Sixty-eight-year old P V Samuel may have lost his sight due to glaucoma but that has not deterred him from helping disabled persons get fitted with new limbs at Punes Artificial Limb Centre (ALC). This blind technical manager from Alwaye,Kerala,accompanies victims of road and rail accidents to ALC and helps amputees get new limbs.
After I turned blind some 20 years ago,God gave me the vision to help the unfortunate, says this retired junior warrant officer from the Indian Air Force. At present,Samuel is accompanying 30-year-old Jeenesh Kumar,a triple amputee,from Kerala for consultation on new prosthesis at the ALC. In the last four years,he has helped three others. With a monthly pension of Rs 12,000,the widower decided to put it to good use.
Jeenesh had simultaneous triple amputation after a train accident both his legs above the knee and a right trans-radial amputation below the elbow. I located him after making inquiries and decided to help the family that was finding it difficult to make ends meet, recalls Samuel.
It has been six years since my sons accident but now he will get new limbs, says Tanjamani,Jeeneshs mother.
ALC,set up in 1944 to provide rehabilitation care to disabled soldiers of the WW II,extended its services to civilians in 1951. In over 60 years,more than 50,000 people have been treated here,says Brigadier D C Agarwal,Commandant,ALC. Officers at ALC are touched by Samuels gesture. He stays with patients,helps them with the language and takes them home by train, says the Commandant.
For Samuel,whose son and daughter are in the US and Dubai,helping others is a way of life be it Mohd Ashraf who lost his arm and after being fitted with an artificial limb at ALC,has taken up a job as a driver,or Abdul Salaam who now works as a security guard.
To help people cope with life in insurgency-prone areas of J&K and North East,the Armed Forces has adopted villages and schools there. For the first time,two disabled children from Manjushree orphanage in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh,are getting new limbs at ALC. Thupten Tsering,19,who suffered burns and lost his arms below the elbow and Lobsang,13, who underwent bilateral upper limb amputation,have been sent from HQ04 Corps and will get new limbs by May 10.