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Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Navajeevan Trust - Kottayam

Searching for an innovative way of spiritual orientation, Vienna St. Mary's MSO Youths visited Navajeevan Trust at Kottayam, Kerala on the day after Christmas, 26th December, 2009 and made an interview with Mr. P. U. Thomas, the founder of Navajeevan, and with many of his colleagues and volunteers of the trust. It provided us a golden chance to understand and to take part in their miraculous ministry of the social service following the words of Jesus Christ and helped us to broaden our vision of spirituality itself.

Navajeevan (the word means „New Life“), is a place for the destitute and mentally challenged, people. The ministry provides them with food, clothing accommodation and also provides support  to patients who are too poor to afford their hospital expenses. The Navajeevan Trust has been founded in 1990 and Mr. P.U. Thomas, a Class IV attendant of the Kottayam Medical College, is the  founder and main trustee of the trust.

Mr. P. U. Thomas (The man behind Navajeevan initiative)


Mr. P. U. Thomas, (known as Thomaschettan for the inhabitants and well-wishers of Navajeevan) is the eldest son of Mr. Oani and Mrs. Annamma and had been working as an attendant at the Kottayam Medical College since 1970. He understood the pathetic condition of the poor and the helpless in the Medical College when he was admitted there with a severe abdominal pain at the age of 18. In 1970 he became an attendant at Medical college Hospital Kottayam and it paved the way for him to serve the poor, needy and sick people. He set aside a sum of money for medicine, and food for the poor patients from his meagre amount of salary. Thomaschetten himself narrates the origin and development of his ministry as follows: "If I get a job in a medical college, I will do a lot of good things to the poor. This was my prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary. From 1970 January onwards I have been going to the hospital to visit and nurse the sick. I experienced the encouragements and help from the medical students even from the beginning. Till 1980, my service was only a one-man effort. I got a great inspiration from Dr. Kalyani, Pharmacology Professor, from her prayer-filled life and zeal to help the poor. In 1980 after confirming my job there, I began to nurse the sick in Ward II where the biggest number of accident-cases were registered. I did this service not only during my duty time but when I was on off-duty also. When this became a part of my routine, some began to criticise me and on the one hand others started to support my work; and several people came forward offering meals for distributing among the helpless". Thomaschettan, a humble man by nature, has always followed the humanitarian principles right from his childhood. He puts the need of the poor people ahead of his own.

The Navajeevan Food Ministry

Thomaschettan decided to collect food packets from the surrounding villages and to distribute them at free of cost in the evening at the Medical college Campus and many were attracted by this great humanitarian act of feeding the helpless and poor patients. Generous helpers came forward offering their service and encouraging his work. A good number of youngsters like Mr. Anup Panjikaran, Mr. Regimon, Mr. Saji etc., soon became available and it helped a lot to grow the free feeding project. Instead of collecting food from different quarters, they introduced a cash-pooling-system and began to prepare food for distributing among the patients and their relatives.


With the grace of God, Navajeevan now cooks all the food (rice, three type curries and boiled drinking water) in their own kitchen and feeds about 3000 poor patients and their relatives at the three major hospitals of Kottayam (the medical college hospital, the TB centre at the Kottayam District Hospital, and the Children's Hospital) at free of cost.

Navajeevan Bhavan
Navajeevan Bhavan at Panambalam, (Villunni P. O., Kottayam - 686 008) near to Kottayam Town is both the head Office of the Navajeevan Trust and a destitute home for mentally challenged patients of both genders. At present there are 210 mentally deranged persons from all over India belonging to different castes and creeds being cared at the Trust's campus. They provide food, shelter, clothing, care and medication to these patients. Some of them have to be locked behind bars during most of the day. The transformation of them after becoming the inmates of the Navajeevan is really amazing. Since 1982 more than 1000 people have been cared for and rehabilitated to their own homes. In addition to this, bed-ridden patients too are taken care of. Now there are 25 bed ridden patients residing at Navajeevan Bhavan.

Volunteers

It will be a great surprise to all of us to hear that the staffs of Navajeevan is only five or six and the rest are volunteers coming from different institutions for a week or ten days. This institution needs about 40 volunteers per day to run its daily functions. We can experience there the selfless service of the nurses, doctors, dentists, priests, deacons, and the normal men and women. They render their service day and night without any remuneration. Some of Navajeevan volunteers are always in the Medical College Hospital to provide service for the abandoned patients. They find out such patients and give all possible help.

Navajeevan Culture
The service style of the Navajeevan has inspired many of the people in South India and not fewer than 27 institutions following this “Navajeevan Culture” started in Kerala itself. The life and service of the Navajeevan is the way of communicating its message to others and the trust does not favour any other methods of publicity. "My desire is that Navajeevan should wade through debts, difficulties and the providence of God," says Thomaschettan. That is why, he politely declined to accept the offer of 75 lakhs of a Canadian Professor and he proclaims his firm belief that the Holy Spirit of God, not a bank balance, is the greatest treasure in the world.

Cost Structure
This trust is running neither on donation from Govt, nor religious bodies, nor with foreign aid, but on the contribution from the public.   Navajeevan needs about Rs. 35,000 Per day to meet its expenses ( for food and medicine).

The expense on food at Navajeevan Bhavan and the other above said institutions for one day is approximately Rs. 17,500/-  


Prayer is the power

In Navajeevan Bhavan, we will experience no anxiety about tomorrow. Today's prayer for tomorrow's needs is its accepted life-style. The throbbing nerve-centre of Navajeevan is nothing but the spacious prayer hall and the regular prayer service and in which people ranging from three-year-olds to the aged support the house and its services through their intercessory prayers. All the inmates and volunteers come together and pray at least five times a day. On Fridays there is fasting prayer from 2 p.m. And on Tuesdays local parishners come and conduct prayer from 6 to 8 p.m.
Thomaschettan firmly believes that it is the Spiritual Renewal sweeping the state that has been instrumental for the change in society and for infusing the spirit of service in the people. Navajeevan gives more importance to service than to organisation of committees. The workers of Navajeevan consider works of mercy as a prayer service not as a social service.


Conclusion
As our society comprises of the poor and the needy people, who deserve our help in every walks of life, the mission perspectives of the Navajeevan trust is greatly valid and a need of the time. To know their great service, to encourage such activities and to follow their examples in our life is nothing but obeying the commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ „ to love your neighbour as yourself“.(St. Mark 12:31)



Report by: St. Mary's MSOC, Vienna

8 comments:

  1. Every christian must visit this place. the church should make compulsory training for priests in NAVAJEEVAN

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  2. when i become a adult i will join you now my best wishes!

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  3. Will you please put Thomas Chettan's contact information in this web site or a Contact Information... sooo many people read this web site might want to contact you directly...

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  4. Is anyone really reading these comments ? I will like to contact Navajeevan Trust will you please put contact information in this web site.. thanks

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  5. please add the contact nos.That will help the persons who are ready to donate or to be in a part of trust for this holy work.please dont consider as a matter of religion or cast.we are humans

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    1. yes even if we are unable atleast we have to help the persons who are helping.god bless you all .best wishes

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  6. contact info: http://www.navajeevantrustktm.org/address/

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  7. May GOD bless all the those who are behind this trust.

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