Physically-challenged people get new lease of life here

Many physically-challenged people found new hope at the Gurudeva Charitable Trust at Mangalampalem near Kothavalasa of Vizianagaram district, thanks to the support extended by the trust which not only provides artificial limbs but also imparts skill training to help them eke out a living.

About 26,000 victims, who lost their limbs owing to accidents or various other reasons, could get back their smiles in the last 15 years with the support of the trust. The trust spends around Rs. 3,000 on each victim for providing artificial limbs apart from food and shelter during treatment. About 1,500 patients visit Mangalampalem every month for the aid.

The trust supplies tri-cycles, crutches, hearing aids and other implements to physically and visually-challenged people.

An elderly woman, Lakshmi, who met with an accident in 2003, says that she has been able to lead a normal life with a perfectly fitted artificial limb.

An electrician, Murthy, who lost his limbs due to electrocution, is now able to perform his activities normally, after he has been fitted with artificial limbs.

Turning point

The founder of the trust, Mr.Jagadish Babu, like many youngsters of his time, aspired for a job in the U.S. after the completion of B.Tech in computer science. However, the tragic loss of his close friend Rajasekhar has changed his entire life plan. Rajasekhar had lost his legs in an accident and later lost his life in another accident when he was going to Jaipur in Rajasthan to get artificial limbs for himself.

Mr.Jagadish Babu then decided to serve the physically challenged persons in Vizianagaram district. In those days, artificial limbs were made only in Cuttack in Odisha, Jaipur in Rajasthan and in Hyderabad and he realised that many victims were unable to get the aids for themselves due to physical and financial constraints.

He then came up with the idea of holding special camps at his native Mangalampalem with the support of Nalineesh Babu of Hyderabad.

Support pours in

Mr. Nalineesh, who got the President’s award for social service, later agreed to establish a manufacturing unit at Mangalampalem. Mr.Jagadish, who hailed from a landlord’s family, started serving the needy with the help of his parents. Soon the good word spread, and organisations like the Visakhapatnam Port Trust, top industries, realty organisations, non-governmental organisations and public representatives have joined hands with the trust and helped expand its service activities.

The trust has been running an old-age home in Mangalampalem and a hostel for blind boys at Tirupati for the last few years. It conducts medical and eye camps regularly in different places of the State.

It plans to establish manufacturing units of artificial limbs in Keonjhar of Odisha, Dantewada of Chhattisgarh, and Mysore of Karnataka to extend its helping hand to the needy.“My aim is to prove that physically-challenged persons are second to none. Apart from supplying limbs, we are organising skill development programmes to enable them earn a decent livelihood.,” said Mr.Jagadish Babu.

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