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Reaching out to the despairing homeless

Posted January 16th, 2020, 11:52 AM IST

Reaching out to the despairing homeless

Erode girl Manisha Krishnasamy could not fulfil her dream of joining the army or becoming a doctor, but nothing could stop her giving back to society. The compassionate 23-year-old has rehabilitated around 150 homeless people in Erode, Tiruchy, Thanjavur and Salem.

Manisha, who has no support, even from her own family, in her endeavours, says “financial difficulties prevented me from becoming a doctor and serving the needy. So I chose to do aB.Sc course in nursing.” She bagged the 2017 Best Outgoing Student of the Year Award at the JKKN College of Nursing and Research.

Talking about what motivated her to work towards rehabilitating homeless people, Manisha refers to an incident that moved her greatly. “I was working at the Indira College of Nursing in Tiruchy. Every morning I would see a person walking on the National Highway in front of my hostel, with a stick in his hand and a bag full of plastic trash. I tried talking to him one day, but he moved away without responding. Everybody said he was aggressive and warned that he might hurt me. The next day I offered him food. Initially, it was difficult communicating with him, as he is a Malayalee whereas I am a Tamilian. But gradually we began to get along well. We would meet for breakfast and for snacks in the evening. Our relationship reached such a level that whenever I said ‘Soman’ (his name), he would react joyfully and come to me almost like a kid. If anyone gave him food, he would keep it and share it with me. On Jan 1, 2019, I had him take a bath and shave off his beard. Then we cut a cake and I got him admitted to theViluppuramAnbu Jothi Ashram for rehabilitation.”

Manisha started the Jeevitham Foundation in September 2019. The NGO has helped rehabilitate 16 homeless people so far.

“We talk to homeless people and try to understand what brought them to this state, the issues they face and whetherthey want a better life. With police permission, we rehabilitate them in homes or mental asylums (if needed). We try to reunite them with their families, or get them jobs. These people struggle so much. When we interact with them, they think we are God”, she says.

Keep bringing smiles to the faces of the despairing, Manisha!