October 16, 2015
An elderly couple defaulted on rental payments because they had no source of income. Their house owner called a group of young professionals who have been serving the marginalized sections since 2009. Today, the couple lives in a home in Kovaipudur along with other senior citizens, in peace.
Children who’ve lost a parent or both and their childhood thrive in a government-licensed home in Kovaipudur; they go to school like other kids and return to a home-like environment.
People caught in road accidents are brought to the Government Hospital, but if they have lost their memory, there’s no one to tend to them. A special health centre chips in.
All these three are the initiatives of Helping HeartsTrust, an NGO set up in 2009 by Ganesh M, then a student at Sri Krishna Engineering College. It attracted conscientious students from all colleges. Today, many of them are well-settled; they hand over a part of their earnings to run the homes. “It gratifies us that students from the batches that followed us have taken on the mantle of running the activities of the Trust,” says Ganesh. A majority of the volunteers are from colleges in Kovaipudur. It helps them rush during emergencies in any of the homes. One of the core members, Venkatesh, monitors the homes regularly.
The team has started a new project every two years. The children’s home took shape in 2011, the senior citizens haven in 2013, and the special ward in 2015. “We used to head out of weekends, provide volunteer support, and occasional financial support to the needy before we decided to do something more effective. Friends chip in at least a lakh of rupees every month; some corporate and people provide provisions. This helps us run the units effectively.”
The children’s home has 13 kids and three staff. The senior citizens’ home has eight people and three caregivers. “They are happy to have found some comfort now.”
The special ward in the Government Hospital has 10 inmates, and four trained staff who oversees their overall hygiene and nourishment. “Once they recover, we rehabilitate them with their families if they remember them. If not, they head to our home,” says Ganesh.
He says that public support keeps them going. “We have part-time volunteers who handle finances, stocks of food and medicine and also take the elderly walking or just spend time with them. That delights them.”