It is truly said that if you want to do something, nothing can stop you from achieving it. Everything is possible. This has been proven by a taxi driver who built his dream hospital in his village after struggling for 12 long years! Taxi driver Saidul Laskar’s sister was only 17 when she died of a chest infection since he couldn’t afford her a treatment. Her death in 2004 left a major impact on the now 55-year-old man, who vowed that he won’t let anybody else in his village die like his sister just because they can’t afford treatment in a hospital. Thus began Saidul’s journey to collect money and set up a hospital in his village, Punri, on the outskirts of Kolkata.
After struggling for 12 long years, the humble taxi driver finally inaugurated his dream hospital, Marufa Smriti Welfare Foundation hospital, named after his late sister on Saturday, as reported by the Times of India. Saidul said, his hospital will provide affordable treatment to more than 100 villages. It began its outdoor department operations from Saturday with six beds but is expected to have another 30 beds in the next upcoming six months. His road to building a hospital was not at all easy. Saidul still remembers the moment when he asked his wife for Rs 3 lakhs to buy a two bigha plot for setting up the hospital.
How Saidul Arranged The Fund:
He had no money left. And so Shamima, his wife, handed over all her jewelry to him so that he could sell it and raise money for the plot. “He told me that he wanted to build a hospital and asked for my ornaments. We had a long discussion, and he patiently convinced me. For nine long years, he has been saving every penny, and I knew that he would be successful,” Saidul’s wife Shamima said.
Saidul then began raising funds by requesting donations from his passengers and one such donor who gave up her entire first-month salary for the cause was specially invited by Saidul to inaugurate the hospital. This young girl was 23-year-old mechanical engineer Shrishti Ghosh. Saidul recalls the day when Shrishti and her mother, residents of Kalikapur, boarded his cab from South City and when he asked them for a donation, Shrishti not only handed over a Rs 100 note but took down his number too.
“In June last year, she came to my hospital and gave me Rs 25,000 — her first month’s salary. In Srishti I find my sister,” Saidul told TOI. The hospital will make affordable treatment accessible to hundreds of villagers since the area has no adequate medical facilities. Many of the locals have also come forward to help with donations for the construction of an additional third floor for the hospital with 20 beds.
36 Lakh Spent:
Saidul has spent over Rs 36 lakh to construct the hospital till date. While he plans to dedicate the first floor to outdoor patients, the second floor will have pathological labs. He has also received help in kind from an organisation, which donated an X-Ray machine and an ECG machine. The next step for Saidul is to work with a nursing school and help train the local girls to work as nurses in the hospital.
Joy Chowdhury, an optometrist who has taken up the responsibility of handling the hospital’s eye department. “Saidul’s effort is a huge one, and we want to help him”. Shiresh Chowdhury who is set to take charge of the hospital’s orthopedic department appreciated Saidul’s effort. “Building a hospital is a huge task and it needs at least Rs 2 to 3 crore. To fulfill the basic requirement of a hospital. I am a member of an NGO – ‘Banchbo’ and we have come forward to give him support. Initially, we have started the Outdoor Patient Department, and we will start the indoor soon. If we work together I think this is possible,” he said.
We hope more and more people come forward to support Saidul. And help him promote his vision of affordable healthcare in his village! Read another inspiring article, What This Jaipur Woman Did For Girls Will Inspire You!