The Old Age Home continues to provide a real home for (currently) 18 – 10 ladies and 8 gentlemen. The building is being kept in good condition although the firewood store suffered roof damage during a heavy storm some time ago and there has not been the money to fix it. We spent time with the residents and although there were some new faces, many of the ‘old faces’ are still there!
There are photos on the ‘gallery’ page of the website – look out for Leshmi, 108 years of age, with all her ID papers to prove that Peter told me!
Matthew has his photo in the gallery too. Some of you will remember Matthew from earlier newsletters; he is thought to be in his late 70s and is deaf and dumb. He was found wandering in the forests nearby with no papers on his person. Peter named him ‘Matthew’. It is difficult to think about what might have become of Matthew if the Home had not been open and able to offer a home.
Peter’s message to KP supporters is:
‘Now we are very happy and grateful for your continuously help. Your support, we are gratitude and thousand thanks. Every day we remember our benefactors.’
You will remember KP supports two main initiatives in Kattakada: Old Age Home and a Food / Rice kit project for 30 families. I spent time with Peter and discovered the need to make changes to the Food / Rice kit project. The Government’s subsidised rice programme enables people holding a ‘below poverty line (BPL)’ card to buy rice for the subsidised price of Rs1 per 1kg, and this programme is now fully available in Kattakada. Therefore KP will stop providing its Food / Rice kits for two reasons:
There are other people in the area who have greater welfare needs, and as the Government scheme is now in place KP should not duplicate it.
During the visits it was clear that many people living near to the old Age Home are bed-ridden and housebound; some are elderly and have become frail and immobile through age; others are younger who typically have suffered accidents or who have had to undergo amputations as a result of ling-term illness. Many of these people have no basic government pension (which can be Rs100 – 200 per month if it is paid) as they are not old enough to qualify; and with no other income they rely on charity. They may have a place to live and they do receive food from family or neighbours but their illnesses go unattended and untreated.
As a result of discussions, KP will work with DMT Trust (partner- charity for Old Age Home) and its manager Peter, to start a very basic ‘district nursing service’ for 10 domiciliary patients. A nurse will be appointed for 3 days per week to visit the 10 once or twice each week, spending several hours with each one providing care, treatment and time to talk.
KP will monitor this new venture to see how successful it is, and what differences it makes for the 10 people. If it goes well then we can think about increasing to 4 or 5 days and so look after more people.
An added advantage of this initiative is that the nurse can attend Old Age Home residents if required and this might reduce the total being paid for hospital treatments if one of the residents has to be taken from Old Age Home for attention. Again, this possible activity – and any ‘savings effect’ – will be monitored.
I have looked at the monthly accounts of Old Age Home and the continuing support that KP is able to give in 2013 /14 as a result of the generous donations received from our regular donors / supporters. These grants, made monthly via internet banking, together with the regular donations made by a group of German supporters, means the Old Age home seems financially viable for 2013/2014. It will not be easy as the income / expenditure is presently tight, but it should be ok.
KP has supported this area and the Vizhinjam / Venganoor / Kazzhakuttom localities since 1998. As other comments (please see ‘news’ page) have explained the area continues to undergo significant change; many would say these are changes for the better in terms of local economic growth. For this reason the volunteer committee have been advised to stop all current schemes (pensions; medical; welfare grants) that are currently provided to 60 households.
It has been agreed (early May 2013) that details of 15 households assessed by the volunteers to be in the greatest need should be to KP. The plan is to provide grants at higher monthly sums per household with the emphasis on assisting those who are bed-ridden / housebound and not in receipt of any significant income.
Early discussions have started about running evening tuition classes for able young students who are approaching the GCSE equivalent exams (‘10th Standard’ exams). There should be more information on this idea in later ‘updates’ to be given on the ‘NEWS’ page.
The work of the volunteer committee (SVP Group) has always made excellent contributions in the overall plan to provide some relief to the hardship being suffered by local people and KP will continue to help in that work.