Hemkunt Foundation, the NGO that has become synonymous with hope in India is conducting over 12+ relief projects simultaneously, trying its best to save the country from Covid’s second wave.
From oxygen cylinder drives and oxygen drive thrus to supplying food and financial aid to those in need, the foundation has become India’s saving grace.
Since the 2nd wave started, we’ve helped thousands with oxygen cylinders. And now, we’re pooling money to import oxygen cylinders; we also plan on building a PSA plant to manufacture oxygen. Till now, we’ve helped people with over 1,50,000+ litres of oxygen. My son has gotten COVID twice but as soon as he recovered, he joined me. Whenever people praise him, my chest swells with pride. I know that even if something happens to me, my son will take care of all this & Hemkunt will keep helping people.
-Irinder Singh Ahluwalia
Irinder Singh Ahluwalia, the founder of Hemkunt Foundation shared the journey of how he began the NGO back in 2010 with Humans of Bombay. He admitted that it wasn’t until the personal tragedy in 2013 that he took the steps necessary to take Hemkunt Foundation forward.
In 2013, when I was trekking to Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib with my family, a cloudburst hit us. For a week, I was stuck in Uttarakhand without food or shelter; I was traumatised by the deaths I saw. Finally, on the 8th day, the Army rescued us. I couldn’t believe we were safe–mujhe aisa laga ki khud bhagwan aye hamari madat ke liye, Army officers ke roop mein. I knew I’d found my calling.
He went back to Uttarakhand despite making it out alive, with fuel and food for the locals. And over a span of 2.5 years, the foundation rebuilt houses, constructed roads. Even though Irinder Singh’s business took a backseat, he sold his house and wife’s jewellery to keep the foundation going. “Still, I was sure, ‘Business rahe ya na rahe, Hemkunt rehna chahiye’; we kept going on donations by well-wishers,” he added, stating that they moved to a one-bedroom apartment.
He narrated how he the foundation began helping in 2020, and grew with just word of mouth.
One of those days, a man who’d lost his family asked me for a loan of Rs.70,000–we had no money, but I didn’t have the heart to refuse him & gave him a cheque. That evening, a stranger donated exactly Rs.70,000! Then when the 2020 lockdown happened, I only had Rs.12,500. So I devised a plan to help migrants; I made 10 rotis & asked 10 neighbours to do the same. Each of them telephoned 10 others & soon, we were distributing 40000 rotis a day.
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