MANGALURU: WHEN many look to unwind during weekends, here is a family in Mangaluru which travels to different parts of the city and the hinterlands to find and help the poorest of the poor.
Ganesh Kamath’s passion to help those in need, which has rubbed off even on his wife Prithvi and 12-year-old daughter Aashka over a period of time, motivates them to go the extra mile to identify a genuine beneficiary. And the family doesn’t mind their personal needs taking a backseat for a larger cause.
Kamath , 40, quit a well-paying job to return to Mangaluru last year and opened a sports equipment shop here. He later launched ‘Sahaay Trust’ to instil hope among families that have lost the hope of leading a dignified life.
Recently, the couple came to know about an elderly woman Sarojini, who was penniless and residing close to Sultan Battery. They immediately rushed to the spot and were both shocked and moved to find Sarojini staying with her two differently-abled daughters, aged 37 and 40 years. Her daughters were not even able to stand on their feet and they crawled to move from one place to another.
“The sisters showed their knees where skin had peeled off due to crawling,” he recollects. Besides some money, the family urgently needed medicines. The couple handed over Rs 20,000 to Sarojini.
“We contacted Mumbai-based Dr Anil Kamath and he immediately supplied medicines that were sufficient for next three months,” informs Ganesh Kamath.“We are always in search of people who are actually in dire need of support.
During our visit to a house in Nitte in Udupi district on one recent weekend, we found the children had dropped from school due to disability. We are keen that the bright children pursue their studies and stand on their feet when they grow up,” says Kamath.
Sahaay receives on an average four to five such cases every month. The family hands over an amount of Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000 to the beneficiary as immediate relief. But whenever additional money is required, they take the social media route.
A four-month old baby with two holes in the heart needed an immediate surgery. When the distraught mother appealed to the couple, Ganesh and Prithvi turned to Facebook for help.
“The response from netizens was overwhelming and we could immediately hand over Rs 25,000 to the child’s mother, a widow,” informs Ganesh.
However, there have been many instances when their appeal on social media was greeted with stony silence.
A boy with HIV had dropped out from school after the death of his parents and was residing with his grandmother near Vamanjoor. “The sight of an acute malnourished boy and grandmother in a home about to crumble any moment was disturbing,” he reveals.
He posted an appeal on Sahaay’s F acebook page but drew no response. Refusing to give up, the couple dug deep into their resources to hand over some money to the HIV-infected child.”
Kamath says he was inspired by his single mother to help others. “She raised me braving all odds and ensured I had a memorable childhood. As an AGM in a pharmaceutical company in Mumbai, I was drawing a salary of over a lakh per month, but I wanted to come here and give something back to the society where I spent my childhood,” he said.
While in Mumbai, he used to raise money by selling his wife’s paintings to help improve the communication skills of children. Earlier, he pursued pharmacy course from Manipal and was a champion badminton and table tennis player.
“I was even awarded the best outgoing sportsman award in 1999,” he recollected. On his return to Mangaluru, he decided to pursue what he loved most and opened a sports equipment shop in Mannagudda.
The couple also nurse a dream of opening a sports academy to help talented children. Ganesh and Prithvi have also pledged to donate their organs.