HYDERABAD:They were passing through a tunnel of darkness. At every step, they were engulfed in anguish, encountered grief and endured pain but at the end of the tunnel, they found light in the form of a human being. A heart that melted for them, hands that was raring to go to help serve them and a face that would bring in priceless smiles on their faces. Jasper Paul, a 22-year-old is the ray of hope in the lives of 300 destitute people of which 42 of them are currently living in the trust he started for them, aptly called The Second Chance Home. The rescue home for the destitute on the death bed was started in March 2017 with just one woman.
At the age of 19, he met with an accident, where his car somersaulted three times. Although his car was smashed and whittled into pieces, Jasper walked out without a single bruise. This episode changed his perception of life. He was on a pursuit of finding the purpose of his life.
“One day, I was passing by Secunderabad station road and found an old frail woman, just covered in a blanket, with flies all around her. I thought she was dead. But when I went closer, I realised she was alive. I reluctantly left the place. But there was something within me, almost like god, telling me that this was my chance to do something good for the second chance that I got after that accident. Along with my friend Rachael, I rescued the woman. She was terribly injured. There were worms eating the flesh and we could see the bone. I took her to Gandhi Hospital, removed all the maggots by myself and then shifted her to an old age home. Within three days, the news had gone viral that a 19-year-old had rescued an old woman. Thanks to the news coverage, she was reunified with her family. Ever since that day, I started rescuing people and placing them in old age homes.”
He continues, “Every person I admitted into an old age home died within a few days or even a few hours. I was left heartbroken. I understood that the care given at these homes were not up to the mark. That is when I took a decision to start an organisation. I registered it as a charitable trust. The sole mission of our organisation is to shower love by providing nutritious food, medical help and good shelter to those people who are on the verge of dying.”
Ask him how different is his destitute home from the other organisations, in a fraction of a second, he replies that the Second Chance is a home where people come to live but not die. “I started it in a small house in Sainikpuri with just one woman and today we have four centres across Hyderabad housing about 42 people. In a span of one year, we have rescued about 80 people. Most of them stay with us, a few have reunited with their families and a few have unfortunately died,” he informs.
Jasper and his team rescue destitute people from the streets, provide them rehabilitation – physical, mental and spiritual, care for them till their last breath and also create awareness around about what is it to leave people to die on the roads.
Says Jasper, “Finding an owner who would rent out their place for the less fortunate was a mighty challenge. Channelising and raising funds was also a challenge but thankfully, we have been able to pay our bills on time till date.”
Jasper usually receives a lot of calls from police, press and general public requesting him to rescue a homeless man or woman on the road. He asks them to send him a picture, which enables him to gauge if the case is genuine or not. “We pick up people who are only in dying condition and not beggars. Sometimes, we have to deal with mentally unsound people. We may have to force them into the vehicle with the help of cops. Once they are in our home, with all the love and care rained upon them, they gain trust and open up to us. Many alcoholics and drug addicts have come to our home and recuperated from their addictions,” Jasper says with a glint in his eyes.
This millennial gets his funds for the home with the help of social media. He posts a small write-up about the rescued ones online, along with a link to donate. They also do live videos on Facebook from the rescue spot so that people get to learn about what is happening on the field. (www.facebook.com/jasperpaul) “No edits, no sugar coating, no background music, just raw footage from the field and it has proved advantageous,” he smiles. “Some working professionals enlist the support of their company in donating items for our home as well,” Jasper adds.
This man with a golden heart did his schooling from St Michael’s High School, Hyderabad, intermediate from Loyola Junior College and engineering in computer science from St Peter’s Engineering College. Jasper is also a musician, who is into vocal music, guitar, keyboard and drums. He plays for a band in church. He had done a month-long internship at Amazon and later switched to full-time social service. He took intensive training in first aid and has saved more than 15 accident victims so far.
The Second Chance Home in Sainikpuri is equipped with 10 beds. They have doctors and psychiatrists paying a visit almost twice a week. They also have nurses to administer saline and medicines round the clock. From a strict diet menu to TV, carrom board, books, newspapers and gardening, the home has it all.
“Our Ghatkesar home can accommodate around 40 people and it has space for people to move around freely. We have a garden, where we grow our own vegetables and it is all maintained by the residents. We also house animals such as dogs and cats which is an active stress buster for the residents. They often go and sleep with the residents and it is a good sight to watch them pet these animals. We are planning to start two more centres in Uppal and Medipally,” he shares.
As their work entails dealing with a lot of pain, foul smell and infection, they don’t encourage volunteers to work on those lines. Instead, they are asked to help with other aspects. “However, I have six full-time paid staff who take care of the residents 24X7,” he concludes.
— Purnima Sriram