Since 2013, POPE organized many actions towards the elders of the dalit community of the three blocks; Tiruvannamalai, Thurinjapuram and Kilpennathur blocks.
The elders are given health checkup in turns to all the elders. POPE’s vehicle is sent to their respective home villages and collecte them to Thallakulam. The elders are given coffee and snacks on their arrival and then the Geriatric clinic test them in the hospital. After the diagnosis, the treatment is given to all the elders on free of cost. The chronic patients are given medicines for 2 weeks together and requested the volunteers to follow it up. They visit their homes and see that the elder is taking medicine regularly.
The social camp is run at the same time as the medical checkup. Following are some of the activities carried out in the social camp.
News paper reading and sharing the important events, activities like singing, storytelling, games and simple physical exercises.
On leaving the campus, the elders get evening snacks. After their snacks, the vehicle drop them at their houses.
Village health camps were conducted in different villages of Kilpennathur block, focusing more on the peripheral areas. A health mobile camp team consisting of qualified and experienced medical officer, staff nurses, health educator lab technician, social worker and health assistant course students. This village health camp was open to all including men, women, children, differently abled people, aged people of different caste and religion. More attention was given to aged people and children as they are the most vulnerable people.
The Government Eye Doctor from the Government Hospital used to come to POPE for conducting free eye camps and for providing treatment in POPE Rural health centre.
We act only if it is necessary, our main specific services are:
· To give immediate need based treatment provided on the spot,
· To arrange cataract surgery to the needy patients.
Eye camp is not conducted exclusively for old age people but for the general public including children and youth.
The village elders are visited by POPE staff and community college students. They spend around one hour with the family. They listen to their problems, aspirations and offer counselling. Whenever possible, some of their needs were linked with other ongoing programs including health, education, family maintenance support etc.
Joyful life centre of elders in Thallakulam has 15 most disadvantaged elders as inmates getting residential care and support. Death of any elders will be immediately replaced by others.
The project has invested some money on income generation activities to support the elders:
· Dairy Farm with 15 cows
· Paper cover making unit
· Camps Farm Development (Vegetables, fruits like Banana, Mangoes, Papaya etc., and oil seeds like ground nuts, coconuts)
The elders who stay in the campus are all from Kilpennathur and Thiruvannamalai Block. They often go to their native village, for some programmes like village festival, celebrations, temple festivals, marriages and for other familial functions. When they go, they stay for a minimum of 2 days to the maximum of 10 days. So, this centre can be called as short stay home for elders. Any village dalit elders can come and stay at the short stay home when they feel to be away from home due to social / family / economic / health reasons. They can stay for 2 to 3 weeks. On special reasons, if they desired to stay for long time, without any break can also stay, provided someone in the family has to give an undertaking on the elders stay at POPE Thallakulam.
At present, there are 3 self help groups from 3 villages (Olaipadi, Somasipadi and Kovilmedu) which are involved in community based day care centre. Because the village people are not aware of the elders problems, support required and other issues very much, there is a need to give one day training in each village with the self help group members. So, the village people can understand the concept of community based day care centre.
The elderly widows who were neglected isolated, marginalized and excluded. Those 78 members are to be helped according to their needs like dresses, vessels, walking sticks etc.
The elderly Dalit widows are the neglected persons by the family members and community. Community just ignored them as they are the unwanted people and burden to the society. The family members ignored them as they are not productive in the context of income earning and participation. Totally, 78 widows who deserves for various support services were identified by the trained volunteers and staff They are from the target villages and blocks. These widows received various support.
Since 2016, a Quarterly news letter on elderly care was prepared in Tamil version, edited, printed and circulated to to the NGOs, social activists, community groups like self help groups, Network members etc. We printed 1000 copies of each news letter. This newsletter is for the private circulation since it is not a registered newsletter.
Content of the news letter are as follows:
"We are gratefull for your support, concern and commitment.
The Joyful Center Seniors