A disturbing interaction while he was interning at Sassoon, the city’s government hospital, lead to the birth of this foundation. While leaving the hospital at the end of a long day, he noticed an elderly patient whom he had treated, lying on the road outside the hospital. When he spoke to the elderly man, he learnt that he had nowhere to go. This was in 1988 and soon after, the foundation stone of Janaseva with Rs. 70,000, left to him from his own father’s will, was set up. From a humble beginning, through basic health camps and adoption of the elderly, the organisation has come a long way. It runs a full-fledged rural hospital, a home for destitute elderly and children, vocational training classes in computers and tailoring, and 3 of its mobile units reach the doorsteps of villagers, amongst other services. All activities, which have been realised after interacting with the poor themselves – which Dr. Vinod Shah is no stranger to as he believes that the highest purpose of life is to work for the poor.
Deriving his inspiration from his Father, Mother Theresa and Mahatma Gandhi, he staunchly believes that service to humanity is service to god and the highest purpose in life is to serve. This can be achieved only if one is passionate towards service. But it is to his mother that he attributes his giving nature. He recollects from his childhood about how his mother’s native home used to be a rendezvous spot for people in the village. During these meetings, his mother used to prepare food-drink and serve the guests selflessly, a habit which he picked up not realizing that it is the roadway to peace and happiness!
He seems to have passed on this trait to his own family too. His wife, Mrs. Meena Shah, volunteers full time at the foundation as admin-in-charge. His son,who currently resides in the US actively donates to charities in India too.Interestingly, the family believes that as they contribute their time to Janaseva, they should contribute financially to other NGOs – to show their support for their work!
I also learnt during my chat with the Janaseva team that Dr. Shah works a good 12-14 hours every day, including Sundays. In fact, during his college days (at Ferguson college in Pune), he used to travel back to his hometown Mahad every weekend to do free medical checkups for the people! It is this dedication that has helped take Janaseva to heights and keep his practice alive too. In fact, many of his well-to-patients donate to Janaseva, instead of paying him nominal doctors’ fees.
With passion and dedication like his, Janaseva is sure to reach a lot more milestones in the years to come.
Dr. Vinod Shah believes that one requires faith, devotion, and support from the close ones to achieve anything they desire which is one of the stepping stone to his success.
and gave an identity to individuals who are homeless, orphans or couldn’t afford a living due to various reasons. These individuals later emerged as Police officers, Entrepreneurs etc to name a few.
Spread around 120 centers and partnered with the cream of organizations in the social sector, Dr. Shah has definitely paved a path in the service to the elderly, destitute, and children.