A little known fact about the famous cricketer Vijay Merchant is that he was totally moved by the plight of the physically challenged. His numerous crusades against the hardships faced by the physically challenged is what led him to set up the NASEOH. “God has been kind to me in many ways. There is only one way to repay my debt to him: by helping the handicapped and the disabled,” he used to say.
During his post-cricket days, he used to meet, on an average, 15-20 homeless and handicapped people at his office; to whom he provided wheelchairs, three-wheeled cycles, special types of chairs and Jaipur Foot. He also provided the blind with white canes, Braille machines, lottery business, cloth agency, fruit vending, public telephone booths. Not only did he provide this help, but he would follow up with them to ensure that they were making proper use of the same.
In 1968, along with other eminent professionals, doctors and social workers, he founded the National Society for Equal Opportunities for the Handicapped (NASEOH) to provide rehabilitation opportunities for people with disabilities so as to facilitate their integration into mainstream society. Till date the organisation has served over 50,000 people with disabilities – through mobility aids, corrective surgeries, vocational training and more. And continues to do so.