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52–year–old Warje resident, celebrated in the city for his good work with underpriviledged schoolchildren, is set to extend a helping hand to the physically challenged

He has taken children off the streets, sending them to schools and meeting their bare necessities. Now, Hemant Kumar Shinde has put together a mobile clinic on three wheels to attend to neglected physically disabled people.

Hemant Kumar Shinde is himself paralysed on the left sideHemant Kumar Shinde is himself paralysed on the left side

The 52–year old, who is himself paralysed on the left side, working on a shoe–string budget had to settle for an auto–rickshaw for his venture, which will be fitted with basic medical equipment, medicines and a doctor on board. "Most of the disabled people we will be treating are old. Their families do not take care of them, as they are not productive. Our intent is to at least reach some medical attention to them," Shinde told Mirror. Ignored by his own family and having to fend for himself through goodwill and charity, he is a kindred soul.

With a history of social work behind him, mostly working with children, Shinde is hoping tap into corporate social responsibility (CSR) budgets to garner funds for the project. "We hope to upgrade to a proper ambulance in due course," he informed. For now, the threewheeled mobile clinic will get rolling today with the ambition to cover the whole city, responding to calls as they come in.

Shinde was invited to the Rashtrapati Bhavan twice Shinde was invited to the Rashtrapati Bhavan twice

"Right now we have a seed fund of Rs 50,000. Our estimate is that a proper clinic with all the equipment, medicines and the honorarium for the doctor will come with an operating cost of Rs 15 lakh per annum," he explained. He added that his efforts to involve the local civic body have come a cropper. "Given my limited resources and ability, the project needs help," he pointed out. Besides the mobile unit, Shinde is also planning to organise medical centres at temples around the city to offer free treatment to the people.

After his of experience working with orphans in Delhi with an NGO, his work in Pune began in 2007 when he happened on some children begging on the streets. He formed his own NGO – Humanity Action Aid – and worked towards enrolling these children in schools and also ensuring other children already in private schools stay there by paying for their education and books. He also supplied bare necessities such as soap, toothpaste and the like. Besides children, he has also helped support widows.

Shinde lives out his office in Warje, having been ignored by his own children and wife. He has, however, been recognized by society for his work and was invited to Rashtrapati Bhavan on two occasions, once by past President Pratibha Patil and more recently by Pranab Mukherjee.

Times of India
19 Dec 2013,
by - Mayuri Phadnis

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