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Published: January 23rd 2013
On my first night in Shimoga, my host took me to a centre that cares for people who are not able to look after themselves and who have no-one else to care for them. The centre was established in 2007 by a gentleman whose aim in life is to serve others. The majority of the people who are cared for at the centre are people with physical disabilities, though there are also people with mental ill health. 280 people have received care from the centre since it opened.
As soon as I walked into the centre, I saw that there were three occupied beds surrounding the office desk and the television was blaring. The main room off this had at least eight beds but also two people sleeping on the floor. The third room, which was quite small, had three beds. Both males and females slept in each of the rooms. The whole centre lacked any form of ventilation so you can imagine the odour emanating as a result of the heat and the lack of hygiene and cleanliness. I was told that the centre can accommodate up to 30 people at a time, which I found difficult to visualise, as the three rooms were already packed full of beds.
Ten staff provide personal care services. The owner will do anything and everything for the people he welcomes into the centre. No specialist training is provided though the appropriately qualified staff are brought in as required. Doctors voluntarily visit the centre to check on the residents who are all fully dependent on other people. I was told that all they want is to be touched (as if they are a child) and to see other people. People from local social / sports clubs visit the residents but there are no other activities for the residents to engage in.
In a medical emergency, the owner would transport the individual to hospital. I did not see any walking aids or wheelchairs though. Donations are given to the centre and the owner believes any challenges can be overcome. Somehow, the centre finds sufficient funds to provide care to people who may otherwise have nothing. I was pleased to hear that a new site has been found for the centre, which will be next to a new hospital that is being built.
The owner’s dedication to help others is humbling and I hope that local communities continue to support his work.
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