C. Gokulraj rehabilitates the destitute

Kumar was a parotta master till the day he picked up a quarrel with a colleague. In the brawl that followed, Kumar got hurt and he landed up in the GH with a dislocated backbone. Soon, he found himself jobless on the streets of Tirupur.

Selvaraj gave up his job as an LPG cylinder delivery boy to set up a departmental store. But he had a drinking problem and the business failed. He moved into the dyeing industry in Tirupur, but was laid off when recession hit the industry. His family pooled in Rs. 2,000 for him to start something new. But he was robbed of his money and he was forced to beg near the railway station.

But, a one-week rehabilitation programme has brought both of them back on their feet, and they are employed again. The rehabilitation was organised by C. Gokulraj, who runs an NGO called Reformers to Save India. He is also the author of the book Reforms to Save India. “Besides free food, shelter and clothing, we conduct a medical check-up, provide them with a shower and hair cut and counsel them and ask them how and why they landed on the streets,” says Gokulraj. “We document their address in the database and they attend a training module that includes yoga, meditation, games, and motivation speeches to boost their confidence and rehabilitate them. Basically, we give them a makeover and recommend them for a job based on their past work experience and skill sets.”

In his book Reforms to Save India Gokulraj has compiled a list of reforms that would help the government eradicate poverty and unemployment. One of them is setting up a rehabilitation centre with an employment exchange that promises such people government and private jobs.

“I started the exercise in Tirupur with 10 homeless people who were initially, reluctant. But, I persisted and they finally agreed. After our counselling, several of them returned to their villages or were employed here. Many of them are also trying hard to beat their alcohol addiction which has been the main cause for their downfall,” says Gokulraj. He quotes the example of Tirupathi from Theni. “He was a farmer, then he was employed in a hotel after which he was a security guard. But, alcoholism ruined his life. But today, he is a changed man and a success story,” he says with pride.

Gokulraj plans to conduct more such camps. He can be contacted at 93446-98098.