It is commonly said “You cannot stop the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can stop them from nesting in your hair”, and rightly so! Well, the story of Vishal Singh shows how he followed this in his life to change his attitude towards it. It was the death of his father that elicited a strong response and he decided to feed hungry mouths. Channelizing his grief into compassion, he established Vijay Shree foundation, which was named by his father.
Recalling the times when life threw hardships on his family, Vishal Singh said, “I have experienced what it is like to go to bed on an empty stomach night after night. It was almost 14 years ago that my father was admitted into a hospital in Gurugram. I remember sitting there beside him and thinking about many others, who like me, would be going to bed hungry. I wanted to do something, and my father’s death pushed me forward.”
Vishal Singh found a way of coping with his father’s death by feeding the deprived, “I did whatever it took in the beginning. I ran a tea stall for a while, and with the money I made, I started something new and so on. People in worse situations came to me, and that kept me going.”
In a conversation with Vishal Singh, he shared the objective behind his foundation. Beginning his journey by candle making, he made enough money to provide food for hospital attendants in Lucknow.
Under a banyan tree, an initiative was taken by Vishal, where he arranged wholesome meals for poor patients, every day between 1-3 pm. It has been more than a decade since Vishal’s father died, which gave birth to Balram Hospital. Vishal says, “The hospital provides food only for the patients, while their attendants are left to fend for themselves. The cost of being admitted is so high that there is often no money left.”
Vishal looks forward to help the needy, which is very well reflected through his words. “We do not accept monetary contributions; it helps in being transparent as well. We encourage people to contribute raw material that we need for cooking. In very few instances, when people are in other places and can only contribute financially, we ask them to send us the money into the account we have set up,” he says.
His motto is to ensure that each person has a good meal, and leaves contended. “Nutritious food served with love–that’s my motto. In fact, one will never even imagine that this is the food served outside a hospital, as it is tasty as well,” he says, with pride.
“As of now, this is a one-man-show, but I get a lot of help from various quarters. I would be happy if this model can be replicated in other states as well. My aim is that no attendant waiting beside someone in the hospital should ever be hungry,” says Mr Singh.
Vishal Singh’s future plans are expansive where he would invest in constructing a centralized kitchen to feed more people.