The year was 1971, Dr.G.M.Jeyabalan, the new Medical Superintendent has just taken over from Dr.Vedabodakam. One day, he was examining a 25 year-old woman suffering from lepromatous leprosy – the infectious type of leprosy with complications, which warranted hospitalization.
“I would like to admit you as inpatients” said Dr.Jeyabalan.
“You will have to stay in the ward for about 3 – 4 months. We will treat you intensively and send you back home as soon as we can”.
“No”, the woman refused, “I cannot become an inpatient”.
The refusal perplexed Dr.Jeyabalan for, many patients come with recommendation letters and fall at his feet, and beg for admission as inpatient!
“Why do you refuse?” Are you afraid of the treatment-cost? asked Dr.Jeyabalan.
“Everything is free” he reassured her.
Without replying the Doctor, the patient stood up and pushed aside the curtain screening the Doctor’s Consultation room.
There stood five of her children, aged 10, 9, 8, 7 and 6.
“If I get into the ward as an inpatient, who will look after these children?” she demanded.
“Won’t your husband, the children’s father look after them?” Dr.Jeyabalan gently asked her.
Tears streamed down her cheeks, she sobbed.
“The day, my husband discovered that I am a ‘leper’ he deserted me – the leprosy-afflicted me, but also abandoned the children who are his children, as much as they are mine. He has not returned even to see them. In fact 40 days after ditching me, he married another woman. All alone now, and semi-starving and I am keeping them alive. If I heed to your advice and become an inpatient, my children will have to either starve or beg. So saying, she scampered off with the children.
Dr.Jeyabalan was stunned. The Leprosarium had barely enough money for the hospitalization and treatment of inpatients free – Surely it didn’t have the extra resources to shelter five children on account of one patient.
‘What can happen next?’ Dr.Jeyabalan, made a calculation in his clinical mind.
“All these children, under-clothed, under-nourished, and under-cleansed are going to move closely, intimately and for a long time with their mother suffering from infectious type of leprosy which is not treated adequately – Why, some of them might catch the infection from the mother?”
“They have already begun to beg in support of their mother. In a few years, some of them might become beggars as well as lepers – a tragedy beyond words”.
Thus was born the home for healthy children.
Today, it has about 200 children. 150 of them have regular sponsors. Thanks to Compassion International.
Thanks to Dr.Gerhard Fischer of Germany, German ambassador – turned Social Worker who gifted two buildings, one for the boys – Fischer’s Boys Home 1995 and the other for the girls – Ann Fischer’s Girls Home 2005.
Thanks are also due to Dr.Fischer as well as Mr.Christoph von Toggenburgh of Switzerland for the gift of The Fischer Outpatient Block 2004.
But fifty children don’t have permanent sponsors. However, they have temporary sponsors. Thanks to a British couple who would like to remain anonymous.
Needed are fifty permanent sponsors gifting endowment of EURO 2000 each.