Pingalwara is a home for physically, mentally disabled, orphans, aged and people suffering from incurable and terminal diseases.
This heaven for the human discards was created by one man: Bhagat Puran Singh. He had no material resources but an unflinching faith in his mission that he was servant of the hapless and forlorn and God was the provider for his work. With this in mind, he would pick up all the destitute sick people he came across.
Bhagat Puran Singh looks like the rishis of old and the Khalsa of Guru Gobind Singh—a veritable combination of courage and compassion, a total embodiment of unselfishness and service.
Bhagat Puran Singh is what India’s distilled wisdom and rich heritage are all about.
Pingalwara started in 1934 when a four years old spastic child was abandoned in front of Gurdwara Dera Sahib, Lahore. The child not only became Bhagatji’s responsibility but also his constant companion and inspiration. For the next 14 years he carried the child on his back wherever he went and slowly the burden on his back became the foundation of Pingalwara. Bhagatji said ”If I had not come across Piara, Pingalwara could not have come into existence and I would not have been able to serve the people to this extent.”
The path leading to the formation of Pingalwara was extremely difficult. There was no money or shelter, not enough food, no medicines or any other kind of support available. Undaunted by all these difficulties he continued to pick up these dirty, dying and infectious creations of man from wherever they could be found and the number of patients kept on increasing.
He stood all alone toiling day and night looking after the lost and abandoned souls. He had to beg for money in the morning, feed the hungry mouths, wash them, take them to hospitals and venture out again to collect more money for the evening meals. Thoughts about his own comfort never entered his mind. He owned nothing but the clothes on his back, the idea of marriage never occurred to him as the suffering humanity became his immediate family.
Care of destitute persons is a Herculean task and Bhagatji found a suitable successor in Dr.Inderjit Kaur before his demise in 1992.
Today Pingalwara has enlarged its sphere of activities and is providing shelter, medical facilities and care to more than 1700 residents.
Here are truths discovered not from books, but from acting, throbbing life.
- Why were these healthy babies abandoned on the road side?
- Why there are so many mentally disabled and old people without homes; why was this man left on the road side?
- Why this mentally disabled woman was sexually abused, got pregnant and was thrown out?
- These children are not with their parents. Why?
Each of the 1700 residents of Pingalwara raises similar questions.
Most of the residents on arrival are in a pitiable state of mental and physical health and cannot even recall their names. Slowly and surely they are nurtured back to health and many reunited with their families.
For this the residents are housed in 6 branches in different cities of Punjab.
All the branches have spacious wards, well stocked dispensaries and caretakers who work around the clock to look after the residents. Many of these are suffering from chronic or incurable diseases and are going to spend their entire life in Pingalwara.
It would not suffice to provide only food, medicines, clothes and shelter to the residents. Their emotional and development requirements need to be considered and provided for. Special attention needs to be paid to their recreational activities. It is only through these all-round efforts that every year 200 patients recover from their ailment and are re-united with their families.
Young boys and girls are housed in separate hostels in a clean and nourishing environment. They have all the modern amenities for their healthy growth.
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And when they grow up they are married off into suitable families.
For immediate and continuous medical requirements of the residents, Pingalwara also provides specialist medical services.
Prosthetic and Orthotics Centre is the only of its kind in whole of Northern India. It provides all suitable devices for the Pingalwara patients and those from outside. From 2003 to mid July 2012, 3475 devices were provided; 1086 devices were repaired.
Dental centres at Chandigarh and Amritsar provide dental care to the residents and needy persons free of charge.
A well equipped physiotherapy centre meets all the needs of Pingalwara patients and on an average 50 patients are treated every day. Poor and needy patients from outside are also given free treatment.
There is a state of the art Micro-Surgery Operation theatre where major and minor operations are carried out. Two deaf children have been provided with Cochlear Implants and more implants are in the offing.
Sensory Rooms are an important part in the development of many of the children be it for visual stimulation, sounds, textures or movement.
Loneliness, helplessness and boredom are the three plagues that account for most of the suffering among older adults. To overcome this Apna Ghars as a concept have been introduced. Here the elderly people live together and share their life experiences.
Bhagaji was of the view that the state of the poor and deprived sections of the society cannot be improved until they are educated. Keeping this in view Pingalwara is running 5 schools.
Only nature can show us the way out of this quagmire and it comes in the form of zero budget natural farming, also known as spiritual farming. In spiritual farming all the food is grown naturally. Pingalwara has a 32 acre model farm and research centre where spiritual farming is practiced. Today Pingalwara is producing more and more natural food than ever thought possible. Farmers from many of the states of the country are thronging to the see this miracle and learn new farming techniques.
Our social, economic, health and ethical issues cannot be resolved unless people are made aware of the problems and their solutions. To achieve this more than 10,000 pages are printed in Pingalwara press every day on various issues for free distribution in the form of books, booklets and pamphlets. Lectures/seminars and exhibitions on important issues are held to find suitable solutions.
The human spirit can soar to any level. These people are not destitute, bonds develop, love blossoms, hopes are kindled and lives are taking beautiful shapes. This has been possible only with gracious help all those who have contributed to this great cause.
Pingalwara is a temple of God with humanity installed as the idol.
You can visit the website and make donations here: www.pingalwara.net/donations.html