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News & Press: Aug 2011

Congrats Mathew Cherian 75-80 Batch CEO HelpAge India

Monday, August 22, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: BITSAA Newsletter
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Mathew Cherian is one of those very few who take a step ahead and help people who shook their emotions and made them sympathetic towards their living conditions. Giving small amount of money of money to those in a poverty stricken condition is the minimum most of them contribute; Cherian also did the same when he landed in Mumbai for his first job and when he was disturbed by the sight of people sleeping on the streets and children eating from garbage dumps. His way of life, the food he had when compared to those children, made him move out of his comfort zone and work for the betterment of his fellowmen. This is a 30 year old story.

Today, this native of Pathanamthitta is the CEO of HelpAge India. His journey as a social worker began when he stayed with Baba Amte and worked in rural areas. He was soon approached by Oxfam, a UK charity fighting global poverty, to take charge as its director of central India. Mathew worked in tribal areas and became the international director of Oxfam. It was then that the president of HelpAge India wanted Mathew to head the non-profit organisation for the aged. He joined as the CEO of the organisation in 2004.

Mathew Cherian graduated with an engineering degree from BITS Pilani in 1980. BITSAA is extremely proud of his contribution the society and he is an inspiration to the younger generation of BITSians.

In his words,

“People have to understand that aging is all in the mind. The problem in India is that there is a lot of migration (among the younger generation) and the older people who are left behind suffer from the pangs of loneliness. So we try to organise elderly people to form groups and if there is a problem, they can fight together” .

Talking about the Kerala scenario, Mathew says, “Materialism in the middle class has led youngsters to run after money and less so for love. Children rarely call their parents, a good percentage of whom may be living alone. Kerala has a good number of old age homes. In fact, it was in Kerala that the first old age home was built — nearly 160 years ago. There are fewer cases of abuse in Kerala, but there is also less care.”

“We are trying to develop a palliative care design in which ailing, old people will have a chance to be near their children in their last moments rather than watching them through a glass door. We are talking to the doctors to let them be home once there is no more hope.”

About HelpAge India:

HelpAge India has over 800 old age groups, they associate with over 1,000 senior citizen associations, 56 age care centres and have a helpline – (1800-180-1253) of their own. Their office in Kochi, located in Panampilly Nagar, has a helpline and physiotherapy unit, and handles over 24 projects in the State.

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