THE sight of senior citizens sitting on the street, miserable and homeless, touched Harsh Arora in such a deep and personal way that he decided to help them, not for the time being – but for the rest of their lives. He founded Sarthak Prayas, an NGO for senior citizens that rescues, shelters, feeds and cares for old people who have been abandoned by their own families. This type of abuse – abandonment – leaves a scar that is almost impossible to heal, especially for elders who have spent their lives loving and caring for their children. So when they are abandoned, it hurts them to the point that their mental and physical health crumbles and eventually fails. 

Harsh Arora’s journey started in 2003 and two decades on, he is still driven and passionate about his goal of ‘making lives meaningful’, which is the vision of his NGO for senior citizens. He shares that when he looks at helpless and elderly people, it is his heart’s desire to be their son. Sarthak Prayas’ home for old and abandoned people is called Second Innings and reflects the NGO’s desire to give abused and abandoned old people a second chance to have happy and fulfilled lives. But the Second Innings home is in desperate need of support to continue caring for its 20 elderly residents.   

 How elders suffer on the streets

Harsh shares the miserable and intolerable circumstances that elders face on the streets. “I have seen senior citizens eating from the garbage. I have rescued old people without clothes on their bodies. There are many elders who have been thrown out of their own homes; homes they built themselves. Why does this happen? Because old people are considered to be useless to their families”. For senior citizens, this suffering is unbearable because of the emotional trauma of being hated and abused by their own children.

The streets are no place for anyone, let alone frail and vulnerable senior citizens. In addition to having no home, food or water, old people are in need of regular medicines and medical attention. Without their medication and medical treatment, old people’s health can rapidly deteriorate and can even lead to death. Furthermore, old people living on the streets are vulnerable to criminals who seek to exploit them. But Harsh Arora’s NGO for senior citizens is a safe and secure haven for elders who have no place to call their own. 

a man helping an elderly woman walk down the street

Second Innings home

The Second Innings home is a place of happiness, laughter and abundance that is in stark contrast to the danger and darkness of the streets. The shelter that the NGO for senior citizens provides keeps the elders safe and gives them a place to call their home. The regular food and medical care gives the residents the nutrition and medicines needed to keep themselves in good health, especially after facing deprivation on the streets. The elders have found friends in each other and spend their time in companionship with one another, which eases their hearts and minds from the pain of being separated from their families. 

Harsh shares some of the painful stories he has heard from the elders at Second Innings. “An old man told me that his son beat him and chased him onto the streets saying that he was of no use to them anymore and for him to get out of the house.” The founder of this NGO for senior citizens said he was shattered when the old man asked the question, “how could my son, who I raised, hurt me with his own hands?” This pain and suffering faced by the elders is what Sarthak Prayas wants to end. The mission of the NGO is to make sure that no more senior citizens need to suffer; this is why the Second Innings home is so important. To support Sarthak Prayas, you can donate here

a man sitting next to an elderly man

Harsh’s dream to care for abused seniors

“I want to serve these old parents. If the elders need food, I want to feed them. If the old people pass away, I want to perform their last rites,” Harsh shares from his broken heart. In addition to their basic needs, Sarthak Prayas makes sure that the old people have all the extra care and support required, such as walkers to help them get around, clothing suited for the changing climate and recreational activities to keep the residents engaged and active.

The NGO for senior citizens is in urgent need of support to continue giving the elders shelter, food rations, medicines, physiotherapy beds and other basic essentials. The support of compassionate donors will help the 20 senior citizens of Second Innings home continue to have a roof over their heads and the care they need to live the rest of their lives in dignity and happiness.

a group of elderly people posing for a group picture

How you can help abused and abandoned seniors

There are more than 100 million senior citizens in India. Even though most have their basic necessities met, there are scores of senior citizens who are abused by their own children to the point of being beaten and abandoned. These homeless and abandoned elders need the support of people who want to give them the futures they deserve – futures filled with comfort and peace of mind with all of their needs met. To support Sarthak Prayas, you can:

Donate Here


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