The forgotten fathers at a homeless shelter
By Express News Service | Published: 18th June 2017 10:04 PM |
CHENNAI: On Father’s Day, when all dads were showered with gifts, love, and till-then-non-existent posts on social media, there were some who have no idea that the day is Father’s Day. The Greater Chennai Corporation shelter for homeless people has 51 residents (28 men and 24 women) and on the occasion, a celebration was held to honour and respect them.
AJ Hariharan, secretary, Indian Community Welfare Organisation (ICWO), who initiated the homeless shelter along with the Greater Chennai Corporation, welcomed the gathering. “Today we honour our father-like figures who have contributed and impacted many people’s lives,” he said, thanking the Lions Club of Golden Friends for supporting the day’s functions by providing chairs, dhotis, saris and food.
The evening saw the residents honoured with dhotis while some reminisced of their own fathers.
“I have been living a respectful life since I joined ICWO, after my father-in-law forced my wife to divorce me. This day makes me feel honoured. It’s the first time I have ever been respected like this. This may be the last time too, I have already had five heart attacks,” said G Lakshmipathy (69) tearing up.
Peterson (59) joined the shelter a year ago, and recalled how he never used to listen to his father during his younger days and each day he feels guilty about it. “My father used to work with the British Air Force. He was a brave and honest man,” he said, recalling how his wife divorced him and he used to stay on the streets till he found the shelter.
The evening ended with a cake-cutting by the fathers in the shelter. The event was also attended by R Ravi Kumar, treasurer, ICWO and Devika Thilak, deputy director, ICWO.