Must Read: A Messiah Who Has No Sensation Below Neck

We all have problems to deal with in our life, some small and some otherwise. But all of us also get choices in life, too. Either we live with it or work to get past it to live our life to the fullest is a choice me make. This man who became quadriplegic after an accident faced a lot of pain and disappointment but it all ended when he decided that he has had enough of it. Once he was able to reach this decision, he changed himself from within and soon went on to reform lives of others who share the nature of his suffering.

Accident that changed everything

In 1975, S Ramakrishnan (now 87) met a horrifying accident during the Indian naval officer’s selection interview. Due to his serious condition, he was admitted to hospital where he was saved but it had grave repercussions. He became quadriplegic after the accident which meant that he couldn’t use his limbs anymore. He was completely bedridden for over a year and suffered the agony which almost broke him. Most people would have prayed for death as an easy exit, but he found his reason to live by turning fates of those who were suffering just like him.

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I was in traction for three months and totally bedridden. Then they gradually trained me to sit on a bed and wheelchair. I have no sensation below the neck. I need help for bathing, turning over in bed, eating etc," says Ramakrishnan.

Dynamic duo

After spending a whole year in hospital, he returned to his village Ayikudy in Tamil Nadu and after two months established Amar Sevam Sangam in 1981 which was named after Air Marshal Amar Singh Chahal where who treated him in the hospital. He started teaching local children free of cost. There he met S Sankara Raman who himself was troubled by muscular dystrophy and lost his job to it. Both warriors on wheelchair as their chariots together embarked on a mission to help people fighting these battles like them. 

“The cost of running the centre was almost Rs 15 lakhs a month. Twelve per cent of the required funds came from the government while 60 per cent came from donations and 15 per cent from interest,” says S Ramakrishnan.

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Their campus soon expanded and became a facility for over 60 polio-struck children. They were taught, fed and provided a shelter for free. They taught children up to standard eight and further sent them to nearby schools. As the campus expanded, daycare spastic centre was set up for the mentally-challenged and for children suffering from cerebral palsy. Besides this they also provided physiotherapy to children that improved their chances of recovery. Even the wheel chairs were provided to them for free along with transportation facility. The expansion went on and a computer lab was setup to teach students. For the handicapped students, everything was for free while for normal students a nominal fee was charged.

Able enough to get what they deserve

"The biggest problem we face here is employment for the disabled," he says. "In professional courses disabled people face a lot of problems. They are denied admission even with very high marks," says S Ramakrishnan.

This concern was also taken care of by introducing the children to modern education of industry standards by industry professionals. VOCS Chidambaram, a computer consultant from Chennai Teachers at Spastic school who worked in the United States for seven years looked after the technicalities to help them fetch a job. 

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"Datamatics-Mumbai and Chennai has given them a data entry job. They functioned as a BPO and this resulted in income generation here," says VOCS Chidambaram.

Commendable work deserves a reward

Late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam awarded the institution as the 'Best Institution in the service of the disabled and uplift of rural poor in 2002. It also received numerous prestigious awards by top NGOs of India. The work done till now has helped hundreds of students to see a better tomorrow and is still working for the same. It has given hope to those who were once deprived the light of life due to their disabilities.

Nadu

pic courtesy: pic-1, pic-2, pic-3;

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