Ration kits, prosthetic limbs — Narayan Seva Sansthan's effort to empower differently-abled amidst COVID-19

Narayan Seva Sansthan is on a mission to bring the differently-abled community to the mainstream by empowering them physically, socially, and economically. It operates through its 480 branches in India, and 86 branches abroad.
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Thirteen-year-old Noori suffered from Genu varum — a condition where her legs were bowing at the knees — and faced great difficulty in walking properly. However, due to her family’s financial constraints, they couldn’t afford the expensive treatment.

Thanks to the intervention of Narayan Seva Sansthan — a Rajasthan-based charitable organisation — Noori has almost recovered and is now able to walk.

Founded by Padma Shri Kailash ‘Manav’ Agarwal in 1985, Narayan Seva Sansthan (NSS) is on a mission to bring the differently-abled community to the mainstream society by empowering them physically, socially, and economically. Nestled in the Aravali Range, the NGO is situated in Badi village near Udaipur.

“Narayan Seva Sansthan is a ‘smart campus for differently-abled,’ enabled with a school, hospital, post office, bank, WiFi, and many other facilities, which you find in an otherwise ‘urban’ space,” Prashant Aggarwal, President of NSS, tells SocialStory.

It operates through its 480 branches in India, and 86 branches abroad, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Congo, and UAE, among others, focusing on alleviating disabilities.

Over the last 35 years, the NGO has treated over four lakh patients, providing them socio-economic support with the best of the medical services, medicines, and technologies. In fact, it has two hospitals in Udaipur, with about 17 buildings and 1,100 beds.

Amidst the pandemic — with unemployment on the rise — NSS has been aiding unprivileged families with food and ration kits. It also set up various artificial limb camps for the differently-abled community.

COVID-19 relief efforts

"To reduce malnutrition during the COVID-19 pandemic in India, various campaigns have been initiated by the Narayan Seva Sansthan. The organisation has been distributing food to 50,000 families,” Prashant says.

Under its malnutrition prevention campaign, about 17,790 families from Udaipur, Delhi, Bhilwara, and Alwar received free monthly ration kits during the lockdown. These kits contained 15 kg flour, five kilograms of rice, four kilograms of pulses, two kilograms of oil, two kilograms of sugar, one kilogram of salt, and other essential spices.

Members of NSS stitching masks and essentials.

NSS also started food distribution operations in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, and Maharashtra, where 1,49,000 food packets, 74,705 masks, 800 PPE kits were distributed.

“The masks and PPE kits were made by people with disabilities at our centres. The members of our stitching programme were proactively involved in this,” Prashant claims.

Under its Narayan Garib Parivar Yojana, the NGO distributed food, ration kits, masks, and sanitisers to the flood-affected villages of Lachon Gaon (Tinsukia), Laibil (Sibsagar), and Miri Pothar (Jorhat) in Assam.

Additionally, it also organised an artificial limb camp in about seven states, including Delhi, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Gujarat, to provide prosthetic limbs to differently-abled people who cannot afford it.

Relief work during the pandemic

“Our prosthetic engineers visit the artificial limb camps, take the measurement of the patients, and manufacture the artificial limbs at Udaipur, and return to the camp to fix the limb on the person,” he explains. At the moment, the NGO is taking the measurements for manufacturing the prosthetics, and it will be shipping them in the coming weeks.

NSS has also been providing vocational training, including mobile repair, stitching, computer training, etc., to its members during the lockdown. For this, it organised webinars to engage them in insightful online training sessions. The NGO also conducted an online medical consultancy for differently-abled individuals.

Rehabilitating the differently-abled

Seva Parmo Dharma Trust — a charitable trust under the NSS’s leadership — is a foundation aimed at providing 'free of cost' medical assistance to patients who are suffering from various critical diseases and are unable to sustain their medical expenses.

Founded in 2009, the trust is known to successfully arrange pro bono’ treatments for patients diagnosed with life-threatening diseases, including blood cancer, kidney transplants, heart ailments, liver disorders, and bone marrow surgeries, among others.

Artificial limb distribution programme

So far, the trust has assisted in 115 heart transplants, three cancer cases, 11 kidney transplants, two HIP transplants, seven spinal injuries, two bone marrow transplants, three plastic surgeries, eight lymphatic filariasis cases, and provided 166 other medical aids. It also arranges to crowdfund for its critical patients.

Thirty-year-old Arjun, one of the beneficiaries of the trust, says, “I used to work part-time for Zomato, and lost my right leg below the ankle. I came to know of Narayan Seva Sansthan and came to Udaipur seeking treatment. I will be getting a prosthetic for free attached to my foot.”

Upskilling, education, and social impact

To make the differently-abled individuals economically self-dependent and become a functional part of the society, NSS avails vocational training to its members without any fees. These programmes include computer training, electronic equipment repairing, hardware and networking skills, home appliances repairing, sewing, and mobile repairing skills.

The NGO also provides the students with basic tool kits of hardware and networking, mobile and appliances repairing, and sewing machine for free after the successful completion of the programme.

COVID-19 relief work

On the social rehabilitation front, NSS has organised 30 mass weddings for the differently-abled community of all religions and faith, giving them the necessary household goods for free to start their new journey. Prashant says that the charitable trust has celebrated the union of about 1,500 differently-abled couples.

NSS's ‘Bhagwan Mahaveer Destitute Home’ for the differently-abled orphan children arranges food, clothing, residential accommodation, and educational facilities for over 200 children up to the age of 18 years.

In fact, it also started the ‘Narayan Children Academy,’ an English medium school, for the students of Udaipur. The school provides a bus pick-up and drop, smart classes, indoor and outdoor games, books and stationeries, uniforms, and meals, including breakfast and lunch – for free-of-cost.

Talking about the road ahead, Prashant says, “We have plans for adopting 50,000 families, especially during these times, and are pacing towards this goal. NSS also plans to expand its artificial limb camps to other countries for those who’ve lost their limbs.”

Edited by Suman Singh