a young man helping an old woman paint

Atchayam Trust: an NGO for senior citizens that rescues and rehabilitates

NAVEENKUMAR was at a bus stand when he saw a homeless old man who was disheveled, emaciated and looked as though he had been on the streets for months. He approached the homeless person and began speaking to him. Naveenkumar compassionately heard his story about how he had been abandoned on the streets by his family and left to die. This story shook Naveenkumar to his core and he wanted to help the man and others like him. He had just cleared his GATE and TANCET exams and was due to start working in an MNC, but he couldn’t get the man from the bus stand out of his mind. So, he established Atchayam Trust, an NGO for senior citizens that focuses on rescuing and rehabilitating abandoned elders from the streets and giving them a future filled with hope and happiness. 

Atchayam Trust was founded in 2014 in Erode in Tamil Nadu to be an NGO for senior citizens in need of rescue, shelter, food, care and support. In the past decade, Naveenkumar and his team at Atchayam Trust has rescued over 1,300 people from the streets and has counseled more than 12,000 people who were former beggars and have since been rehabilitated and given a life of purpose and meaning. The mission of Atchayam Trust as an NGO for senior citizens is to give people who are begging on the streets a dignified life and remove poverty and suffering from their lives. 

Why are there elders begging on the streets?

There are many unfortunate and unjust circumstances that lead to senior citizens being abandoned on the streets. But in most cases, homeless elders have been abandoned by their family members and have nowhere to go but the streets and no means to eat but to beg for food. Senior citizens who previously lived in their own homes have been harshly kicked out onto the streets because their families desire their possessions or property, see them as a burden or simply refuse to care for them. Naveenkumar shares that “the old grandparents weep and say to us, ‘I raised my child, but he threw me out of the house.’ When we hear these words, it wounds us but this pain is what drives us to rescue more and more elders from the streets and give them a home where they can be accepted and given a good life. To support Atchayam Trust, you can donate here.

a young man giving an old man a shave

Off the streets and into the NGO for senior citizens 

Naveenkumar shares that “many homeless people sleep in the sewers, in their own waste, in garbage dumps, infested with ants and flies and nobody goes near them.” In this horrific physical condition, elderly people also suffer from psychological conditions such as depression, fear, mental illness and even become addicted to substances just to escape mental anguish. These are the conditions that homeless people are in when Atchayam Trust finds them on the streets. The team from the NGO for senior citizens responds to distress calls and takes people off the streets and into the NGO’s home which provides a roof over their heads, safety from the harsh environment of the streets and a warm home they can call their own. 

Physical and mental care

When they arrive at the Atchayam Trust home, the once homeless senior citizens are given urgent and immediate medical care to treat the various conditions they suffered from on the streets. These include regular medical check ups with doctors, medical treatment including surgeries and constant care to help elderly people cope with the diseases left untreated during their time on the streets. The NGO for senior citizens also provides mental health counseling to help the elders overcome the psychological trauma of being homeless. Each day, the residents eat three regular nutritious meals a day and the carefully cooked healthy food helps their minds and bodies heal. 

an elderly woman eating

Skills training and rehabilitation 

Atchayam Trust does more than take homeless elderly people off the streets; the NGO for senior citizens empowers and rehabilitates them to give them a second chance at life. The team offers the elders various skill building opportunities to help them learn how to do different jobs. Some of the men and women have been trained in shopkeeping, security services, caretakers, healthcare workers and other professions so they can have productive lives and earn a living for themselves. Naveenkumar shares the story of a woman named Jayalakshmi who was alone and vulnerable to sexual abuse on the streets. Jayalakshmi was brought to the NGO’s home, counseled, rehabilitated and is now a healthcare worker who helps children. 

Holistic care provided by the NGO for senior citizens

Atchayam Trust does their best to reunite the elders with their families and in some cases, the story has a happy ending. But the majority of the people at the home have been permanently separated from their families and live the rest of their lives at the NGO. Amongst the other residents, the people at the home find companionship and friendship with one another and enjoy the various activities that the home organizes for them such as games, sports, music and dancing, gardening and reading books. 

the Atchayam Trust NGO team

Naveenkumar shares that “a person is born in happiness. But when they pass away, they should not be alone or without anyone to care for them. Just because of a lack of money, a human soul should not be left all alone on the streets.” When the elderly residents of the home pass away, the NGO for senior citizens ensures that their funerals and last rites are conducted with dignity according to their customs and traditions. 

Support Atchayam Trust on Give.do

When you support Atchayam Trust on Give.do, you help Naveenkumar and his team reach out to many more abandoned elders on the streets and bring them into a place of safety, comfort and warmth. To support Atchayam Trust, you can donate here.

If you want to become a monthly donor to Give’s Mission: Protect Abandoned Elders, you can find out more about how your monthly donation can help rescue and care for abused and abandoned elders living on the streets. Explore Mission: Protect Abandoned Elders:

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