Subhasini Mistry was just 23 years old when she lost her husband because she could not arrange the money that was required for treating her husband’s life-threatening disease.
After that incident, with no proper educational background, the poor woman was left on her own with her four children and a huge economic insecurity.
So, she started working as a maid and babysitter in various households to sustain their living.
This was the time when she vowed to make her eldest son a doctor and build a hospital someday where people would not see the same fate she had then just because some of them could not bear expensive treatments.
From being a domestic help to carrying bricks as a daytime labor, she took up any paid work that came her way. Sometimes even her children helped her in doing so.
She also started selling vegetables at a nearby ‘mandi‘ on weekends to add income.
But despite all that, she could not make it take care of all the four children and had to send two of them to an orphanage.
With the money she had saved over the years, she bought a small plot, after which she started asking people for donations, from beds to requesting doctors to treat patients for free.
And almost 50 years after in 1996, she had finally built the Humanity Hospital, in a village near Kolkata, brick by brick, from nothing but the scratch.
In her fifty years of crowdfunding being a single mother of four children at the age of 23, right from working as a domestic help to a vegetable seller to a street labor, Subhasini has seen it all.
I went about asking them to contribute in any way they could. Some donated money, some wood, some gave the material needed for construction while some volunteered for construction work.
In 2009, Subhasini won the Godfrey Phillips Award for bravery. In 2017, she was one of the women to receive the prestigious Women Transforming India Award.
Today, this hospital is one of the most affordable hospitals in the city and as she had desired, her younger son Ajoy is also a doctor in the hospital.