Some of them were badly broken, some others rusted, while yet others’ wheels had come off.

They included metal cots, tables, drip-stands, oxygen cylinders and trolleys that once formed the healthcare facilities of the Government Mental Health Centre here.

They were condemned to be kept at some dusty corners of the hospital for years until a week ago when a group of National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers from the Government Engineering College, Kozhikode, landed on the hospital campus. They had arrived there for a week-long camp as part of a State-wide project ‘Punarjani,’ jointly organised by the Kerala State Youth Welfare Board and the NSS Technical Cell. The project was primarily aimed at giving a rebirth (Punarjani) to the damaged and out-of-use furniture and other healthcare facilities at government hospitals across the State by repairing them with the help of the Technical Cell of the NSS from different parts of the State.

“We repaired around 250 articles including metal furniture, drip-stands trolleys and metal shelves, which were in disrepair,” said Rakesh Rajan, volunteer secretary of the unit.

‘As good as new’

Over 70 volunteers were part of the camp, which was a residential programme with talks, interactive sessions and cultural programmes during the evenings. The camp, Rakesh said, saved around Rs.8 lakh for the government by way of fixing and repainting the broken articles. The volunteers cut, welded, fixed and painted furniture and other equipment that were dumped at various corners of the hospital. “All the repaired items are as good as new now and can be used for a long time,” said N.V. Sreejin, an active volunteer at the camp.

The volunteers said the days spent at the hospital moving, enriching. They found it depressing that many inmates were overstaying even after they were cured, since there was no one to claim them. “It taught us a lot about life,” said Muhammed Firoz, a convener of the camp.

The unit also presented several cultural programmes, including a Christmas carol, for patients. Abid Tharavattath, the unit’s programme officer, said the camp was also about giving an opportunity to volunteers to explore their individual potential.

“Facilitating a self-discovery is a core objective of the NSS. When the volunteers pack their bags after the valedictory on Friday night, all of them, I am sure, will be transformed individuals,” said the programme officer.

Though the camp concludes on Friday, the unit will continue to monitor the efficacy of the items they repaired.

“We have sought suggestions from all the nine wards of the hospital,” said Rakesh. The suggestions will be submitted to the State coordinator of the programme. “If the authorities want us to, we will come back and do our best to improve the lives of the people here,” he said.

More In: Kozhikode