UNITED NATIONS – India’s longstanding innovation, the Jaipur Foot project, is being hailed as an “excellent” example of South-South cooperation and multi-stake holder collaboration as it has helped over 1.7 million persons with disabilities gain mobility in 34 countries.
India’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, along with the Jaipur-based Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS) organized a panel discussion recently on the Jaipur Foot’s 50 year journey of helping people with disabilities across the world.
Following the panel discussion, an exhibition on Jaipur Foot was also inaugurated in the UN Secretariat Building.
‘Jaipur Foot’ has been popularized by Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS) and the organization has worked with over 1.7 million persons with disabilities in 34 countries across the world, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said at the discussion.
“The organization has now worked for half a century for this noble cause. While the technology behind such innovations has continued to improve, the ‘Jaipur Foot’ has provided much needed assistance to those who are among the most affected and those who have very limited resources to seek the kind of assistance that is needed by them. They truly are working to ensure no one is left behind,” Akbaruddin said.
Jagdish Dharamchand Koonjul, Permanent Representative of Mauritius to the UN, said that his country is proud to be associated with the work of Jaipur Foot in Mauritius and in the Indian Ocean Region.
“In 2014, the Jaipur Foot Project, which represents an excellent template for South-South cooperation and South-North cooperation was launched in Mauritius to service the countries in the region,” he said.
Koonjul stressed that the Jaipur Foot Project is a fine example of multi-stakeholder partnerships involving governments, civil society and the private sector to realize the Sustainable Development Goals in Mauritius.
“Besides ensuring the transfer of much needed technology in the field, the project has fostered a strong partnership with local and international organizations and in the development of capacity building programs in education, health, social and economic integration and rehabilitation,” he said.
Koonjul told the audience at the panel discussion that in the Indian Ocean region, Jaipur Foot Mauritius has provided prosthesis free of cost to 1200 persons. In 2015, a 15-month old boy from Seychelles, Brendon, became the youngest beneficiary of the Jaipur Foot.
“We are proud of the journey covered by Jaipur Foot in Mauritius by giving a much-needed boost to the self-esteem of people and improving the quality of life of the differently abled persons. Jaipur Foot has empowered them to lead an independent and productive life,” he said.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National Vice President Vinay Sahasrabuddhe said that in today’s changing global circumstances, India is playing a very crucial and leading role, including in the rehabilitation of the different-abled people.
“Jaipur Foot has become a symbol of Indian society’s ability to empathize. Indian society definitely provides several avenues for the cultivation of more empathic and sensitivity-oriented initiatives and Jaipur Foot is one of them,” Sahasrabuddhe said.
He said that it is a “great honor” for India to be taking a lead and initiative and to be seen as a nation that is working for the rescue and rehabilitation of those who are different-abled.
Founder and Chief Patron of BMVSS Devendra Raj Mehta said Jaipur Foot is the “epitome of frugal” or Gandhian engineering, which involves doing the maximum with the minimum.
He said that while the Jaipur Foot costs $ 70, a similar western prosthetic costs $ 15,000.
Mehta said that the BMVSS in association with the ministry of external affairs will hold on the site fitment camps in Vietnam, Myanmar, Iraq ,Nepal and Bangladesh in the coming months. These camps will ensure that 5000 persons get mobility and dignity. He said that now a Jaipur hand is being developed in association with a US university.
Prem Bhandari, the chairman of the Jaipur Foot USA, said that the Jaipur Foot USA took the initiative of creating awareness by holding a seminar on disability with the association of India’s permanent mission in the United Nation .He said the Indian Americans are helping in popularizing the low cost Jaipur Foot in the United States.
An Indian businessman based in Houston Rajiv Daga and his wife Neeta Daga donated Rs. 1.35 crore to the Jaipur Foot. During the seminar in the United Nation, a Nigerian citizen, John Mattes, who is handicapped, was shown walking on the Jaipur Foot.
John was flown at the initiative of the Jaipur Foot to Jaipur where he was provided the Jaipur Foot within two days. Now he is able to walk.