The COVID-19 pandemic has been testing times for people across the globe. Lives were lost, families fell apart, financial woes were endless. Amidst all this, a non-profit organisation in the US went above and beyond its capabilities to help those in need. Recognising those efforts, Jaipur Foot USA is hosting an event to felicitate the youths who have been incremental in fulfilling their social responsibilities and beyond.

Jaipur Foot USA is conducting "Youth Chapter Felicitation" event on Monday in New York, where V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs, will be felicitating the youths, who have made remarkable contributions for the welfare of the people.

MoS MEA felicitates youth at Jaipur Foot USA event in NYC
MoS MEA felicitates youth at Jaipur Foot USA event in NYC

Jaipur Foot USA is a subsidiary of Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata (BMVSS), founded by Padam Bhushan D. R . Mehta, is one of the largest organizations serving the global disabled population. They provide artificial limbs, calipers, and other aids free of charge to help amputees and disabled individuals lead a successful and independent life.

Speaking on the occasion, Prem Bhandari, Chairman of Jaipur Foot USA said:

We are soldiers of our founder and cheif patron Padam Bhushan D. R . Mehta, who founded our parent BMVSS and are working under his able leadership. BMVSS has rehabilitated 1.91 million people with disabilities. We are the largest NGO for differently-abled people worldwide."

Bhandari listed down the contributions made by the two youths that benefitted a lot of people during the pandemic. In addition to the contributions already made to better the lives of many, Nikhil has also announced that he has raised funds through his school friends to provide 5,000 hearing aids to the needy. Kanak Golia of Jaipur foot USA, Nikhil's grandfather, also announced to match the funding for another 5000 hearing aids free of cost, bringing the total to 10,000 hearing aids. These devices will be sent to BMVSS to be distributed in India under the leadership of Padma Bhushan, D.R. Mehta, Founder & Chief Patron BMVSS.

I had the opportunity to be associated with the activities of Jaipur Foot Usa when I honorable vice president inaugurated the Jaipur Foot event in my Malawi. The organizations transformative service to underprivileged people free of cost deserves Special mention on my compliments. Jaipur Foot camps have helped Change lives of so many people not only in India but across the globe From Asia to Africa to Latin America," MOS Muraleedharan said at the event.

The minister even congratulated Ajay and Nikhil Mehta for the Oxygen on Wheels initiative, reaching out to the differently-abled persons in remote places and for simplifying the foundations website by providing for automated contributions.

Nikhil Mehta's brainchild - Oxygen on Wheels, limb fitment van

New York-based 17-year-old Rajasthani expatriate Nikhil Mehta, who is the Chief Youth Coordinator of Jaipur Foot in the United States, has made significant contributions and led life-saving initiatives like "Oxygen on Wheels" amid COVID-19 pandemic. Besides, Nikhil was also the brains behind the mobile van for Jaipur Foot limb fitment and instrumental in organising and sponsoring a mega camp in Rajasthan through his family's foundation in February 2018, which helped over 1,800 differently-abled people.

During the pandemic, Nikhil launched the "Oxygen on Wheels" program — a free service for needy patients in the rural villages that surround Jodhpur. The service provided free oxygen support from the mobile bus for COVID patients while they are waiting for admission into the then overpopulated hospitals.

Nikhil Mehta's brainchild - Oxygen on Wheels, limb fitment van, and Ajay Tadinada felicitation at NY event on October 11, 2021
Nikhil Mehta (center) and Ajay Tadinada (left) getting felicitated at NY event on October 11, 2021

For this, Nikhil had approached Prem Bhandari who then arranged a bus through Vader Charitable Trust in Jodhpur, Rajasthan and fitted it with oxygen concentrator to help COVID-infected people suffering with breathing difficulties during transit.

Nikhil also came up with the mobile service for differently-abled in a bid to help the rural people in this COVID environment where the movements are restricted, and transportation is difficult. Nikhil's family foundation came forward to fund the idea, which involved purchasing a large van, equipping and installing the equipment required, and a power generator to power the equipment in case the village doesn't have electricity. The poster for the mobile van was launched by Muraleedharan in New York. Both these initiatives were Vader Charitable Trust in Jodhpur.

Jaipur foot USA mobile van poster launched by V Murlidharan
Jaipur Foot USA mobile van poster launched by V Murlidharan

BMVSS was able to successfully complete 71 artificial limb fittings in Vadnagar, Gujarat - the birthplace of Prime Minister Narendra Modi through the mobile van. In addition to that, the mobile van distributed calipers to 51 polio patients and 30 crutches. So far, BMVSS has fitted 31,753 prosthetics in India in 2019-20, 5,783 artificial limbs abroad in 2019-20 and has R&D partnerships with Stanford, MIT, Harvard and others. In contrast, the International Council of Red Cross figure fitted 4,839 prosthetics in the same duration worldwide under the Special Fund for the Disabled (SFD) programme.

At the event, another youth, Ajay Tadinada, also 17-year-old, will be felicitated by Muraleedharan for his contributions. Ajay, who had been a part of Jaipur Foot USA since 9th grade, launched the website for non-profit and even automated donations. He is the co-chief and technology advisor of Youth Chapter at Jaipur Foot USA.

The initiatives by Jaipur Foot USA's parent organisation BMVSS have benefitted nearly 2 million differently-abled people. The non-profit has conducted 85 limb fitment camps across 35 countries and provided artificial limbs at no cost.