KOCHI: Handicapped people are increasingly turning into beggars to earn a living, with most of them left with no other option to feed themselves and their family members.
However, the majority of them seldom use the money earned through begging for providing education to children, even those who earn relatively decent amounts.
Poosa Mani, a handicapped Salem resident who moved to Kochi to take up begging, is an exception. His sole aim in life is to provide education to his 21-year-old daughter Prema Mani, who is doing general nursing at a private college in Coimbatore.
Interestingly, Poosa Mani had adopted Prema while she was only three days old from a children’s shelter in Tamil Nadu. Poosa Mani’s story came to light when workers of Theruvoram, an organisation functioning at Kakkanad with focus on rehabilitating street children and elderly persons, spotted him begging near Edappally Church.
The 55-year-old Poosa Mani was left handicapped after a tree fell on his leg while cutting wood, around 15 years ago. As the injury was severe his right leg had to be amputated. Though he tried his hand at various vocations, including lottery vending, he failed to earn enough to educate his daughter. When his final attempt at lottery sale failed, Poosa Mani was forced to take up begging. He has to earn more than `6,000 per month for his daughter’s education alone.
“I am ready to provide anything to my daughter. It was one year ago that she expressed desire to join the nursing course in Coimbatore. As the income I earned through lottery sale was not enough to meet the expenses, I decided to move to Kochi to earn more money. Though I started with lottery sale in Kochi, I was forced to turn to begging as my income was very low. Prema does not know that she was adopted. For me, she is my own daughter, and it is my duty to give her a better future,” says Poosa Mani.
“Whatever I do is for my wife and daughter, who don’t know what my profession is. As my wife is an asthma patient, I need to visit her often,” he added.
When Murukan of Thuruvoram spotted Poosa Mani at Edappally, he was lying on the roadside. “We took him to the Theruvoram centre and provided him food as he had not eaten anything for several days and his condition was very bad,” Murukan said.
Though Poosa Mani is happy that he finally got a shelter, he continues to be worried about meeting the education expense of his daughter and his own treatment expense.