I was walking in the streets of Annapanpantai in the Nagai district of Tamil Nadu that was hit by a tsunami in the year 2004. As I walked, silences and sadness is all I could feel. Tsunami had not just flattened houses, temples and structures, it was much more. The walk made me uneasy and I wanted to know more.
I went ahead and talked to people living there.I wanted to know the after effects of the disaster as it was not just the loss of their house and supplies is what I could feel. I asked them about their lives and how they were recovering. They said their lives were shattered. The tsunami in a blink of an eye disrupted everything and they lost all their belongings.
The tides of tsunami not just took away their food and shelter, the waves also washed off their happiness and peace. Their occupation came to a standstill, their lives came to a standstill. The tsunami ripped through Annapanpantai causing a major havoc there, as well as in the minds of the residents.
As I walked in schools, teachers were getting paid as it was government aided even though classrooms were empty. Students didn’t have their uniforms to wear,their books to read and their pencils to write.
The situation was so strange, pepsi could make it’s way here but not drinking water. I was terrified with the thought of children losing it all at this young age. I knew I wanted to help these children.
‘We rise by lifting others’ as rightly quoted by Robert Ingersoll, I decided to offer a helping hand. I had no plans, no idea how will I help; just a pure passion to lift their lives.
After I returned to my hometown, I talked about the situation to one of my friends who worked in Cipla and Lo! My friend too wanted to help. I and my friend came up with the idea of collecting supplies for students by spreading the word in our circle. The response was magical. From a bag full of supplies we made it to truck full of supplies! Now the issue was how will all reach there. They say ‘when you really want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it’ and Bluedart came to our rescue!
I am so happy I contributed my bit. This ignited a feeling of empathy towards the society and this was the seed that grew into a tree of Umang foundation Trust. This was when I realized, giving back to the society is the most rewarding experience one could have.
ANIL Thomas, Trustee
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