Monday, 18 January 2016

Dhanabakyam's Home Coming: Magnificent Impact Story of an NGO, CSR & Media working Together!

Unique positive story on the power of TV Channel, integrated working of multiple NGO’s and the backing of a Corporate that is CSR driven!  

On 3rd June 2015, HelpAge India HelpLine 1800-180-1253 received a call from Krishnan who spotted an elderly woman near Albert Theatre, Egmore, Chennai.

The 82 year old lady been on the street, surviving only on food provided by the public that passed by. She had spent about five terrible nights on those very streets, scared of stray dogs and swarming dengue mosquitoes. On receiving Krishnan’s call, the rescue team reached the spot and rescued the elderly lady.  On enquiry, the team ascertained that she had lost her way and landed in Chennai. Her memory loss added to her woes; her whereabouts, family details were unknown. She was mentally and physically lost. After completion of the initial documentation formalities and police memo, the rescue team rehabilitated her on the same day, to Little Drops Old Age Home at Porur, a shelter for the deprived and deserted people.

Though the shelter was warm and loving, it was an alien place for Dhanabakyam who found coping up with a new environment difficult. Mary, the caretaker of the home spent time consoling, encouraging and caring for the old mother. Gradually Dhanabakyam started adapting to the shelter's environment and was beginning to be happy with her fellow-friends of this home. She started engaging herself in serving food for lunch, dinner to inmates and collecting milk in the evening, but with a deep grief of inexplicable memories of her loved ones back home. She was optimistic that one day her relatives would find her and used to share this with Mary during her evening tea time.

Back home, the whole family was in search of their mother, Dhanabakyam’s whereabouts for almost six months.

A TV Channel's Coverage came in as a messiah for Dhanabakyam!

On 6th December 2015, when the whole world was viewing the devastation and aftermath of Chennai floods over the Sun News TV with pain, one family found their reason to smile and rejoice. The news channel aired the plight and distress of Little Drop’s Old Age Home due to inundation and immense hardship due to flooding. It was here that Dhanabakyam’s family spotted her in the news footage!!

On 9th December 2015, the entire family with children, grandchildren reached Little Drops Home after initial glitches of locating the place. The 'desire-come-true’ moment had finally arrived for Dhanabakyam who was finally reunited with her family. Though she was feeling sad leaving her new friends and the Home, re-uniting with her family brought inexplicable happiness and smile on her face!

We have heard innumerable stories of pain, loss of lives and property due to flood havoc in Chennai. But this heart-rending story of family reunion and the happy ending has only been possible due to: the reach and power of Mass-Media, HelpAge India's  Help Line 1800 – 180 - 1253, effective responsibility of Police and people like Krishnan and the CSR support/backing by L&T Construction, that supports both HelpAge India and Little Drops, that had played major role in the life of Dhanabakyam and her family --- and thousands of such needy.

“Since the inception of Helpline project in September 2014, we have reached out to nearly 2000 such elderly people of which, 507 were rescue cases from streets; all were rehabilitated in old age homes or repatriated with families.” Says, HelpAge India Chennai representative. 

Such is the impact of working together of responsible individual citizens, committed NGO’s, Police machinery, Govt. Institutions, CSR-driven organizations and the reach/positive coverage of TV Channel.

Dhanabakyam now sits by her window as she sips her evening tea, and hums her favorite song. Yes, each evening!

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