Being homeless is a crime in India. To add to that if one is mentally ill along with being homeless it’s even a bigger crime. With no one to care for, neither the family nor the society and certainly not the government for it has too many scams to deal with and too many to commit.
Helping the human beings first then the homeless
It’s against this back drop that Narayanan Krishnan set himself up to work towards the homeless and the mentally ill. And how he chose to work is never unheard of. In his own words, “Feeding the hungry gives physical nutrition, treating them like human beings gives them mental nutrition”. So Krishnan was not looking to just feed them instead he went not one step further but he jumped leaps ahead and made them realize that they were human beings by showing the care, the love, the attention all by himself.
He would give them a bath, give them a shave, feed them by hand , day after day, year after year and has been doing since 2002.
Family or cause
Thanks to NRISamay’s interview with Krishnan, the past Sunday, I also learnt that it wasn’t easy. No i don’t mean feeding the people, although that’s not easy either, I meant he had to go against his family to do this. Coming from a typical south indian brahmin family his efforts to help the homeless didn’t go down well with the family. Not only because the homeless were considered untouchables but also because the family thought Krishnan was suffering from some kind of mental illness himself and had tried various alternatives to cure him.
Krishnan removed the sacred thread that type casted him as a brahmin, so he removed the first big obstacle and he proved that he is a human being first. Then he humbly requested his parents to come along with him to meet the homeless and feed them by hand. That experience helped their parents realize the real joy of giving that Krishnan was experiencing.
Scaling his efforts
Krishnan efforts got a real push when he was nominated as the CNN Hero in the year 2010. He good intentions and his human approach helped his efforts to be globally recognized allowing him to raise enough funds to scale his efforts. From building a trust in India, to registering an 501c3 organization in the US ( akshayausa.org ), to building a strong team of volunteers both in India and the US, the global recognition brought him the much needed boost.
The team is now building Akshaya Home that can house up to 400 homeless people with proper medical facilities, kitchen, dining facilities and is slated for completion by 2013.
The US Chapters have also been very actively involved in raising funds for the trust. It’s in this regard that Narayanan is also visiting the US and travelling to various chapters to help with the fund raising activities.
Way behind in ensuring food security : Man was able to go to the moon, build nuclear weapons that can destroy the human race, able to extract oil from deep down in the ocean, replace human hearts, even found cure to some of the very rare diseases but yet, man hasn’t been able to do anything to ensure food security. The basic necessity of a man, hunger, has still no solution. How did we mess up this bad, how did we get our priorities so wrong ?
Thanks to Krishnan and people like him who are trying to bring some sanity to this world. Hope the joy of giving that Krishnan and his team are trying to spread catches on and inspires others.
So if you wish to donate : http://akshayausa.org/donate.php