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Janta Janardan Parishad helps old people whose own children have abandoned them.
It is, indeed, true that ‘We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give’. This is the firm belief of Swami Dev Prakashji who founded Janta Janardan Parishad (JJP). Dr Asha Dayal, an educationist, is the co-founder. JJP, which is registered as a charitable trust, is a part of the Swami Tenuram Prem Prakash Ashram and has turned into a centre for humanitarian activities which go way beyond providing a home for the elderly.
Under the benevolent guidance of, and with financial support from Swami Santi Prakash Maharaj, JJP’s home for elderly was established nearly 40 years ago. Since the Ashram has a large number of devotees, finding the funds for JJP’s home for the elderly and other activities is not a major issue. An increasingly felt, and chilling, reality today is that parents who have spent their lives striving to give the best to their children—to the point that they have not even saved for their own twilight years—find themselves abandoned at a time when they need love, care and support. JJP’s mission is to alleviate the pain of loneliness and homelessness suffered by the elderly who have been abandoned by their children or find themselves without means of support.
JJP is situated at Ulhasnagar, a distant suburb of Mumbai. Over the years, JJP has supported 650 elders; the home has 78 residents at present. The organisation takes care of all their needs, including food, clothing and stay; the only condition for admission is that they should be capable of functioning independently. JJP has two dining rooms—one for men and another for women, both have television sets. And it is usual to see animated discussions on sports in one of the rooms and a mahila mandal in session in the other.
The organisation encourages visits by friends and supporters, especially on their birthdays and death anniversaries of earlier residents. However, it asks people to avoid bringing outside food for the residents, out of concern for their health. Instead, they can donate a minimum of Rs15 per person to the organisation.
The accounts, admission and management are taken care of by senior citizen volunteers who are called Sevadharis. The home has three women who cook for all. JJP also has weekly doctor’s visits for health check-ups. It provides aid medical aid to poor and needy patients, education aid, marriage aid, aid to visually impaired persons and any women in need.
The elderly are very welcoming. Some people think that visiting such places is boring or depressing, or they fear that the elderly would keep lamenting about their plight and complain about their life’s experiences. But it is not so. They tell you about themselves; and ask you many questions and keep you engaged. The visitors rarely are the children of the residents or any of their relatives. The visit timings are 8am to 2pm and 4pm to 8pm.
Most elders have been simply abandoned by their children. When asked, one of the residents said, “My children thought of me as a thing to be used; they took all my property and valuables and left me with nothing at all. A relative brought me here and, since then, I am living here.” Many had experienced financial issues as the root of being abandoned.
The work of the Swamiji inspires many to contribute regularly and generously. So the Ashram works on donations entirely. This NGO is registered as a trust and all donations to JJP qualify for rebate under Section 80G of the Income-tax Act, 1961. JJP welcomes donations in kind also so that it can continue its welfare activities with added strength.
Janta Janardan Parishad
Prem Prakash Ashram,
Dudh Naka, Ulhasnagar-421005