A Village For Those Left Homeless By Tsunami

The Tamaraikulam Elders Village is a place where hundreds of destitute senior citizens have come home to rest - after losing the little they had in the tsunami. At any given time, there are around 80 people living and being cared for here.

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So for those living here, it is the calm after the storm (File)


Cuddalore:  Just over ten years ago, the first resident moved into the Tamaraikulam Elders Village in Cuddalore District of Tamil Nadu. The Village was set up by Helpage India, largely with funds donated by NDTV viewers to help improve the lives of those whose world had been turned upside down by the tsunami.

The location is serene and open - right opposite a brilliant paddy field. An archway, acknowledging the viewers of NDTV, welcomes visitors.

The Tamaraikulam Elders Village is a place where hundreds of destitute senior citizens have come home to rest - after losing the little they had in the tsunami. At any given time, there are around 80 people living and being cared for here. 

84-year-old Vadivel and his wife Kullamma are among those who have lived at the Village for the longest time. The couple came away from their coastal village 10 years ago.

Vadivel told NDTV, "The tsunami hit my home and destroyed everything I had. My wife and I were elderly and couldn't manage alone - so we came here. Here, it is better than home. We get everything here. Food, a place to sleep. From soap to powder. We get everything."

It is an active life for those living here. The five acre Village has a garden where the more active elders work. With the help of staff, much of the cleaning and animal care is done by the residents themselves with food, cleaning and gardening committees.

The setting is simple - with each room housing four people. The aim for each dwelling unit is to have two residents who are active, one who needs assistance and one who is physically dependent.

Lakshmi came here with her husband from battered Nagapattinam. After his death, she stayed on.

Lakshmi spoke to NDTV and said, "After my husband died, people called me to come back to the village, saying 'you are alone there.' I said, 'I won't come. Nobody can look after me the way this Home is looking after me. I will stay here.' "

Terminally ill patients are also cared for here.

This is a time of transition with Elders for Elders, a group headed by senior citizens themselves, gradually taking over the running of the Village.

So for those living here, it is the calm after the storm. The Helpage-NDTV Viewers Village is a place where those who survived the tsunami will always be safe and secure.


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