CHENNAI: National award winner P Manimaran, a coolie and Class VIII dropout from Tiruvannamalai, has donated his entire cash award for the helping leprosy patients who were affected during the recent floods in Cuddalore and Chennai.
Manimaran, a native of Thalayampallam village located 10 km from Tiruvannamalai town, was presented the National Award for Empowerment of Persons with Disability last week (December 3) from Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
On his return from New Delhi, Manimaran donated his entire cash award of `one lakh to rescue stranded leprosy patients, differently- abled at Tambaram, Chengalpatu and several Cuddalore villages which were cut off during the floods.
Speaking to Express, Manimaran said, “Leprosy patients left stranded in knee-deep water were at high risk as maggots infection starts to spread easily and luckily with the help of the cash given by the government we were able to rescue over 350 patients in these two districts”
“I see it as people’s money and it will be appropriate only to spend it for their welfare, particularly during natural calamities of such magnitude. So, we spent the remaining cash in distributing clothes, blankets, food and basic medicine for the rescued people”, he added.
Manimaran, who started social work since he was 13 by rehabilitating destitute in and around his village, has now reportedly adopted 338 leprosy patients, helped close to 50,000 leprosy patients, helped 1,800 mentally- challenged of which 170 are now in rehabilitation centres across 18 districts of the State.
Manimaran, who is 29 now, is quite popular in his locality for his medical kit bag which he carries wherever he goes to. “Whenever he spotted a destitute suffering along platforms or in front of hospitals, I start cleaning their wounds and admitted them in the nearest old age home or bring them with me”
Along with this, Manimaran is also known for cremating unclaimed bodies. Till date, he claims to have buried 138 unidentified bodies. Interestingly, Manimaran has volunteered to provide educational aids for 500 physically- challenged children and said that he had to sell some of his properties to support this.Manimaran who completed relief activities in Chennai was now down with a viral fever and admitted in a local hospital is gearing up for the next stage of rehabilitation work.