Navajeevanam — a ray of hope for poor kidney patients

The Trust has been running the dialysis centres without taking either any fee from beneficiaries or help from other agencies.

By T K Devasia

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Published: Mon 19 Jan 2015, 12:47 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 8:57 PM

Trivandrum — It took two years for Satya Sai Orphanage Trust to fulfil a commitment they gave to one of its office bearers, who suffered from chronic renal condition, to provide life-long dialysis free of cost.

But there was no looking back after the Trust honoured the commitment given to M.A Afra, vice-chairman of the Trust, by setting up a dialysis unit at a private hospital in Cochin in March 2006. The unit was launched by providing free dialysis not only to Afra but also 11 other poor patients with end stage kidney failure. 

The project being implemented under ‘Navajeevanam’ (New Life) soon started spreading its wings across the state. It has at present 14 units functioning in 13 districts in the state.  As per a recent survey, Navajeevanam has completed 200, 000 free dialyses as on March 31, 2014.

The number would go up to 215,000 if the dialyses given from April 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014 are also taken into consideration, according to K N Ananda Kumar, founder and executive director of Satya Sai Trust.

The Trust has been running the dialysis centres without taking either any fee from beneficiaries or help from other agencies.

“Collecting funds for running charity projects is against the Sai philosophy and principles. We run our projects with the help of donations from philanthropists. This is why our plan to launch the project was delayed by two years,” Ananda Kumar said.

Ananda Kumar had mooted the free dialysis centre after he saw the sufferings of his friend and colleague, Afra, during a visit to his house at Fort Cochin in 1994. It made him realise the difficulties faced by poor patients to prolong their lives. 

The first meeting he called at Cochin got stuck on the issue of finance. Numerous further meetings failed to resolve the issue. None had any idea how they could keep the project going without firm source of funds. All were concerned as the project involved human lives.

After more than a dozen meetings failed to produce any result, Ananda Kumar intervened and announced the inauguration of the first dialysis centre at Lakshmi hospital at Cochin keeping the financial concerns alive. The only capital they had then was Rs1,000 donated by former Supreme Court judge Justice late V R Krishna Iyer, the patron of the Trust.

“It may be a miracle; our mission was never affected by lack of money. Though we have faced shortage of funds several times we have been able to manage at the end of the day with the help of contributions from kind hearted people,” Ananda Kumar told the Khaleej Times.

“We have spent more than Rs.200 million on the Navajeevanam project so far. This has come from philanthropists. Our donors include a poor pensioner, who gives Rs50 out of Rs150 he gets as monthly pension to Navajeevanam,” he added.

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