Friends mission: Quality care at poor’s doorsteps in Chennai

Good Samaritans from Chennai and Puducherry are going out of the way to serve and save human lives
FEMA, an NGO based at Vyasarpadi in Chennai, helps people with free medical treatment. (Photo | R Satish Babu, EPS)
FEMA, an NGO based at Vyasarpadi in Chennai, helps people with free medical treatment. (Photo | R Satish Babu, EPS)

RANIPET: In the bustling streets of Vyasarpadi in Chennai, Mohan Munusamy and S Udhayakumar share a common dream. They hope to make healthcare accessible to all underprivileged families who otherwise cannot afford it.

It has nearly been a 6-year-long journey for the two friends who met at college. The trigger was a tragedy that took place in Mohan’s neighbourhood in 2017. A young girl passed away from dengue just because her family could not afford proper medical care. Mohan realised that there was a dire need for medical assistance for poor households. Thus, the Foundation for Friendly Environment and Medical Awareness (FEMA) was born.

Since then, the duo has been working tirelessly to provide free medical care to those who need it the most through the NGO.FEMA runs an evening clinic that offers free medicines and injections to outpatients for a one-time registration fee of only `30. They also have a laboratory named ‘Smart Hearts,’ which provides free diagnosis for diabetes and hypertension. The lab is run by trained professionals who have undergone FEMA’s free courses in medical laboratory technology and optometry.

But what truly sets FEMA apart is its commitment to serving bed-ridden patients. They offer direct medical help to these patients in the comfort of their own homes, ensuring that they receive the care they need without having to worry about transportation or cost.

One of the patients who has benefited from FEMA’s services is Mohammed Rafi. After suffering severe burn injuries, he needed constant support for mobility. FEMA provided him with personal assistance and medicine, making a significant difference in his quality of life.

FEMA also conducts street plays and skits to spread awareness about various diseases and organizes free eye camps, dengue, and HIV camps in different locations, including Tiruvannamalai, Ranipet, Thiruvallur, and Chennai. The goal is to raise awareness about the importance of early diagnosis and follow-up, especially in households that may not have the resources to access such services.

In addition to providing medical assistance, FEMA also runs a tuition center for kids from the Irula tribe in Ranipet district. The institution is maintained by S Santhosh, a resident of Kilvenkatapuram near Arakkonam. The tuition center offers activity-based learning to create an interest in education among the children. Initially, it was not a success, as the tribal children had a high school dropout rate due to their responsibilities with cattle rearing.

To encourage attendance, FEMA began providing evening snacks to the kids and offering practical-oriented classes that included activities like drawing and painting.Slowly but surely, the program picked up, emphasizing the importance of education and providing a safe space for these children to learn and grow.

Through their commitment to accessible healthcare and non-formal education, FEMA is making a significant impact in the lives of underprivileged families and children.Mohan and Udhayakumar’s vision for a better, healthier future continues to drive their efforts, and their work is a testament to the power of compassion and perseverance.

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