Ramulu, aged 26, an HIV+ patient, was abandoned by his family after they came to know of his disease. The fear of what society would say made them take that decision. Now Ramulu is independent, and earning a living by rearing goats. This is all thanks to Good Samaritans India
Good Samaritans India is a shelter home that gave to Ramulu a place to live. They also provided him with a small loan under self-sustaining livelihood income generation program to buy goats, as Goat Farming does not require high finance and labour. He is now able to live with hope and dignity.
George Rakesh Babu used to volunteer with Zion Children Home, an NGO which looked after 40 orphaned kids. When the founder, Ganesh Prabhu, of Zion Children Home, fell ill Rakesh took him to the hospital, where Ganesh was diagnosed with multiple health issues. The total bill of the hospital was Rs 1.65 lakh. Rakesh was able to collect Rs 65,000 with the help of his friends and relatives, but he was short of Rs 1,00,000. An old man observing Rakesh for three days offered help with the rest of the money. For 23 days, Rakesh looked after the kids for food and other needs. When Ganesh’s health started deteriorating further, Rakesh enrolled almost all the kids in different NGOs.
One day, Ganesh and the two kids who stayed back to take care of him were asked to leave the house they were living in due to non-payment of rent. The kids took Ganesh to their relatives home far in the city. After trying to reach Ganesh for many days, Rakesh found out that Ganesh died. By the time Rakesh reached the place, there were 20 of Ganesh’s students waiting to perform the last rites. But the locals objected to it, and so Ganesh had to be buried in another village.
Good Samaritans India:
Rakesh was disturbed by this incident. He was dejected and felt guilty that he could not provide better facilities for Ganesh. He took a vow never to leave anyone who was is a destitute, and started Good Samaritans India in 2008 and registered it in 2011, to serve people who have been abandoned. With failing health, no food and shelter people left on the roads eat morsels thrown at them, surviving the vagaries of the weather and traffic.
Since no one attends them, the wounds get infested with maggots and other insects which slowly eat away at their flesh. Good Samaritans Home takes these people to provide them foods, shelter, and free medicines. Currently, the Home houses 117 people, in Hyderabad and Warangal in Telangana state.
The people who get well go back to their families. Few of them stay back and help with the running of the home. Rakesh teaches those who stay back to dress the wounds and change diapers of the older adults. Some are responsible for cooking the meals.
Good Samaritans Home also provides loans to those who want to start their life again. After hearing the success story of Ramulu, few of the other members have also decided to work towards to better future. Eshwar aged 52, is part of the GSI home, who assists the members in cooking and now feels he too can rear goats just like Ramulu. GSI has helped Eshwar purchase a pair of goats.
Apart from financial challenges, Good Samaritans India shelter is also facing a lot of problems and threats from the society where the home is situated, from police and local politicians and beggar mafia.
- Opposition from the neighbourhood: The neighbours haven’t been supportive of the home. They have troubled Rakesh to vacate the premises.
- Consistent Funding: The home has been receiving funds and donations in the form rice, dal, and groceries from their well-wishers. With consistent funding every month, the home will be able to improve their services to the destitute and as well as open more branches in different parts of India.
- Manpower : Service is a tough job to do. The current staff comprises of recuperated patients and five full-time employees. More volunteers will help ease the burden of the small team.
- Rescue of people with addictions/mental illness: Many of the young people who are rescued are often addicted to alcohol, smoking etc. Once their problem is solved, they tend to go back to their addictions. Rehabilitation is an enormous task. Also, people with mental illness often tend to run away from the home, which also is stressful for the small team.
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