A fatal car accident fractured his thigh bone and tied the five-year-old kid to bed for days. Reeling in pain, Veer Agrawal couldn't walk about like his companions.
Later, the grown-up Veer was reminded of the agony he had experienced whenever he saw any lame child. His parents could treat him; but what about those who cannot afford to pay?
Veer learnt that in India there are three crore people affected with physical disabilities; nearly 70 per cent of India's disabled live in villages; most of them suffer from a high level of stigmatization with poverty and that disabled children are five times more likely to quit school than the national average.
The involvement of his grandparents and parents in social action influenced him. Veer was also inspired by the support given to needy students by Brother Joseph of St Catherine of Siena Orphanage, Bandra West, Mumbai. Why can't I too do something for those who can't walk, wondered the ninth grade student of American School of Bombay..
Veer learnt about the Jaipur foot from a distant relative, and that one foot costs around Rs 5,000. His father and friends assisted him in starting the website vhelptowalk.org for crowdfunding. He was surprised to see funds flooding in aid of the economically disadvantaged handicapped persons - a whopping 14 lakh rupees!
Veer organized a three-day Jaipur Foot Camp at Risod in Maharashtra, conducted by the Seth Bhagwandas J. Agrawal Charitable Trust, a non-profit organization. 350 poor people, who could not walk, turned up for the camp. Doctors fitted 300 of them with the prosthetic leg.
And those who could not be fitted were provided with free wheelchairs.
"The sheer joy I saw in the eyes of these people who could move around filled me with a deep sense of happiness and pride," says Veer. "Many of them had lost both their legs. Some children at the camp were younger than ten years of age. I am very grateful to all those who funded the project," says the excited Veer.
Thanking Veer and the organizers, one of the beneficiaries, Devika Bhabhachine, said, "I hope that Veer continues his good work and reaches out to many more people who need it." Young Veer responds, "I believe that every human person deserves a chance for a better future regardless of the circumstances he/she is born in. No disability should leave them behind."
Credit : F.M. Britto
Picture Credit : Google