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This profile below was prepared when Sachidulal Bandhopadhyay was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1989.

Fellow Sketch

Sachidulal is working to ensure that all people, regardless of their age, caste, socioeconomic status, or mental condition, are treated with care and respect. 

Sachidulal started India’s first training and placement center for palliative care-givers, or as they’re commonly known- Aaya.  The Navadiganta Aaya Center partnered with hospitals and old age homes to place these professional care givers with the aged for the best palliative care. Now, more than 25 years after his election, Aaya centers have become the accepted system for palliative care and there are over 5000 Aaya centers in the city of Kolkata alone.

Under the Navadiganta umbrella Sachidulal expanded his work to set up a hospital for geriatric care, an orphanage for boys and girls, and a co-education high school for the children from the orphanage and other low income families. The Navadiganta Hospital is a 150 bed fully equipped hospital with 13 departments, including dental care for the aged. At any time the hospital provides free care to 25 patients with the profits they generate from the other paying patients.

Navadiganta runs 3 integrated orphanages and old age homes out of Sarsuna, Bankura and Rangilabad districts of West Bengal, housing 200 children and 110 elderly people. The Navadiganta Co-Education High School has been recognised by the West Bengal Government as a quality Higher Secondary school, where 1000 children from the Navadiganta orphanages and surrounding low-income neighbourhoods study for free.

Sachidulal built strong local relationships by raising local funding where local businesses and individuals bring more to the table than just money like advisory support. For instance, Sachidulal engaged with the policemen in Kolkata by raising funds, but, now sources information from them about abandoned children or old people on the streets that he can bring under Navadiganta’s care. At the age of 65, Sachidulal continues to build onto his work while having built a strong second line leadership to carry on his work after him. 

This profile was updated in September 2014. Read on for the Election Profile.