Gurugram-based Earth Saviours Foundation always has its doors open for the homeless
When the single mother could not take care of the mentally-challenged boy Rinku, she brought him to a homeless shelter in Bhandwari village on the outskirts of bustling Gurugram, one of India’s fastest-growing cities and home to scores of multinational companies in glittering glass and steel towers. When the six-month pregnant Sarita Devi was abandoned by her husband, she was also sent to this open-to-all shelter by a court.
Now both of them have not only found a home, but also new families at the Earth Saviours Foundation (ESF), also called Gurukul. Like them, around 450 other homeless people, including over 300 mentally-challenged persons, found a home at this two-acre site in a rustic setting not far away from Gurugram’s self-absorbed modern urbanity.
Reached by a narrow and bumpy road, ESF was founded in 2008 by Ravi Kalra, 49, who was earlier a martial artist, and later went on to work with the US Army in recruiting soldiers from Nepal during the war with Iraq in 2007.
Having earned a fair bit of money, Kalra wanted to give it back to society by doing “seva” (public service). While he always had this urge to do something to improve the lives of the needy, he got his epiphany when he came upon a beggar child scouring garbage along with street dogs on a busy Delhi road.
A few months after that incident, he started his foundation and, since then, has dedicated himself to improving the lives of abandoned senior citizens, physically and mentally disabled, victimised women, and people suffering with incurable diseases.
At Gurukul, one doctor and three nurses are available between 9 am and 6 pm every day. There are over 450 residents residing in five dormitories -- three have been allotted to women, and two to men. For recreation, there are televisions, books, newspapers and a carrom board.
The foundation has also cremated over 5,000 unclaimed bodies so far.
Kalra feels “all of them deserve to live with dignity,” and dignity is the gift that Gurukul has given to people like Rinku and Sarita.
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