‘Heal the world

Make it a better place

For you and for me

And the entire Human race’

              -from Michael Jackson’s song ‘Heal the World’

These are not-so-great times. People are busy. Nobody has time to lend a helping hand for another. The saying ‘no man is an island’ has been proved wrong. Almost! Nothing makes one despondent, hopeless and desperate than browsing through the newspaper. News of war far and near. Of anarchy in the neighborhood. Of women being molested and murdered. Of murder, corruption in high places, of burglary, sleaze, violent hatred and recently of a pandemic, the statistics of which leave us uncertain, and to a certain extent scared. One cannot be blamed for that sinking feeling.  One begins to doubt if the world is safe to live in anymore. Media both print and visual have nothing good and uplifting to report. Tales of goodness are scarce!    

But a national daily of November 1 2020 had glad tidings to write about. A welcome change for the better. Leaving the readers feeling good. Three different news on a single page left the readers with hearts oozing hope, and spirits uplifted.

The first one was about Bijumon, a 48-year old class IV employee at the Taluk office in Thodupuzha in Kerala. Partial visual impairment hasn’t prevented him from turning Good Samaritan to many. He lends a helping hand to families of cancer victims. This winner of Union Government’s Award for the most efficient employee in low vision category, besides numerous good service entries and the best employee award of the state government provides financial assistance to many needy patients every month. Money is mobilized from his personal savings and from kindhearted donors. He took to this unique and noble venture after losing his older widowed sister and her teenaged son to blood cancer. Initially he pooled money from his own monthly savings and money he got from the government as cash award for outstanding service. When these sources ran dry he turned to likeminded donors like the Kuwait-based ‘Santhwanam’ Charitable Trust. ‘Donors credit the amount directly to needy patients’ accounts’, says the intermediary of this noble undertaking.

The second one was about Fr. Davis Chiramel, ‘Kerala’s kidney priest’, the title he earned after donating one of his kidneys on truly altruistic intent. Through that unique gesture he gave much-needed fillip to organ donation in Kerala along with entrepreneur and businessman philanthropist Kochouseph Chittilapilly, the CEO of V-guard Industries and Wonderla Amusement parks. Fr. Davis a tireless crusader for the needy did not stop at kidney donation. He provides much-needed succor to Kerala’s poor and destitute through projects that make a difference. The cloth bank project which he launched a couple of months ago was a runaway hit. It clothed many a poor. He exhorted many to courier him used clothes which were centrally collected and subsequently distributed among the underprivileged. He plans to open clothes outlets across Kerala. He hopes such stores will benefit many in these difficult times posed by the COVID pandemic.  Encouraged by the success of the cloth bank he recently launched a food bank. He aims to provide 1,000 food packets every month to those in orphanages, old-age homes and those on the streets. He exhorts people to donate money they save through the pandemic-induced strictured celebrations at weddings, baptisms and birthdays, and to channel the money saved to sponsor food for his food bank. A noble exhortation that! Which will feed many in these testing times. A well-intentioned end will find means- voluntary and not coerced by a priest who chose to live his sermons.

The third one was about the judiciary turning instrumental in making the dreams of a differently-abled young woman fructify. The Kerala High Court stood by 28-year-old Jilumol Mariet Thomas of Thodupuzha in Kerala. This graphic designer employed in Kochi was born without hands. She dreamt of independent mobility by driving a four-wheeler. A loan helped her purchase a Maruti Celerio   VXI automatic car, which she entrusted to an authorized workshop to make necessary alterations to suit her disability. But her dreams were dashed by the motor Vehicle Department (MVD) which refused to register the vehicle in her name. She approached the court. The Kerala High Court impressed by her determination directed the MVD to register the vehicle in her name. The first and major hurdle cleared, the court directed her she to produce the car before the MVD who will give her the green signal to sit behind the wheel once the vehicle’s road-worthiness is cleared by the MVD. It looks almost certain that Jilumol will hit the road despite her different-ability soon.