The New Indian Express Chennai|June 01, 2020
Selfless deeds start with selfish needs. I say this because four years back, in 2016, when I decided to step into social service, I intended to do it for fame. With time, as I participated in awareness walks, clean-up campaigns, protests for various causes and extensive ground-level research, my goal shifted to standing up for the voiceless.
I come from a lower economic strata and studied in a government school. My first job was in class six. I know the value of money and the class division it brings. An MBA graduate, I have a full-time profession now to earn my livelihood. My journey began with relief and rehabilitation in emergency crises such as cyclone Vardha (2016), Kerala floods (2018), and cyclone Gaja (2018). I got a first-hand experience of handling an aftermath of a natural disaster, engaged with different NGOs and activists, and established contacts. Since then, I’ve involved myself with social service activities in various areas. I ensure every penny I donate or use for these services comes from my pocket.
A ray of hope
Cut to 2020, this COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdown gave me another opportunity to help the needy. On March 27, I received a call from an orphanage in the city asking for help with medicines. Upon reaching there, I realised the situation was bad with no basic groceries available. These are not government-aided and solely rely on funds from people like you and me, who either make monthly or occasional donations. I prepared a list of such orphanages and started helping them with relief materials bought from my savings.
One day, when I was travelling by train to an orphanage, I happened to see visually-impaired people near Pallavaram railway station. One of them told me that there are about 15,000 blind people in Chennai. In addition to registering their identities with the government, they are also part of a few organisations and sangams. In a few days, I crosschecked with the organisations and got the names of 1,500 visually-impaired people scattered across the city. I shortlisted about 200 of them who are needy, living in rural areas and have not received any sort of help since the lockdown began. I adopted these families.
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June 01, 2020