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April 27, 2015

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  SANTHA JOSE: FORMING ASHRAYA TO HELP CANCER PATIENTS OF RCC
Santha Jose, Ashraya,  Thiruvananthapuram

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If a small grain of dust falls into a shell, it will get converted into a pearl.  Similarly, when a small grain of incongruent existence fell on the impressionable mind of Santha Jose, a homemaker from Thiruvananthapuram, it resulted in a pure humanitarian response, involving scores of likeminded women.

Decades ago, Santha Jose had accompanied her husband’s brother to Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram.  The serpentine passages and the equally complex procedures awed her, even though she had the right political connections.  She further saw the distraught plight of the ordinary patients, come from afar and in a not-too-bright financial condition.

It was this small incident that stayed in her mind and prompted her to do something for these poor and hapless patients.  She consulted Dr.Paul Sebastian of RCC who suggested to her the rather simple service of showing the patients the way through RCC.  Being a victim of the first-time confusion in the hospital, she immediately realized its importance.

So with a handful of friends, she started the hand-holding service.  It was the beginning of ‘Ashraya’.  As time went by, they took up more tasks in patient care.  Simultaneously, their volunteer-base also started increasing.

Today there are about 300 women in Ashraya.  They spend atleast 1 hour per day in various aspect of patient care.  Collecting boiled rice water from hospital canteen and distributing it to patients undergoing chemotherapy, providing cloths to the patients and bystanders, rehabilitation of children of cancer patients etc. are some of their activities.

“Ashraya is only providing a platform for those who come forward to serve the patients with no ulterior motives”, says Santha Jose.

It is the large-heartedness of kind souls that sustains the financial commitments of Ashraya.  And among such philanthropically-minded one can count pearls like Sivarajan, a daily-wage worker from Vamanapuram, who saves everyday Rs. 15 from his wages and donates Rs.500 to Ashraya every month.

 

Courtesy: V.R.Jyothish (text), Vanitha, August 15-31, 2013

"The purpose of human life is to serve and to  show compassion and will to help others."