The 2003 World of Children Award Honorees
“I have seen expressions of joy, sorrow, anguish and agony in children, where one can see the hope in their eyes but sometimes despair and frustration too. These compelling sights prompted me to lend them a hand so that they could see a better tomorrow.” – Mahendra Mehta
As a child, Mahendra Mehta’s mother encouraged him to give his first earnings to the less fortunate. Throughout his lifetime, he continued to follow his mother’s wise words. Over two decades ago, Mahendra began the Ratna Nidhi Charitable Trust with capital from his own family fund. He was also the trustee of Project Mainstream, Hamara Foundation and Help Handicapped International.
Mahendra’s programs include surgery for polio victims, surgery for children with cleft lips, education, small business training, as well as book and clothing distribution for impoverished children. With support from the European Commission, Mahendra also organized a soup kitchen for street children in India. These children receive a free meal for regularly attending school or education centers, or placing their wages into savings accounts. Through the Business Skill and Development Project, vulnerable children are taught business basics and vocational work. After graduating from the program, children are aided in finding suitable placements in the work force, or provided with a loan to start a small business.
Mahendra also started a Hospital on Wheels program, which travels to remote villages to provide health care to vulnerable children and their families.
Mahendra’s life mission was to help every child reach their full potential, no matter what their economic or social background. Though he passed away in 2013, his legacy lives on through the thousands of children that he helped with his generous spirit.
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