A Remarkable Story on Compassion & Caring

By Krishnaa Raman, Savannah, GA

e-mail: araman83@aol.com

Recently, I was in Kochi, India, to be with my only sibling, my sister Meena, to mourn the passing of my mother. One of my uncles happened to be visiting from Delhi, and he performed the cremation rites and the ceremony of mixing the ashes with the waters of the Arabian Sea. According to tradition, women cannot perform the subsequent eleven days of the last rites for the departed, and so my sister and I decided that we would feed the poor and destitute on three days. We also felt that Amma would be very happy with our decision!

Murugan on his rounds taking care of abandoned kids on Kochi streets.

Murugan on his rounds taking care of abandoned kids on Kochi streets.

My sister talked to one of her friends who suggested going to this building where Murugan, an auto rickshaw driver, takes care of about thirty people. We got to his place at 11:30 am and arranged with a caterer to bring lunch around noon time. This young man of thirty-two, Murugan, has photos of getting recognition from the President of India, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and other notable people; laminated copies of all the articles written about the work he has done were on the wall.

I asked him how he got involved in this work of rescuing street children and the really poor, destitute people on the streets.

“I had spent ten years in an orphanage, because my father was an alcoholic. Brother Mavooris, a well-known social worker in Kochi, gave me a new lease on life at Don Bosco Snehabhavan, taught me to speak and write in Malayalam, and helped me complete my high school education in the open school system. 

“I then decided that I am going to help children who were wandering in the streets. I did not want to ask for donation. So, I learnt to drive an autorickshaw for funds to support this cause. So far, I’ve rescued over 2,000 children.

“I have developed a procedure for this to get support. I inform the police when I see a child on the streets before taking them to the orphanages where I feel they will be safe and also get an education. I also follow up on their care.”

“How do you end up taking care of adults too?” I asked.

“In the last few years, I saw older people on the street abandoned. I started picking them up; many are mentally ill and physically sick. I get the police involved, give them a bath, take them to a hospital where the doctors who I personally know, and who know my work, can check them out and give them proper treatment. They give these people medicines. I transport them for court appearances if needed, and then find an institution to take care of them. Some of them now live in a building that the city has donated to me.

Murugan receiving an award from Mr. Pranab Mukherji, India’s President in New Delhi.

Murugan receiving an award from Mr. Pranab Mukherji, India’s President in New Delhi.

“I have a few goats for milk, some chickens for eggs, and a vegetable garden. I recently received ambulances donated by a large petroleum company. In spite of the publicity I’ve received from the press and television, I am often short of funds for the care of these abandoned people. The problem is so huge.”

I was awe-struck to see what Murugan has accomplished at his young age! How does an eighteen-year-old know what his life’s purpose is? Then how does he focus in on working towards that goal with his own situation so precarious?

Murugan told me he does not ask anyone for funds, but manages with whatever he gets. Evenings are spent driving his auto rickshaw, so he can support his wife and his new-born baby and get the funds required for “his people.”

His daytime is devoted to his social work, taking care of the people no one wants. I consider it a blessing that I got to meet Murugan, someone extraordinary. Meeting Murugan has renewed my faith in humanity.

To know more about the details and challenges of Murugan’s work, go to www.theruvoram.org.

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