The War Wounded Foundation was incorporated in August 2002, with the intention of creating long- term avenues for the financial independence of all war personnel of the Army, Navy and the Air Force. There are nearly 40,000 war disabled personnel in our country, scattered in different parts of India . On account of the heavy involvement of the defence forces, especially the Army, in major counter – insurgent and counter – terrorist operations in many parts of the country, there is a constant addition to the number of such personnel. The war disabled hail from all states and union territories. The work of the War Wounded Foundation is thus on an all India basis.
The War Wounded Foundation has been set up as an autonomous organization to assist war wounded personnel in leading useful & productive lives and becoming financially independent.
Membership of the Foundation is voluntary and free of any charges. The office bearers of the war wounded foundation work purely in an honorary capacity and receive no emoluments whatsoever .
The Foundation is a registered charitable society. It gets no funds from any government source. It carries out its activities with the help of donations from individuals, associations, institutions and organizations.
Our aim is to ensure that war disabled personnel become productive citizens by participating in the economic development of the Nation. At the same time, be able to supplement their income from pension and live with dignity by minimizing their dependence on others.
As the bulk of our troops hail from rural areas, they prefer to return to their roots after their service in the defence forces and are not inclined to take up jobs in cities. Having recognized this reality, our initial focus was to obtain retail outlets/sub dealerships for them, in products that had a rural market. Thus, we were able to generate self-employment for the war-disabled personnel in or close to their villages. These personnel, having become ‘soldier entrepreneurs’ were able to earn commissions on products sold. This enabled them to supplement their income from pension. We were thus able to assist nearly 100 war-disabled personnel to get outlets. However, after a few years, lesser number of war-disabled personnel were keen to become ‘soldier entrepreneurs’, as it did not appeal to their ethos as soldiers. In addition, the wholesalers appointed by the corporate houses did not support them fully.
With a view to meet the aspirations of the war-disabled personnel, the Foundation then switched its activities to imparting ‘skills’ to them. We initially focused on skills like computer training, spoken English, repairs of small items like TV, radios, cycles etc. Based on the feedback, we have now made the ’skills’ open-ended, to include driving training and in other fields that appeal to these personnel. As some of the older war-disabled personnel were reluctant to learn new skills, we opened the field to their wards also, so that the financial position of these personnel improved through their sons and daughters. This has now become our major focus, as acquisition of new skills appeals to the war-disabled personnel.
Based on interaction with disabled soldiers during meets/rallies and outreach programs, it was realized that wheel chair bound 100% disabled soldiers with disabilities such as paraplegia/quadriplegia etc have to totally depend upon assistance from family members for their routine activities and therefore lead a very difficult life because in most cases such help/assistance is not forthcoming voluntarily due to family compulsions/constraints. It was also found that in such cases proper toilets were not available and adhoc arrangements made, were very unhygienic and cumbersome to use. The Foundation, therefore, decided to provide disabled friendly toilets with suitably modified wheel chair to such disabled soldiers as part of rehabilitation program so as to reduce their dependence and mitigate their suffering to the extent possible. The Foundation has so far provided disabled friendly toilets along with modified wheel chairs to six such disabled soldiers. Efforts are on to identify more needy disabled soldiers and provide them with this facility. This is an ongoing program which will continue in future as well.
The Foundation is also committed to assist our veterans in resolving their personal problems with relevant Government/ Semi- Government / financial / pension/ medical authorities.
The aim of the War Wounded Foundation also coincides with the added focus of both the central and state governments on “Rural India”. The corporate sector too is now increasingly shifting its sights to rural areas in general and rural markets in particular, as 60 to 70 per cent of our population still lives in rural areas and is waiting to share the benefits of the vibrant economy of the country.
The vision of the War Wounded Foundation is to dot the countryside of the Nation with motivated confident, enterprising, diligent and honest Soldiers, who despite their disabilities continue to do their bit for nation- building and the prosperity of our nation.
Besides joining the mainstream of our society, these Soldiers will not only have a useful and respectable place in society, but will enjoy mental peace and motivate the youth of India.
Collaboration of War Wounded Foundation (WWF) with United Services Institute (USI) of India
WWF was established as a charitable Non-Government Organisation (NGO) in 2002, for assisting all war-disabled military personnel to lead a financially secure and respectable life. The Foundation has taken many initiatives to assist the war-disabled personnel but on account of a number of reasons, we felt that there was a lack of knowledge about the existence of this NGO.
Although the nation has not fought a war since the Kargil War of 1999, the armed forces continue to add to the number of war-disabled personnel due to their active commitments on the LC and LAC, as also in major counterinsurgency operations in various parts of the country. Hence, the number of war-disabled personnel keeps increasing. However, there was no improvement in the lack of knowledge about the existence of the Foundation and its work.
It was therefore decided to join the existing and well-known oldest ‘Think Tank’ of the nation, USI, which would enable us to reach out to a much larger population and give the WWF greater visibility. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was accordingly signed in 2021 between the two institutions. The major actions to be carried out initially were the establishment of a Chair of Excellence in USI for the WWF; an Essay Competition every year and a major event like a seminar or Lecture every alternate year. In addition, books, newsletters, pamphlets Occasional Papers and the like would also be published.
The maiden Seminar under the MOU is being held on 19 April 2022 on the subject “War Disabled Personnel of the Indian Armed Forces – Challenges, Concerns, and Aspirations.”