Their love for each other was beyond religion. Their faithfulness to their family is beyond belief. Meet Parveen and Edward who chose to fight the boundaries of conservatism to fall in love to get married only to find the destiny striking g them hard.
Edward a painter and Parveen a home maker of Vellore were leading a happy family with two young children until Edward fell down at a work site to break his neck to become completely paralyzed below his neck. I was told that they were so poor to afford expensive hospital treatment so he was cared for at home till a Social Worker of Christian Medical College (CMC) found him in a life threatening situation. He was brought to CMC, treated and rehabilitated. He and his wife were given every possible training and equipment to take care of Edward at home upon discharge.
Same Social Worker called me to find if Hope House could help Edward & Parveen’s children under our Community Outreach Program (COP). COP is a program of the Hope House to care for children (that are burdened with HIV, Tuberculosis, Disability and Child labor) in their own communities by extending a helping hand to the tune of Rs. 500/- ($7.5/-) each month to purchase groceries. One of the most important conditions that the family must meet is to have children with them and not to admit them in any kind of institution and also to look for employment for at least for one member of the family to stand on their own feet. COP help is for three years.
Employment and earning was literally written off for Edward as he is wheel chair bound and has limited function of his hands. Parveen started working as a Rehabilitation aide (taking care of patients like her own husband) earning about Rs. 225/- a day to support the family. Then came a helping hand for Edward. Ganga Trust – an organization based in Chennai, headed by an IIM grad, who was successfully rehabilitated in Vellore after his own spinal injury came forward with an idea for Edward to recharge mobile phones. Ganga Trust also helped Edward by spreading the word around in CMC which has 8000 employees.
Today, Edward receives orders and charges the phones, his mother/ wife/ brother collects the money from the customers. Now, I am being told that he also receives funds to his bank account through wire transfers. His business is doing so well that an executive of Airtel mobile had flown in to see this valuable, high revenue turning customer in Vellore.
I decided that apart from the COP help of Rs. 500/- I must do my part at a personal level to help this family sustain themselves. I started charging my phone also with Edward and only then I realized why he is the valued customer of Airtel. He sends out very respectful messages just before my balance is about to be depleted and follows it up. I really appreciate that.
Just before I give out the 500 rupee coupon each month, I chat with the family member for few minutes to know how the children are doing in specific and the family as a whole. One day, when Parveen herself came to receive the coupon, she was looking different. She had a big grin, neatly dressed and walked confidently. I knew something is stirring her positively. I couldn’t resist but throw some more entrepreneurial ideas at her to explore to dream even more. She promised to consider them all.
Here is a family which could have been written off easily but with the little assistance they have been given dignity and dreams despite distress. We are proud that the Hope House (like many others who played much bigger roles before us) has been playing a very small role in enabling Edward and Parveen to dream. I can only see the bright future for their family.
If you’re touched by this story, If you like to help 50+ families that we support each month under our COP program, support us today with Rs. 250/- donation at this link
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