Mr.Sudhir Pratap Singh is an IPS officer by profession. In 2002, he was assigned as a liaison to accompany a team of pilgrims doing the Manasarovar Yatra conducted by the Indian Government. On that yatra, Mr. Singh met a girl who was actively involved in social service. She spoke about how she used to go to the dharmashala run by Safdarjung Hospital and distribute ration, milk and other essentials to the poor patients who came from far and wide for treatment at the hospital.
In 2002, Mr. Singh and a group of people he thought might be interested in social service visited the dharmashala. Though many of the group of people soon lost interest, he found himself totally committed. He began visiting every weekend, bringing food, milk, rations and some financial help.
A nurse informed him of a trauma center at AIIMS Hospital where the poor would go seeking assistance. This was when he decided to it was time to bring a formal structure to his work of helping the poor. He set up an organization named Sapna, meaning “dream”. Sapna was registered as an NGO in 2004.
Initially, the organization consisted of a small table and chair outside the trauma center in AIIMS where Mr. Singh and two of his colleagues from work would survey and reach out to the people who needed help with money and medicines. Sometimes this small team even found the ways and means to raise funds to finance a surgery for a needy patient. Many of the patients at the trauma center were homeless and abandoned and had no place to go.
After a couple of years, Mr. Singh was transferred to Alwar in Rajasthan. He continued his social work at the trauma center in New Delhi however, and his dedicated and committed service led to recognition from the government. At a meeting with a member of the royal family of Alwar, he proposed the idea that some of the homeless people from the AIIMS Trauma Center be given an opportunity to get work. His host promptly offered to make one homeless person a guard at the palace. Mr. Singh further requested for some room in the palace outhouses, which could be used to serve the poor in Alwar, since the trauma center in Delhi was filling up. The Royals consented and Mr. Singh was given a room in the outhouse. This space increased over time from one room to eventually the entire outhouse.
In the year 2007, Mr. Singh expanded Sapna’s work to Vijay Mandir in Alwar where Sapna provided care and rehabilitation for unknown patients. The place was named Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre and serves as a home for the sick and destitute. This center increased its services to include blood donation camps, support to kidney patients for dialysis and medicines, and also surgical services for the poor.
Mr. Singh found that several people serving at the center sought to work there. “All the social workers who are working for me now are the ones who went through trauma before. One was a patient himself, another worked for his brother who was in coma and we helped him with the medicines and financial support.”
Service to the poor in a small way has grown to reach thousands of people via these trauma centers. “Initially we used to approach a person individually, but now doctors themselves refer the patients to us. It didn’t happen in a day but it happened through the work we did genuinely,” adds Sunil who is the social worker with the organization at AIIMS Trauma Center.