Published on: September 17, 2020

Krishnaraj Nambiar, Pallium India’s volunteer, writes:

13th September 2020 marked a red-letter day for Pallium India and PMI (Project Management Institute) in their blooming partnership, with the conclusion of their children’s/students virtual get together “Udaan 2020”. PMI Kerala chapter, part of the well-known international organization (with more than 600 members) provides educational support and expertise in shaping the personality of the underprivileged children of patients receiving Pallium India’s care. This is done by conducting motivational classes, improving their English speaking skills, rendering speeches, project assignments to plan their further studies and career, thereby boosting their self-confidence and helping them gain employment.

The virtual get-together of our students, the focus of our attention was a grand success and everyone was left enthralled with the proceedings. The two chief dignitaries from PMI were Geordie Keitt (Principal Consultant, Keitt Consulting Group) and Peter Monkhouse (Author and Co-founder NewGenP). Also present was Mr.Chandrasekaran Avdivaragan, (Member, PMI Educational Foundation Community Engagement Committee, Region 11) who introduced PMI Educational Foundation (PMIEF) and gave his impressions about his experiences in other states where PMI was similarly involved and expressed his immense satisfaction with the students’ performances. The event was also blessed with the presence of Ms. Carol Martinez & Ms. Leena Gupte (both Program Managers at PMI).

The event began with an Introduction by Nimmy (of PMI) followed by a prayer song by Linu Prakash (student). Dr. Krishna Kumar (President, PMI Trivandrum Kerala Chapter) gave the welcome address, in which he covered the activities of PMI Kerala Chapter and expressed his satisfaction in the progress made by PMI and Pallium India in furthering their cause. This was followed by the Key note address by Dr.M.R.Rajagopal (Chairman, Pallium India) who expressed his profound sense of happiness and gratitude to PMI for having taken up this noble cause, as Palliative care is not complete without caring for the children of patients, particularly in low/middle income countries where catastrophic expenditure on treatment forces children out of schools.

Nimmy screened a short video of “Udaan 2019” which brought back pleasant memories.

Geordie Keitt engaged the students (translated by Rajalakshmi of Pallium India) and grabbed their attention with the tale of “The Wolf and the Shepherd”, teaching them lessons from the attitudes of the various characters (when translated into business / management) viz. the shepherd, his mother, the sheep, the dog and the villagers. The mother (entrepreneur) did not cross check her son’s trustworthiness by carrying out a due diligence, and had to pay the price for her negligence. The shepherd misled the villagers by crying wolf and failed in his task of protecting the sheep. The villagers (customers) lost their trust in the boy when he cheated them twice. The winner wolf knew that he had to have his meal at any cost or face death from starvation, so waited patiently till opportunity struck. Unlike humans, it’s the animals in the story that remained focussed, not changing their priorities; a lesson for all of us.

Peter Monkhouse explained the concept of Project Management in a very lucid manner by citing an example of his daughter’s birthday and all the preparations, planning (for resources of men and material) and monitoring that would go into it, adhering to the timelines to ensure that the event succeeded, in a way that the children could easily relate to.

The highlight of the evening were the performances by the students who displayed their skills at Drawing (Geethu), Singing (Aruvi, Krishnaveni, Shobha & Sunitha, Vaisakhi, Neetu, Devika & Krishna, Kasturi, Linu, Adam Shah, Alfi, Siva & Dhanalakshmi, Vishnu, Rahul, Sreekuttan, Noora), Dance (Siva), recitation of her own poem (Nida). Anaswara narrated how her grandmother contracted Covid 19 and how the others in the family tested negative later as they had taken necessary precautions without panicking and that this helped them boost their self-confidence. A lesson to think positively.

What stood out in all of this, was an inspirational video of Shyam Kumar, student of BA Psychology. Shyam was born with a leg that was attached to his buttock, 3 kidneys and a testis in his stomach. He underwent 18 surgeries at an early age, the first one when he was just 19 days old. His right leg is a prosthetic one and he is catheterised. Despite these setbacks Shyam became a cycling enthusiast (having covered 230 kms in 12hrs with a bleeding wound and other complications). He is into acrobatics, swimming, mountaineering, skating and trekking too. We are all proud of you, Shyam!

In his closing note, Manoj G.S, CEO of Pallium India, recalled the annual “Kuttikoottam” (gathering of students) that used to be a much awaited event which could not be held this year due to Covid restrictions. He hoped that this event filled the gap. He too expressed his happiness at the bondage between PMI and Pallium India and at the progress of our students. Interacting with the students, he assured them that many more programs could be organised to cater to their needs, if they so desired.

The curtains were drawn with the singing of “Kuttanadan punchayile…” (evoking the nostalgia of Onam, which lacked lustre this time in the shadow of Covid) by all participants, led by Manoj himself.

Our expression of gratitude for this success would not be complete without recognizing the tremendous effort that has gone into staging this virtual event by the members of PMI and volunteers/mentors and staff of Pallium India and they include, Jai Kishore, Hari Prasad, Nimmy, Prof.Indira, Rajalekshmi etc.

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