CHENNAI: For Hari Krishnan, the first week of lockdown was all about watching films, spending time with family, and indulging in indoor hobbies. But a frantic phone call from an orphanage the following week changed his outlook on life.
The 27-year-old Hari Krishnan, who has been engaging in casual social work for over a decade, went to the orphanage after the phone call to hand over relief materials. But seeing the hunger and emptiness in the eyes of the inmates, his heart skipped a beat, and he decided to dedicate his time, and savings to help them overcome their suffering.
“When I visited the orphanage, I almost broke down when I saw the inmates had not eaten for days. I didn’t know back then that this journey of service was going to go a long way.” Employed as a senior manager with an online portal, Hari initially used his savings. But he exhausted the funds during the thick of the lockdown period in May.
He then began to use the money he had been saving up for marriage. “Over the last five years, I had saved Rs 2.4 lakh. But helping the downtrodden took precedence over a fancy wedding. It gave me immense joy that I cannot explain,” Hari Krishnan, who is yet to be married, says.
When Hari Krishnan took the social work plunge, he realised Persons with Disability (PwD) were more affected than others. So he decided to focus his attention on that community. Today, he looks after 254 families, mostly from that community, regularly supplying monthly ration to all of them.
Let the cycle of help continue...
“ Initially, I was helping only orphanages. I visited over 100 homes and supplied rice, dal, oil and other essentials. Soon, I began to receive calls from across the State. As the circle grew, the challenges, too, increased,” he says. It was difficult for him to identify deserving people since many had started stocking everything they could get during the lockdown.
“I would enter a house to give the relief material. But I would find bags of materials, supplied by different NGOs, lying there already. The people were uncertain as to when the pandemic would end. So they collected everything they could. But, I wanted to attend to only urgent requests and help people who had not eaten that very day,” says Hari Krishnan.
He then thought of adopting needy families and provide them relief material. His only condition was that if these families received relief materials from any other sources, they must route it to those in need. Slowly, he began channelizing his attention more towards the PWD community from Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram, Tiruvannamalai, Madurai and Tiruchy.
Hari Krishnan engages in social work after his 9 am-6 pm office work. Now, he has begun inviting others to adopt these families. “People who can afford Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,200 can adopt one of these families and help them till the crisis settles down. Also, if they are from the same district, it will be easier to verify the request and help. After I shared the idea with others, 133 more families have been adopted.”
Invitation to adopt
Hari Krishnan says people who can afford Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,200 can adopt one of these families and help them till the crisis settles down
‘Persons with disability were the most affected’
When Hari Krishnan took the social work plunge, he realised Persons with Disability (PwD) were more affected than others. So he decided to focus his attention on that community. Today, Hari Krishnan looks after 254 families