Hyderabad: For nearly two years, 30-year-old Ramesh Kothwal has been responsible for saving the lives and providing shelter to several destitutes in Hyderabad. Physically handicapped and with no one to call his own, Adikrishna has now found happiness in a small shelter, Bharathi Memorial foundation, on the outskirts of Hyderabad. Started by Rajesh Kothwal in 2010, the ashram now takes care of around 70 destitutes, including 14 children.
"The doctors, nurses and the ward boys used to the neglect the destitutes and treat the ordinary people. The patients were untidy with human excretion on their clothes and hair grown. They were completely neglected and hence, I thought I will treat them. I requested the nurses and the ward boys and learnt how to inject. It took three to four months to learn. I learnt how to do it but I needed a legal certificate, so I took special training in the male nurse training course from the Indian Red Cross Society for 1 year," Rajesh said.
Inspired by the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, Rajesh helps people lead a life with some dignity and much required medical care. In fact, most of the inmates of the ashram suffer from terminal diseases like HIV, polio and Tuberculosis. While some have been abandoned by their own families at government hospitals, others like 86-year-old Krishna used up all his life's savings to get his daughters married and was then found by Rajesh near a garbage bin at a railway station.
"I thought why should I start an orphanage or old age homes when there are many. Hence, I took up the mission of serving the destitutes. Before Independence and after Independence, there was only one organisation for the destitutes called 'Nirmal Hruday' started by Mother Theresa. That is the only home which is still running. There is a need for destitute homes here, so I started one," Rajesh said.
In a leased building, Rajesh attempts to give the unknown faces an identity, a home and a family, all that could well mean the difference between life and death for several of the inmates he selflessly serves each day.
It is not a journey without challenges. Neighbours object, medical demands are difficult to meet, but all this does not worry Rajesh. The Bharathi Memorial Foundation has become his life's mission. Rajesh said, "I designed my life with one teaching of Swami Vivekananda - 'The world is filled with sorrows. At least for one day, if you can take the sorrow of others, it will add meaning to your life and the rest is waste."