COVID or long before that, he's been there to answer the calls of those who need help.
Recognising his selfless efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, a New Jersey body representing law enforcement officials awarded him at the recent New Jersey Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association (NJNEOA) gala event. In the presence of several hundred law enforcement officers from across New Jersey, who work against drug cartels, Bhandari received the honour with applause.
The award presented to Bhandari recognises the NY-based social activist's humanitarian efforts of providing artificial limbs to the needy without any discrimination during the COVID crisis in the US. Accepting the honour, Bhandari dedicated the award to Padma Bhushan D.R. Mehta, who is the founder and chief patron of Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS) — the world's largest non-profit organisation providing free limbs and callipers.
Endless humanitarian efforts
Prem Bhandari is the chairman of Jaipur Foot USA and REDIO — Rescuing every Distressed Indian Overseas. As the chairman of Jaipur Foot USA, whose parent organisation is BMVSS, Bhandari has been associated with several international camps under the leadership of Padma Bhushan D.R. Mehta over the years.
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 anything.
Last month, Bhandari joint Secretary of the non-profit organisation based in New York, Nishant Garg met the Counsel General of Ukraine in New York Oleksii Holubov, 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, to discuss the possibility of holding limb fitment camps for needy soldiers and civilians injured in the conflict.
His efforts are not just limited to the West, but a large part of his focus is also aligned towards India, where his roots are. During peak COVID in India, Bhandari spearheaded lending support to ship oxygen concentrators and other essential medical supplies. He has also been instrumental in helping Indians living abroad on issues related to visas and passports for several years.
Besides, Bhandari was actively involved in helping Indians stranded in Ukraine return to their homeland. Bhandari's philanthropic work has gained him immense respect, international recognition and accolades. He continues to be a part of various humanitarian efforts without discrimination and beyond borders.