UP: Madly devoted to ‘clean up the mentally ill’ mission
They are abandoned, homeless and most of them mentally ill with Gorakhpur railway station being their sole refuge. Facing derision was nothing new for these 100 odd people, until, members of Smile Roti Bank took them under their wings.lucknow Updated: Dec 16, 2017 15:25 IST
They are abandoned, homeless and most of them mentally ill with Gorakhpur railway station being their sole refuge. Facing derision was nothing new for these 100 odd people, until, members of Smile Roti Bank took them under their wings.
It was natural for these ‘mentally disturbed’ people, who sometimes even begged for food, to look at the volunteers with suspicion and even resist being cleaned. However, after much persuasion a beggar agreed and after he was shaved, given a bath and clean clothes, his peers crowded around to have a glimpse.
After all they had been ‘clean’ and ‘decent’ once, before were abandoned. Soon, the volunteers had their hands full with many of them wanting to be taken care of. The volunteers were shocked to see some of these people had worms crawling all over them due to filth. After giving them first aid and removing the worms, the team cleaned about 50 people.
When quizzed as to what prompted the Smile Roti Bank team, primarily involved in de-addiction of children begging at Gorakhpur railway station, to take up the ‘cleaning work,’AzadPandey, a founding member of the NGO said, “Two years ago a child, who was under our de-addiction programme, died as he had worms in his brains due to unhealthy habits. This really made me sit up and take notice. I knew we had to do something for these people otherwise they would die like animals.”
Azad said his team of 10 members found most of the abandoned people with sores all over their body and even prone to severe infections due to unhygienic condition.
During their course of work, the team came across some mentally disturbed people who were violent and did not want to be cleaned. “Dealing with such people is difficult. We then work as a group and hold the person down and then clean him,” he said. Women members of the team take care of females abandoned at the station.
“Many times after these people are cleaned they talk to us how they were abandoned by their families, while many even tell us that they ran away in the absence of treatment,” he said.
First Published: Dec 16, 2017 15:25 IST