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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Gulf philanthropists give whole-heartedly for India’s largest dialysis center
By Hassan Cheruppa
JEDDAH — The new premises of Shihab Thangal Charitable Dialysis, Research & Rehabilitation Center, one of India’s largest charity projects for the poor and distressed renal patients, was inaugurated recently in a colorful ceremony in Kondotty in the southern state of Kerala. The new premises of the center, spread over 21,500 sq. meters and built at a cost of Rs65 million, has come up with donations from philanthropists, mainly from Sheikh Abdullah Amer Al-Nahdi, founder and managing director of Al-Nahdi Medical Company.
The center, which had its soft opening in 2015, has already spent around Rs60 million to render over 50,000 dialysis services, free of charge, for the distressed kidney patients spanning over a period of last five years.
Panakkad Sayed Hyderali Shihab Thangal, prominent Indian Muslim leader and president of the Kerala state committee of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), inaugurated the new premises in a grand ceremony, presided over by Panakkad Sayyid Munavvar Ali Shihab Thangal, president of Kerala state Muslim Youth League. Former chief minister of Kerala Oommen Chandy delivered the keynote address at the function wherein Prof. K.M. Kader Mohideen, president of IUML national committee, was the chief guest.
Those who spoke on the occasion included E.T. Mohammed Basheer, member of parliament and organizing secretary of IUML national committee, Pramod Das of CPM; T.V Ebrahim, member of Kerala Legislative Assembly; Saneesh Babu, president of Ayyapa Temple; Gururatna Knjana Tapasi, general secretary of Santhigiri Ashram; Pastor Shibu Kuttipparachil and renowned social worker Firos Kunnumparambil.
In his speech, Hyderali Thangal congratulated Sheikh Nahdi for his humanitarian initiative. He urged all the people to lend a helping hand to support the center in its smooth running for which huge amount of money is needed. Congratulating the masses who participated in establishing such a unique haven for the distressed segment of the society, Oommen Chandy said: “No words can express my feelings of humanity when the entire people of a region stand united in disseminating the strong message of mercy and empathy. We are becoming real human beings only when we think about others after transcending beyond the shell of our selfishness,” he said noting that this center, the first of its kind in Kerala, and perhaps in India, is going to impact the society to inspire into the path of righteous and charitable things. “I hope this center becomes a symbol of love and peace,” he added.
Echoing his sentiments, Munavvar Ali Thangal, chief advisor of the center, said: “In a turbulent period through which the world’s largest democracy is passing through now, it is a great relief to have such humanitarian initiatives. I have immense pride to be part of this great initiative where all treatment and medications are provided free of cost,” he said while drawing attention to the growing number of people affected with kidney disease. The disease, more often than not, tend to transform even the rich families into penniless in due course of time.
In his inspiring words, Prof. Kader Mohideen described the center as the public property of the entire humanity. “This center is the epitome of the core ideal of Islam that serving humanity is a great service to God and that the divine religion always encourages to be compassionate, tolerant and empathetic. The Kerala model of helping the poor and the destitute irrespective of their religion, caste and politics, is exemplary for other parts of India and other parts of the world,” he said.
E.T Mohammed Basheer, one of the main supporters of the initiative, congratulated all who worked behind this unique initiative, which is a role model for charity works for the entire country. The speakers of the event included Pastor Shibu Kuttipparachil, who was in limelight for helping a woman kidney patient who approached him for some help by donating his kidney. “I urged the followers of my religion in our locality to donate for the center from the money that set aside for celebrating the birthday of their children for the coming two years,” he said while offering the money collected from Christian believers for the center.
Hyderali Thangal presented a memento to Abdurahman Bin Abdullah Bin Amer Nahdi, who attended the event on behalf of his father Abdullah Nahdi while Oommen Chandy gave away mementos to Rasheedali Babu Pulikkal and PV Hassan Siddeeque Babu for their commendable services to make the center a reality. Several prominent figures attended the function and they included Sayyid Abbasali Shihab Thangal, IUML Kerala General Secretary K.P.A Majeed, M.P. Abdusamad Samadani, former member of parliament and national secretary of IUML, K.P Muhammed Kutty, A.P Unnikrishnan, Dr. Rajan Menon, Dr. Muhammad Shihab, and Sulaiman Maliyekkal. Earlier, Chairman of CH Center P.A. Jabbar Haji welcomed the gathering while General Secretary P.V. Moosa presented the annual report and Treasurer Aboobakar Haji proposed vote of thanks.
