Tehelka Magazine, Vol 8, Issue 27, Dated 09 July 2011
Jaya Ramakrishnan, 72 Chennai, Tamil Nadu Care Giver
'I plan to restart a computer training centre, which had failed earlier’says Jaya Ramakrishnan
Photo: Nathan G
It was while distributing sweets in a school for blind girls that Jaya Ramakrishnan decided to work for the underprivileged. That was 20 years ago. Her perseverance has now taken the shape of a clinic for the poor in Alwarpet, Chennai. Run by retired doctors, the clinic provides its services at a nominal fee of Rs 2. It treats around 25 patients daily and hands out free medicines. In 1996, along with members of her family, Jaya started the Arudhra Charitable Trust. The trust looks after the finances of her efforts. Jaya also volunteers at the Cancer Institute in Guindy to help manage the rush of patients. The 72-year-old housewife has adopted three villages in the Perumbakkam panchayat of Medavakkam, where she runs a creche for working women. Women are trained in making soaps, handbags, envelopes and sanitary napkins, which are then sold at trade fairs. In the evening, the creche doubles as a tuition centre for children. “Donations from well- wishers and the trust resources keep us going,” says Jaya.