We have seen people setting standards in giving it back to the society by donating their riches to hundreds of causes. This is just because they want to see an immediate change in people’s lives. Some people always feel a great sense of accomplishment when they help people and Dr Bharat Vatwani is one of a kind.
He is one of the most generous person’s you’ll ever come across. For his generosity, he was featured as ‘Magsaysay Award winner’. The story of Dr Bharat Vatwani is one that needs to be told to the world and the generous people deserves media attention.
Dr Bharat Vatwani is a psychiatrist. His wife name Dr Smitha Shraddha. They both always had the intention to do something for the mentally ill people. It’s true to the fact that life has not been so good for the wandering mentally ill people. When no one came forward to help them, Dr Bharat Vatwani and his wife stepped into the scene to solve the problem. They built a Rehabilitation Home in Karjat where 120 wanderers can accommodate at any given time.
So far, around 7,000 people are benefited as they got the backing from Dr Bharat Vatwani & Dr Smitha Shraddha. “Although we have helped around 7,000 people so far, we have proper records only since 2006 when our Karjat centre came up,” he said. Since the year 2006, they have treated and reunited 5,489 patients.
“This year so far, we have managed to reunite 485 people,’’ he added. Vatwani said he was ecstatic at the “international recognition” for his work. “I only hope this will bring the focus on the wandering mentally ill people on our roads.” Schizophrenia, a mental disorder characterized by delusions and hallucinations and “hearing of voices”, affects roughly 1 million Indians every year.
Vatwani stressed the fact that awareness about mental illnesses like “schizophrenia” was poor in India. “People don’t realise it’s a condition that needs regular medication and attention. Hopefully, the Magsaysay award will reduce the stigma as well.”
Dr Vatwani has a got a staggering 98% success record in treating and reuniting patients with families. Talking about the secret, “We have a great team of social workers from different parts of the country who manage to connect with the patient, and help trace the family.”
“We noticed a man whose behaviour and mannerisms left us in no doubt that he had schizophrenia.” Some minutes later, the man picked up an empty coconut shell from the road, took some gutter water with it to drink. They quickly went up to him and asked him if he there is any chance to come with them as they could assist him. The man agreed and went alone with them. After some months, something extraordinary happened. The couple reunited him with his family in Andhra Pradesh.
Shraddha centre does not allow people brought by kin or alcoholics and drug addicts. “Our ambulances only pick up the mentally ill.”
Work at Shraddha centre is completely funded through charity. “We get contributions through word of mouth and we get enough to help all our patients,” Vatwani said. He is not keen to expand his operations. “We need other doctors and NGOs to replicate this so that wandering mentally ill across the country could be helped,” he said.
Psychiatrist Dr Bharat Shah who is Dr Vatwani’s friend ever since MBBS days at JJ Hospital, said, “He took up the task of helping the homeless mentally ill at a time when he was himself struggling to establish a practice.” Shah opened up that his friend’s dedication to the cause was remarkable. “The destitute and mentally ill are not in a position to reward anyone. It takes a lot of inner drive of a different kind to take up such a task,” Shah added.