A number of events such as Snehasparsham (Touch of love), Snehasangamam (Get together of love), Santhwana Sangamam (Get together of compassion) were held as part of the inaugural ceremony. IUML leader and Deputy Opposition leader of Kerala Dr. M.K. Muneer, K Srinivasa Rao, director of Calicut International Airport, KM Shaji MLA PK Firos, general secretary of Muslim Youth League, and Abdul Ghafour Anwari addressed the gathering.
It was revealed during the inaugural ceremony that the implementation of the dialysis center was the celebration of the unity of people from all segments of the society in taking up a humanitarian mission irrespective of their religious, political and other affiliations.
Speaking to Saudi Gazette, Hassan Siddeeque Babu, one of the founders of the center, said the humanitarian gesture of his Saudi employer Sheikh Abdulla Amer Al-Nahdi was the real inspiration in realizing this dream project, which has turned out to be the refuge for the ailing kidney patients from the poor and destitute families. “A few years ago, when we approached him, seeking help for the treatment of a kidney patient from a neighborhood of Kondotty, his response was highly encouraging as he offered us all support to establish a high-tech dialysis center with donating a number of dialysis machines. The elected body of people from the Kondotty Block Panchayat also offered some dialysis machines and this enabled us to start the dialysis center at the local Taluk hospital on April 3, 2015.”
Siddeeque Babu said that mass contributions from the cross section of the local society as well as expatriates from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states were instrumental in making this charity project a reality with the mass participation of tens of thousands of people and hundreds of organizations. “It’s an amazing success story of the overall involvement of the rich and poor people. Contributions poured in from all sections of the society, including ordinary workers, fishermen, auto rickshaw drivers, bus workers, farmers, school students, as well as the officials of mosques, temples and churches,” he said adding that all these helped us to find the huge expense for the operation of the center on a daily basis. He noted that the center’s operational costs reached around Rs100,000 (SR5,250 approximately) per day.
“When we thought of establishing such a project to alleviate the suffering of the growing number of kidney patients from poor families, we did not have anything in our hand,” saids Jabbar Haji, president of the center. “It was really the tears of a poor woman that ignited the fire of empathy and compassion in us to do something to lend a helping hand to the distressed people. We raised hands to God in supplication and at the same time stretched our hands out to people around, with wholehearted efforts and prayers,” he said noting that the center was the outcome of this. “Abdullah Nahdi came and asked us to find out the site for construction of the new premises for which he had donated over Rs20 million. We were overwhelmed to see help pour in from all sections of the local people and expatriates living in all corners of the Gulf countries,” he said while thanking specially the overseas support committees, especially those of Jeddah, Makkah, Riyadh, Dammam, Jazan, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Doha and Muscat in standing out as a stellar pillar of this mass charity movement.
Siddeeque Babu, a senior official of Al-Nahdi Group, said Abdullah Nahdi visited the old premises of the center in October 2016 and offered eventually a large sum of money to construct the new premises. “It was during his first visit to Kerala to attend a three-day national conference of visually challenged people. During that visit, he also inaugurated hostel building of a blind friendly campus, established by the Global Islamic Foundation for the Blind (GIFB) in the nearby Pulikkal town. Nahdi was instrumental in establishing the three-story hostel block and a state-of-the-art Braille Press Complex in the campus with donating lion’s share of the cost,” he added.
There are 47 machines at the center now and it can provide treatment to over 150 patients on a daily basis, Siddeeque Babu said. “Apart from continued providing with free dialysis services, the center will be in the forefront of making available of support for these patients for their follow-up treatment, as well as for helping their families, in addition to free distribution of medicines and free medical camps as part of multi-pronged programs aimed at boosting public health. The center also embarks on two major initiatives with setting up of a specialist center for mentally disabled children, especially those affected by autism, and a high tech mobile laboratory,” he said adding that the laboratory will reach out to the doorsteps of people in the neighboring towns and villages as part of a drive for early detection of renal diseases with provision of medical tests and supply of medicine free of cost.
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