Rent of orthopedic equipment at Re 1 per day, a unique service by Falguni Doshi from VadodaraSaswati Mukherjee
One fine day, 16 years ago, Falguni Doshi visited her friend’s place in Vadodara. After chatting for a while, Falguni saw a wheelchair, walker, and a stick, lying in one corner of a room. The thick coat of dust on top suggested that the instruments were unused for a long time. On enquiring with her friend, she was told that it was used by her late grandmother and was lying idle ever since she passed away.
“She didn’t know what to do with them, they were simply lying unused,” says Falguni, who instantly knew what to do with them – give them to someone in need.
Soon the two friends spread word in their network and enquiries started pouring in. They started renting out these equipment for free. Realising that they indeed started something which needed to be there, Falguni and her friend decided to purchase some equipment on their own and then renting it out.
Word spread and their service soon became popular.
However, it was not before long that they realised they had committed a folly by renting out costly equipment for free.
“It is a general tendency to take things for granted when they are given out for free. We started getting damaged equipment back and that is where I thought some money needs to be charged to ensure accountability on the users’ part,” says Falguni who then started charging one rupee per day as rent for her equipment and keeping the cost of the equipment as deposit money with her.
Falguni and her friend scaled it up by buying some equipment on their own and renting it out to people in need. They even distributed pamphlets in nearby orthopedic hospitals for people to know about this service. Needless to say, people started queuing up for the equipment and were very happy that something like this had started in their town.
As her friend had some personal issues and was unable to continue after a while, Falguni decided to take this ahead herself and shifted all the equipment to her bungalow, which doubled up as her work place.
Managing the show, going solo
A home science graduate in textile designing, marriage brought Mumbai girl Falguni to Vadodara 27 years ago. Married into a business family, Falguni was always driven by the desire to do something for society but never got enough time to pursue her interest. “I simply did not know what to do till I started doing this,” she says on a rather modest note.
It was only after her children were grown up and she had some time on her hand that she started pursuing this cause.
Sixteen years on, Falguni has a dozen each of the most popular orthopedic instruments, right from toilet chairs to sticks, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, air beds, hospital beds, etc. Everything put together is more than 100-odd instruments which she rents out on a regular basis.
Very satisfying feeling indeed
“I get a lot of satisfaction by engaging in this venture. This model is not for profit, it is largely a platform from which people can benefit,” says Falguni adding that she gets people’s blessings for this, something she values a lot in life.
“It is a fact that these instruments become redundant after a loved one passes away, so with this service in place, people need not buy new equipment each time. They can simply use it till they want to and return it thereafter without burning a hole in their pockets,” she says.
On an average, the life cycle of these equipment is anywhere close to two years, after which Falguni invests in new ones.
With both her sons well settled now, Falguni is happy that she is doing what she always wanted to do – serve society being at home.
A good Samaritan
Falguni realised that she was indeed doing something good when her brother rented a hospital bed for their ailing mother. After using the bed for one and a half years, her mother passed away. Her brother was so happy with the service that he donated Falguni Rs 25,000 to invest in buying related equipment whenever she needed to.
“Once a gentleman had bought imported stuff for his mother as the doctors said that she requires all equipment if she has to be at home but she breathed her last at the hospital itself. So that truckload of equipment was passed on to me,” says 50-year-old Falguni.
A content person, Falguni wants to continue doing what she does best – serve society.