KOCHI:“The real disaster has just begun,” says Shaiju David Alfi, CEO of the Dr Kalam Smriti International, an outfit which promotes the vision of the former President, the late A P J Abdul Kalam. The disaster in question refers to the unprecedented floods, the worst catastrophe Kerala has witnessed in decades. Shaiju, an ardent follower of Kalam, had begun relief efforts since day one.
The institution, consists of volunteers ranging from students to health inspectors. “We have about 35 social workers, 12 doctors, pharmacists, psychologists and health inspectors. And together, they have actively been setting up medical camps across the state in relief camps,” says Shaiju. A medical camp isn’t the only service Shaiju has rolled out. Collection centres are also set up to provide supplies to flood-hit victims.
Nevertheless, Shaiju believes that rehabilitating and rebuilding are a bigger concern. Which is why his institution would continue focusing on working and improving the state.
“The possibility of an epidemic is high. We will ensure that medical attention is provided to the sick and injured. Such efforts must not be short-term,” Shaiju continues. “Volunteers have been working round-the-clock to guarantee the safety of camp residents. Medicine is collected from different parts of the state and distributed evenly.”
What sets the institution apart from other similar set-ups is that they plan to continue their endeavour towards rebuilding in a distinct way. “Education has been severely affected in various parts of the state. Kalam, who has always been a forceful campaigner for education has stressed on the importance of youth and the value an educated person can impart. We are planning to adopt one village and invest in their students’ education,” Shaiju says.
This is not the first time the institution is devoting time to students. They have also been involved in identifying rural innovators and conducting national and international conferences based on subjects such as agriculture issues, climate change, and drug abuse.Special training is also given to volunteers to broaden their horizons and help them specialise in certain subjects.
Last year, the centre had opened a museum titled Dr Kalam Smriti International Science & Space Museum in Thiruvananthapuram, the first of its kind in south India. The museum houses personal memorabilia of the late President, a large number of very rare photographs and miniature models of rockets, satellites, and his famous quotes aimed at inspiring the youth.