Guru Amar Das Apahaj Ashram - a rare example of Humanity

Jasjit Kaur's visit recounts a first hand account of a Life spent for others

Saving India's homeless-sick crying for help

Pains (21K)THE PAINS OF POVERTY: In India, hundreds of thousands of people are homeless, disabled, and poverty ridden; leading a miserable life under the open sky on the roadsides. They are without safe drinking water or food, and no access to medical care. These homeless people emit foul smell which makes it difficult for passersby to go near and lend them a hand. Many of them die due to either: starvation, extreme cold, heat waves, sunstrokes, gastroenteritis, or other illnesses. (Pictured above: homeless-sick Pala Singh lying on the roadside).

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BRINGING THE DESTITUTES TO ASHRAM: Guru Amar Das Apahaj Ashram is a registered charity located near village Sarabha of district Ludhiana, Punjab. Disabled and homeless people are picked up from the roadsides and brought to this Ashram. Many are found in severe critical condition, nearing their last breath. In the Ashram they are provided shelter, food, clothes, medical treatment, nursing care and other basic necessities of life: FREE OF COST.

Founding (26K)FOUNDING OF THE CHARITY: The charitable trust "Guru Amar Das Apahaj Ashram" was founded in 2005 by Dr. Naurang Singh Mangat (pictured right), a former Professor and Scientist of PAU, Ludhiana, University of Windsor, and Morrison Scientific Inc. of Calgary. Before building the Ashram, for many years Dr. Mangat pedaled his bicycle on the roads of slum areas in and around Ludhiana city to help homeless-sick people crying for help. He picked up these people and took them to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. He paid for all expenses and stayed with these patients in the hospital to ensure they received the care they needed. He started construction of the Ashram in March 2009 and admission of patients began in April 2011. The Ashram has been built on the sole foundation of helping the needy irrespective of caste, creed and religion.

DrMangat (28K)LOOKING AFTER THE SICK AND DISABLED IN THE ASHRAM: To date, nearly 150 homeless needy people were admitted in the Ashram. After receiving medical treatment and nutritious food, many of these were rehabilitated and able to find their footing in life again. However nearly 55 patients, who could not become fit for work, live in the Ashram permanently. Out of these 55 patients, about 15 are severely critical. These patients are mentally and physically disabled, unable to answer the call of nature, cannot recall their own name or whereabouts, and have no relative to ever inquire about them. When people visit the Ashram, some of them tend to break down emotionally after seeing their pains, and wish that no one should suffer this fate.

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MedicalAid (19K)STAFF AT THE ASHRAM: Currently five janitors are employed by the Ashram who besides looking after the patients also sanitize and maintain cleanliness across the Ashram. One part-time doctor who checks each patient's needs and provide medical treatment, and two cooks are employed to look after the nutrition of the patients. In addition to this, four volunteers also assist in the day to day activities of the Ashram. A part time gardener maintains parks at the Ashram.

JOURNEY THROUGH DESTITUTION BEFORE COMING TO ASHRAM:
TaraSingh (20K)Tara Singh: Tara Singh, 70 years old, was admitted in the Ashram in November 2016. He was unconscious for more than a month and recovered slowly with medical treatment and nursing care. His health has improved; however, he cannot function and help himself to the washroom. His life is in the hands of the doctor and workers who selflessly provide care. He used to live on the roadside in Hoshiarpur with his wife; who had passed away few years ago. After wife's death he moved to Ludhiana city where he worked as a labourer and spent his life on the roadside; unable to save any money for the rest of his life. In Ashram he is receiving the care and medical treatment he needs.

HardevDas (17K)Hardev Das: He had been lying in a semi-unconscious condition for several days in the grain market of Moga town. Rupinder Singh, a resident of Moga, saw his heartbreaking condition and brought him to the Ashram on November 21, 2016. Hardev Das faced the same hardship as many of the other patients see: his family left him alone and did not care for him at all. He was unable to reveal any details of his life and nor family members names. He remained semi-unconscious and paralyzed since he was admitted in the Ashram.

Shankar (13K)Shankar: Blind and disabled homeless Shankar (70 years old) was admitted in the Ashram in April 2016. He could not reveal his address and whereabouts. Unable to walk and answer the call of nature at his own, he remained bedridden for several months; and expired on November 30, 2016.

JarnailSingh (17K)Jarnail Singh: With left arm amputated in a train accident, he was brought to the Ashram by someone on December 27, 2012 in an extremely critical condition emitting foul smell. His body was infested with worms moving around in his large wounds. He was admitted to the hospital four times by the Ashram to save his life. He is an Amritdhari Sikh and used to work as pathi (Granthi). Unfortunately, he has no home, no family and no property. Because his natural passage for urine has been blocked for the past five years, a catheter was inserted in his stomach to pass the urine. He is paralyzed and cannot answer the call of nature on his own.

GurmeetSingh (19K)Gurmeet Singh, 50 years old, was earning a small wage by driving a rented auto-rickshaw in Ludhiana. He had no home, no family, no property, and lived in a rented accommodation. Due to circumstances, Gurmit became a severe alcoholic and lost what little he had. Soon after, paralysis attacked his body and he was taken to hospital by his friends for treatment. Medical treatment did not improve his condition, and he was brought to the Ashram on February 13, 2017. After remaining unconscious, paralyzed and bedridden for three weeks in the Ashram he expired on March 8, 2017.

CREMATION: Some of the critically sick patients admitted in the Ashram do not survive and expire while living in the Ashram. They are cremated in Ludhiana city in the presence of Board Members of the Charity.

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UPHILL TASKS AHEAD:
To build a small hospital in the Ashram so that immediate better medical treatment is provided to the patients instead of transporting them to an outside hospital. A full time doctor onsite is also required.

The remaining two storeys of the Ashram need to be completed to accommodate the increasing number of needy patients. A separate building for the ladies is also an urgent requirement

Email: [email protected], Website: www.apahajashram.org .

Please like Facebook page for updates on the Ashram:
www.facebook.com/Guru-Amar-Das-Apahaj-Ashram-487373268061404/

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