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Society asked to take better care of the aged

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HELPING THE NEEDY: At the inauguration of `Anbagam' for the aged in Perungalathur (from left) Santhi Gopal and D. Saraswathi, Mythili Sivaraman and Savithri Vaithi. Photo: K. Manikandan
HELPING THE NEEDY: At the inauguration of `Anbagam' for the aged in Perungalathur (from left) Santhi Gopal and D. Saraswathi, Mythili Sivaraman and Savithri Vaithi. Photo: K. Manikandan

Staff Reporter

Free shelter 'Anbagam' for old and needy inaugurated at Perungalathur

TAMBARAM: Speakers at the inauguration of `Anbagam', a free shelter for the aged and the needy at Perungalathur last week, regretted that governments were paying very poor attention to the plight of aged.

They made a fervent appeal to society to extend better care to them, stating that problems faced by this section of the population were on the rise.

W.R. Varadarajan, secretary, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, referred to the World Bank's report on Old Age Crisis in India and said: "Globalisation has put an end to the concept of social security to people from `cradle to the grave' propagated by socialism." The Centre had ignored its important responsibility of looking after its aged, Mr. Varadarajan said.

Savithri Vaithi, founder of `Vishranthi,' said there were more than 130 old age homes in Chennai and nearby areas but only about a dozen of them provided free care to its inmates. She recalled that when Vishranthi was founded 28 years ago, they faced a lot criticism that old age homes were destroying the family set up.

However, on closer observation, they noticed that several aged men and women were suffering in silence. Mythili Sivaraman, national vice president, All India Democratic Women's Association, said statistics pertaining to the number and plight of senior citizens were shocking.

With a population of 77 million aged people (projected to be 171 million in 2031), India was next only to China in this, she said. She pointed out that a large number of aged people were helpless and their plight pathetic. Anbagam has been established by Manonmani Trust, in memory of N. Manonmani who died in 2000 due to multiple sclerosis.

She became visually impaired while she was a student and also underwent several surgical procedures.

Despite her handicap, she pursued a degree in Library Science and completed a Veena Vidwan course from Music College, said advocate Sudha Ramalingam, who was Manonmani's classmate.

Ms. Sudha, along with Santhi Gopal and D. Saraswathi Varadarajan, formed the Manonmani Trust about one year ago.

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