How Hemkunt Foundation Started ?
In 2013, when I was trekking to Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib with my family, a cloudburst hit us. For a week, I was stuck in Uttarakhand without food or shelter; I was traumatised by the deaths I saw. Finally, on the 8th day, the Army rescued us .
I couldn’t believe we were safe–mujhe aisa laga ki khud bhagwan aye hamari madat ke liye, Army officers ke roop mein. I knew I’d found my calling.
I’d started Hemkunt Foundation in 2010, but it was only after that that I began working on it properly. I’d received help & wanted to carry that forward. So I went back to Uttarakhand, with fuel & food for the locals. Over 2.5 years, I rebuilt their houses, constructed roads.
With time, my business took a backseat; I had to sell my house, even my wife’s jewellery. Still, I was sure, ‘Business rahe ya na rahe, Hemkunt rehna chahiye’; we kept going on donations by well-wishers. My family & I moved to a 1 room flat; I was content.
One of those days, a man who’d lost his family asked me for a loan of Rs.70,000–we had no money, but I didn’t have the heart to refuse him & gave him a cheque. That evening, a stranger donated exactly Rs.70,000!
Then when the 2020 lockdown happened, I only had Rs.12,500. So I devised a plan to help migrants; I made 10 rotis & asked 10 neighbours to do the same. Each of them telephoned 10 others & soon, we were distributing 40000 rotis a day.
My son, Harteerath, volunteered to help me out. At first, I worried for his safety, but then I told myself, ‘Jab itne sare logon ki duayen hamare saath hai, hame kuch nahi ho sakta.’
And since the 2nd wave started, we’ve helped thousands with oxygen cylinders. And now, we’re pooling money to import oxygen cylinders; we also plan on building a PSA plant to manufacture oxygen. Till now, we’ve helped people with over 1,50,000+ litres of oxygen.
My son has gotten COVID twice but as soon as he recovered, he joined me. Whenever people praise him, my chest swells with pride. I know that even if something happens to me, my son will take care of all this & Hemkunt will keep helping people.”
Help India Breathe–donate to Hemkunt foundation; Link : https://linktr.ee/hemkuntfoundation