The campus of SRR & CVR Government College teemed with youthful vibrancy and beaming faces of close to 120 senior citizens who stole the limelight on Wednesday.
“Get old, get happy” was the message given out loud and clear by Vayo-Vruddha Charitable Trust, a city-based NGO working to provide succour to the distressed and needy senior citizens abandoned by their family members.
On the eve of the International Day of Older Persons, which is celebrated across the world on October 1, the trust members created a platform for senior citizens to forget the travails of getting older and indulge in fun activities that kept the smiles on their faces intact.
“Lanke Bindelu” (pots of wealth), a fun game, saw many septuagenarians and octogenarians walking briskly around pots containing gift articles and covered with a piece of cloth, trying to overtake other participants in an attempt to capture a place earmarked in front of the pot.
The fancy dress competition had them facing cameras with remarkable confidence. Enactment of the roles of freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sarojini Naidu and Alluri Seetarama Raju gave them a sense of pride, as they greeted the audience that welcomed with a round of applause. The trust also felicitated 12 centenarians on the occasion.
“We provide these 120 members a monthly quota of 5 kg rice, 1 kg red gram, tamarind, soaps and medicines.
Every once in three months, the members undergo a health check-up and in the case of a death, a sum of Rs. 2,000 is given to their attendants to perform their last rites,” said Challa Harikumar, chairman of the trust.
Vice-Chancellor of Dr. NTR University of Health Sciences A.V. Krishnam Raju, the chief guest on the occasion, complimented the trust members for their commitment to the cause of senior citizens’ welfare.
He said other social organisations must take a cue from the trust and extend a helping hand to those in the twilight years of their life and were in need of help. He said the government must also consider enhancement of aid to this section of the society.
Inspired by the good work being done by the trust, secretary of the Red Cross Avanigadda unit Chebrolu Suryam donated 10 pairs of dhotis (panchalu) to as many centenarians.
P. Jamalaiah, a Divisional Engineer in the BSNL, Vijayawada, also came forward on behalf of the department employees with an offer to impart free academic coaching to school-age children of slum habitations in the vicinity. Director of All India Radio, Vijayawada, Mangalagiri Aditya Prasad, industrialist G. Siris Raju, Lion’s Club member and honorary president of Vijayawada Children and Tutorials Association D. Kishore Kumar and others were present.