Sadik, an endosulfan victim in Koila was weighing just 12 kg, one and half years ago. However, now he weighs 20 kg and is capable of speaking few words and understands what others communicate with him.
The change was possible after he went to the endo day care centre at Koila near Uppinangady, set up by district administration and Zilla Panchayat.
A walk around the centre is well enough for one to assess the gravity of the situation. The centre has admitted 40 victims from the age group of three to 52 years. There are four victims who are bed ridden at the centre. The victims from seven villages viz. Kunthuperabe, Ramakunja, Koila, Alankaru, Pulithadi, Mata and Hirebandai are taken care at the day care centre when their parents go for work for livelihood.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, Jayakar Poojary, General Secretary of Endo Virodhi Horata Samithi said “along with fighting for the rights of the victims, I have been engaged in getting the victims to the day care centre from their houses daily. Initially, we had to carry them to the vehicle. Now the victims are capable of boarding the vehicle on their own. They sit in the vehicle without any assistance. The physiotherapy and the teaching at the centre has helped them a lot.”
Rajivi, a mother of three kids who are the victims of endosulfan works as a cook at the centre along with taking care of her children. “There is an open well right in front of my house. Either my husband or I had to be at home to take care of the kids. Now, with the opening of a day care centre, I was offered a job and my husband can go for daily wage work,” she said.
The centre has seven staff including a physiotherapist, coordinator and two driver. Cerebral palsy is the most common condition among the majority of children here. Endosulfan-affected families greet you here with anxiety writ large on their faces. The trauma of the victims’ family members is equally palpable. Centre Coordinator Namitha explained that the ID cards issued by the district administration has been received by 15 victims in the centre. Others were included in the list during the second survey conducted by the authorities.
Poojary said “all those victims who have opened their bank accounts in the SBI have received the honorarium of Rs 3,000 per month. However, those who have opened accounts in other banks are yet to get the honorarium. They are likely to get the monthly pension by April 15,” he said.
Along with physiotherapy treatments, the victims are engaged in the centre through story telling, games and other activities. The victims are given breakfast, lunch, milk and biscuits daily. A five acre land has been identified for setting up a permanent rehabilitation centre at Alankar. “A mobile clinic to treat the bed ridden victims is essential,” pointed Poojary.