A philanthropist is a person, who does not just express his/ her trepidation regarding global issues but works, tirelessly and intrepidly, to aid other people. Mr. Sacheen Gandhi is one such philanthropist. He is the founder and core member of Medicine Baba, an N.G.O. that provides free medicines and medical facilities to the impoverished. (The N.G.O., primarily, collects unused medicines from people and distributes it to the needy. He is also the founder of Social Talks, an organization that talks unabashedly about sex trafficking and rape, as well as, other pivotal subjects like the development of children.
We, at ThePopStories, had the privilege of conducting an interview with him, in which he talked about a variety of issues like sex trafficking, healthcare, and about his life.
Mr. Sacheen Gandhi began his career in 2002 by working in a chartered bank. Mr. Gandhi often watched as people came in, seeking loans and had an epiphany. He realized how many loan seekers required loans for health-related issues (of family members). He also thought plenty about all those people who could not access and afford medicines or loans for the same. Soon, his father fell severely ill and in 2006, Mr. Gandhi lost his father.
After his father’s demise, Mr. Sacheen Gandhi became resolute in his belief that measures needed to be taken to ensure better healthcare, and in 2010, he resigned from his job. He founded his N.G.O. Cures and he became to collect medicines from people to give to the needy.
During the Kanwar Yatra, he ( and his team) set up camps to help people along the same path as that of the yatra. During these years, he met Omkar Nath Sharma, and together they founded Medicine Baba. They began to collect unused medicines from people. They also took into account medical tests and medical equipment that are often expensive for the poor. The growth was gradual as they received a scarce amount of medicines in the beginning. However, Mr. Gandhi’s sales and marketing background gave the N.G.O. a push as he began to tie up with corporates like Nokia, Bajaj Electrical, etc. They installed ‘medicine boxes’ in various places as well. The change was momentous as Medicine Baba began to receive applause from the media, as well.
Currently, they receive a prodigious amount of medicines (nationally and internationally) and also provide medical equipment. The distribution of the medicines was immensely challenging as they received medicines in plenty but people hardly came to avail the benefits of the same. Mr. Gandhi cited that the people who read about them were the ones who would give the unused medicines; the awareness needed to be spread among the underprivileged. Thus, they began to organize awareness campaigns.
Mr. Sacheen Gandhi spoke empathetically about the environmental impact of reckless disposal of medicines. He asserted how throwing unused and expired medicines in dustbins would eventually be consumed by animals or land up in the water.
Mr. Gandhi wrote letters to ministries urging them to formulate laws regarding the same. He spoke about how unused medicines can be given to N.G.Os that distribute it to the impoverished.
Mr. Gandhi expressed his disappointment at the lack of guidelines to dispose of expired medicines. He discussed how he had met students studying pharmaceuticals and questioned them about the disposal of expired medicines and received no practical solution. Mr. Gandhi even voiced that flushing the medicines down the drains and landfilling them would be redundant.
He also came up with a solution by himself. The solution is to mix the cement with water and add the medicines (a small amount) to this mixture as well. This cement+ medicine mixture becomes a brick that does not release any toxic gases, does not melt at high temperatures, and proves to be environment friendly.
Mr. Sacheen Gandhi elucidated on how many N.G.Os are suffering as the number of donations they were receiving as reduced significantly because people cannot afford their own livelihood, let alone donate, presently. Collection, transportation, and distribution of medicines have become an ordeal as well.
Mr. Gandhi and his team have established a Gaushala ( a shelter for cows ), wherein they have 400+ wounded and injured cows. They do not obtain dairy products from these cows. However, to fund their humanitarian goals, they have started making products like incense sticks, lamps, etc out of cow dung , that they are planning to sell. He describes this initiative as ‘ from local to global’.
Mr. Gandhi expressed his despondency in the government saying that this conversation (regarding changes and improvement at the national level ) is never-ending. He stated how, currently, the pandemic is being used as an excuse, to make medical facilities and other such equipment more expensive.
Mr. Gandhi began this conversation by talking about the dauntless Triveni Acharya. Ms. Archarya helps in the rehabilitation of sex workers and tries to salvage them from the gruesome ‘business ‘of sex trafficking. Mr. Gandhi talked about how in a recent conversation with Ms. Acharya, they had a discourse regarding sex trafficking during this pandemic.
Mr. Gandhi believes that it is crucial to humanizing sex workers and condemned the authority for not aiding them. These workers are just trying to earn money. He also shared certain horrifying details about his own experience with sex workers and how they are pleading for drugs and alcohol to assuage their depression.
Mr. Gandhi is currently working on how to assist these sex workers through fundraising etc, under ‘Milaap Project’; the goal is to provide them the requisite medicines and counseling. He cited that after rehabilitation, former sex workers, often become brilliant artists and explore various professions and gain independence. He also elaborated on the resourcefulness of the gangs involved in sex trafficking, and how they remain acutely aware of the police’s knowledge.
Mr. Gandhi spoke about the clandestine nature of rape and how such a heinous crime is perpetuated in unsuspecting places like homes and offices too. He voiced that to prevent rape, we must normalize revealing clothing. If a woman has worn that society generally sees as provocative. She is met by disapproving glances and lecherous looks from men.
Parents must allow kids to see women dressed in revealing clothes. This normalization must start at the grassroots level. Which is childhood, for only then would the future generation be able to see women in revealing clothes as ordinary and not outrageous.
Talking about the miserable condition of orphanages, he asserted that many N.G.Os that establish orphanages and receive great funding, often, do not educate the young kids. The purpose is to not simply provide food but to ensure that these kids can earn enough to afford the necessities by themselves, which can only be brought by education.
He, however, appreciated an N.G.O. Gandhi Bhawan, situated in Kerala that educates its orphans.
Throughout the interview, Mr. Gandhi shared his knowledge of various issues. He also wanted people to know that if they remain strong and persevere, they can survive. He urged all the readers to stay strong. We ThePopStories team, thank Mr. Sacheen Gandhi for being a part of this interview and talking with us. We wish him and the whole team at Medicine Baba the best of luck for all her ongoing and future endeavors.