This couldn't have been truer for Tushar Sampat. He's come a long way since those days of despair and having been hopelessly addicted to hard drugs. Those days when he slept on footpaths in the streets of Mumbai, someone who was penniless and despairing to the point of attempting suicide.
On June 26th, Tushar has been presented with the National Award for Outstanding individual achievement by a non- professional in the field of De-addiction, by Hon. Shri Pranab Mukherjee President of India at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, presents these awards to individuals as well as institutions, every year, for the most effective or outstanding services in the field of de-addiction. This year four of these awardees are from Maharashtra alone.
Not content at merely achieving this through his own recovery, he ventured forth to help others in recovery, to give them the opportunities he did not get and more importantly contribute to the efforts of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, the work of UNODC in South Asia and also the work of Dept. of Social Welfare, Government of Maharashtra. The transformation did not stop at this. He went on to create a Trust – Vikiran Information Dissemination Foundation and shared his gains from Recovery by creating a support group – addictionsupport.aarogya.com Translated de-addiction content to Marathi and Gujarati making this support group multi lingual so as to reach people in rural areas. The support group has helped numerous people in recovery and has been recognised by the NASSCOM Foundation with the Social Innovation Honours Award. He also helped CNN IBN with a special show on depression and addiction and actively devotes part of his time energy and resources to addiction prevention and awareness.
In his endeavor to give back to the society, Tushar desires to celebrate his National award by implementing an innovative project to help the recovering addicts, sustain their recovery. In 2011 he conceptualised and implemented a pilot project for a unique initiative – Utthaan Seva - for their Vocational Rehabilitation with Government of Maharashtra and Small-scale Industry. The Ministry of Social Justice and Special Assistance, Government of Maharashtra, has found value in this project and is actively considering to implement it state-wide soon and are trying to seek support from the Central Government too. If this happens, it will be a fine example of Centre-State co-ordination to achieve socially meaningful common goals.
The objective of Utthaan Seva project is to make available a platform that will help the recovering addicts to get gainful employment and in turn will facilitate the general public to get easy access to skilled human resource. In subsequent stage of the project, if required, sensitization and skill development training will be introduced. Having a job will increase self-esteem, self-confidence and reinforce their position within society. This in turns strengthens their efforts and acts as a positive catalyst for reintegration and sustained recovery.
His work does not stop at de-addiction work. He runs a well known health portal – aarogya.com and has been instrumental in conducting successful matrimonial meets across Maharashtra for People Living with HIV. He is also a Trustee of Sanvedana an Epilepsy support group. Transformation is the best way to describe Tushar's journey. Miraculous is another.
It would not have been possible without the supporting hands of Dr. Anita Awachat and Dr. Anil Awachat - for not giving up on him and having faith in his inherent abilities. Dr. Rajesh Kumar and Dr. Zeenat Naquati for recognising his potential and helping him actualise it.
For more details, please feel free to contact:
Parag Yadav, Project Co-ordinator, Aarogya.com