United we stand, Divided we fall— a timeless anecdote that has always been corroborated when people come together to accomplish something.
And had it not been for the benevolence of villagers of Chingavanam and Pallam in Kottayam district, a migrant worker from Tamil Nadu probably wouldn’t have lived to tell the tale.
There was no way for Madurai native Kulathuparambil Jayan to amass ₹ 10 lakh required for the transplant, who eked out a living by ironing clothes for the residents of these villages.
Upon knowing Jayan’s predicament, the villagers went out of their way and decided to save their Ironman.
Creating a voluntary outfit by the name “Jayan Life Saving Samithi” headed by the five civic body representatives from the villages, a collection drive was organised where volunteers went from door to door and managed to raise more than ₹11 lakh within five hours last week!
“All the people in Chingavanam and Pallam know me as I have been pushing my mobile ironing unit from one house to another here for the last 20 years. I had feared that I would be left to die for want of money. Now, I realise how much the people of this region love me,’’ Jayan told The Indian Express.
Though the volunteers were able to raise the required amount quite quickly, much more went on the initiative. Starting with a meeting between the municipal representatives, which was followed by conventions and motivational sessions by a Catholic priest to motivate people for contributing generously, the campaign took over a month to materialise.
A day before the drive, the Samithi made one last appeal to the people through a mobile public address system. And finally, on October 15, when the volunteers went to collect the money from 9 am to 2 pm, every household was ready with its contribution, which ranged between ₹50 and ₹25,000.
“We covered 2,000-2,500 houses in five wards under the Kottayam municipality to raise the money. Although the required amount was ₹10 lakh, the campaign helped us generate ₹11.25 lakh. The contributors included middle-class families, farmers and even daily workers. The Samithi had requested daily workers to contribute a day’s wage, of around ₹500,” said Tino K Thomas, who is one of the Samithi conveners and a municipal councillor.
The collection has been deposited in a joint account opened by Jayan’s family and representatives of the civic body. With his wife Mariyammal volunteering to donate one of her kidneys and identified as a matching donor by doctors, Jayan hopes to undergo surgery by next month.