MALAPPURAM: Lined in a plot beneath lush green trees at Adakkakundu, a remote hilly hamlet in Kalikavu panchayat, are six single-storey houses. No, these are not luxury villas built by any known builder. They are houses constructed for elderly people abandoned by their families.
Led by Bappu Haji, an octogenarian, the villas have been built by a group of social workers under the aegis of HIMA (Haven of Intimacy and Merciful Atmosphere). The six villas are now home to 10 people from across the state.Known for his charity and educational works, Bappu Haji, 85, contributed three acres of land for these villas, in addition to a huge amount as financial assistance.
“We live at a time when a large number of aged people are forced to leave their homes for a number of reasons,” says Bappu Haji. HIMA functionaries say Haji’s close affinity to social and political leaders helped him extend a helping hand to the poor. He has close contacts with leaders like C H Mohammed Koya, Panakkad Mohammed Ali Shihab Thangal and Sakhavu Kunhali, a former MLA. Named HIMA Love Homes, what makes these villas different is the homely atmosphere and care given to the inmates.
“Our aim is to ensure a homely feeling for those who have been denied homes. Most of the existing old age homes fail to serve this purpose with their congested rooms and inadequate facilities,” says Bappu Haji, who is also the chairman of HIMA. HIMA functionaries visited more than 50 old age homes across the country before setting up this model old age home.Apart from six villas, each of which can accommodate at least six persons, HIMA Love Homes has a full-fledged clinic, a dining hall, a prayer hall, a counselling centre and a dormitory. Instead of offering homes for the aged to live until death, HIMA concentrates on the rehabilitation of the inmates. After it was started in March 2017, three persons were sent back home after being cured.
“We ensure they get proper medication, and help them to become self-sufficient,” says Fareer Rahmani, HIMA general secretary. Kumar (name changed) was completely bedridden when he was found by a group of social activists at the Feroke railway station. Continuous treatment by HIMA helped this septuagenarian from Karnataka walk. The same experience is shared by Fathima (name changed), who was brought from the Kondotty bus stand. She was abandoned by the owners of a house where she was working as a housemaid. “I can read, watch television and walk now,” says Fathima.
In addition to this, with the support of the police, HIMA talks to the relatives of abandoned people and ask them to take them back. Three persons were taken back in this manner.
HIMA spends Rs 1.5 lakh a month on its household requirements. It has eight staff, including four nurses, while a panel of four doctors and 120 palliative care volunteers work here for free.“I have done my part. Now I entrust HIMA with the people. Society is obliged to take care its deprived people,” he says. He believes more inmates can be accommodated if HIMA can raise enough funds. HIMA Love Homes has the capacity to accommodate 120 people.