Spurned by their kin and living on the fringes of society, it is a bleak life for the inmates of Ward no. 9 at General Hospital here. Without a home to go back to or anyone to call a loved one, many of them have been living here for years. For them, days and years do not count; life outside the walls of the ward is a mirage.

M. Radhakrishna Pillai, a retired government official, and his dedicated team from the Matha Vanitha Charitable Society, have been trying to provide some solace to these souls condemned to life in a hospital ward. For the past 10 years, the society has been providing daily noon meals to nearly 100 destitute elderly patients in the ward. The society has also pooled funds to donate clothes, washing material, medical equipment, almirahs and a TV set.

Apart from his daughter R. Jayalakshmy, Mr. Pillai is assisted in the noble venture by George Joseph, Senior Finance Manager, Milma, and his wife, Marikutty Joseph, and K. Mahadevan, a retired bank employee. The team members contribute a portion of their income and mobilise resources from other sources for the endeavour.

Mr. Pillai says Ward no. 9 started functioning 130 years ago as an isolation facility for patients with infectious diseases such as small pox. Over the years, it became the only centre where the destitute and the poor were looked after. Last week, at a function held on the hospital premises, Deputy Superintendent of the hospital B. Sreenath inaugurated the 10th anniversary of the noon meal scheme of the society.

Mr. Joseph presided over the meeting. Mr. Pillai handed over an almirah, television set and walking aids to the hospital authorities. RMO R. Suresh, Assistant RMO T. Thankaraj and president of the Lourde Women’s Association Omana George were present on the occasion.