Published: 02nd October 2018
With the Earth Saviours Foundation, Ravi Kalra is providing a home to those abandoned by their families
Being a non-priest, Ravi Kalra alone has cremated nearly 6000 unidentified, unclaimed bodies
As it is believed worldwide, everything happens for a reason. Each one of us has experienced a moment in our lives that might have compelled us to modify or change our perspectives. Ravi Kalra was no exception. The sight of a poor child in torn clothes and a stray dog eating food from the same pile of garbage was the moment of truth for Ravi, the founder and president of The Earth Saviours Foundation, an NGO that works for the proper care of destitute adults, children, abandoned senior citizens, mentally-challenged and specially-abled people.
Started in 2008, The Earth Saviours Foundation is home to over 500 destitute currently. Fighting against all the odds, Ravi set up this NGO with his hard earned money and it is now running successfully in Gurgaon.
Helping those abandoned by their families: There are no criteria for admission, no formalities, no reference, no ID is required if someone can't take care of themselves, the NGO is there to help and to support
The NGO was set up with the aim to serve the less privileged — lying on the roads, eating garbage, have no one to care for them, can't take care of themselves. The volunteers from the organisation rescue them and rehabilitate them in their shelter home free of cost. The foundation's shelter home is named Gurukul and is based in Bandwari village in Gurugram.
"At first, we used to rescue these people ourselves, now the police also bring them to us, the social justice empowerment ministry also gets people admitted at our shelter home," explains Ravi.
Ravi, who is a Delhi University graduate, went on to get a level 4 Dan Black Belt in Taekwondo Martial Arts. He hosted training courses for police battalions, also worked on a contract basis training the armed forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, Ravi says setting up the foundation changed the course of his life and its purpose.
"What is really depressing is this organisation and the home was set up with the capacity of housing 200 people, but 450 people stay there now, there's no place to even walk. Most of them can't take care of themselves. What I would specifically like to tell everyone is there are no drug addicts — people have the notion that these people on the streets are mostly drug addicts, but in reality that is not the case. They are mostly mentally-challenged or have been thrown out of their houses by their children," adds Ravi.
Providing a livelihood: The Earth Saviours Foundation was set up with the aim to serve the less privileged — lying on the roads, eating garbage, have no one to care for them
Ravi reveals a lesser-known and immensely shocking fact about these people. "What is unpleasantly surprising is we set it up for the less privileged and poor and the uneducated, but most of the people we have rescued till now are educated. Let me give you some examples. We found a man who was roaming around on the streets, his children threw him out of his home, later we found out he is a retired judge. Another man was an ex-IFS officer. Some we found are ex-army men, freedom fighters, NRIs, graduates (M Com, MBAs). You see them on the roads wearing torn clothes, with long nails and dirty hair, you would think they come from really poor families, but to our surprise that hasn't always been the case. Some of them lost their jobs, experienced some kind of trauma which had an adverse effect on their brains, thus they suffer from depression, extreme depression and then lose their stability and resort to roaming on the streets," says Ravi.
The NGO provides these people with a livelihood. There is no criteria for admission, no formalities, no reference, no ID is required, if someone can't take care of themselves, the NGO is there to help and to support.
It has now become a regular practice for Ravi to visit the streets of Delhi looking for the abandoned, bed-ridden, mentally disabled, HIV infected, people having maggots on their bodies and barely surviving on the streets. He immediately brings them to his shelter home.
Ravi says what they have realised after a decade of service is that humanity has reached its lowest point, it feels like people are moving towards becoming even more cruel towards their fellow beings. Ravi goes on to tell us some heartwrenching stories of people they had to get admitted at their shelter home.
Once we got an elderly man whose son had tied him up and kept him locked in a room for 10 years. One guy came in a Skoda car and said take my mother in, his mother weighed only 12 kgs, we were all shocked by the condition of the woman. We learnt the family had 100 acres of land and the son asked his mother to give him everything and not to his sisters, so he kept his mother locked inside the house without food, water or proper care
Ravi Kalra, Founder, Earth Saviours Foundation
"In another incident, one guy sold his father's house without telling him, made a green card in order to travel to the US and then just four hours before his flight locked his father up in a rented room and let loose a nest of mice," Ravi exclaims in sheer horror.
Despite not being a priest, Ravi alone has cremated nearly 6000 unidentified, unclaimed bodies. These are those unfortunate dead people who are brought to the cremation centre after the postmortem and police clearance, unclaimed by their families, where Ravi offers his helping hand voluntarily to cremate them with dignity and prayers so that their souls can rest in peace.
As for his future plans, Ravi says he wants to build the world's largest charitable temple of humanity — accommodation for 1000, in-house hospital and a police control room.