Published on: October 28, 2022

It was a day filled with moments of love, light, laughter, sharing and a lot of caring. The World Hospice & Palliative Care Day (WHPCD) celebrations on the second Saturday of October were organised by Pallium India after a hiatus of 3 long years due to the COVID pandemic. We hosted many of our beneficiaries and various other stakeholders at the picturesque Kerala Arts and Crafts Village (KACV) located en route to Kovalam. KACV is a corporate social responsibility initiative of the Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society Limited which takes up key infrastructure projects in the state.

The place itself is a blend of vast open spaces which have been landscaped thoughtfully, 26 arts and crafts galleries housed in aesthetically designed buildings and ample open areas for hosting programs and guests. One such area was the semi-circular Amphitheatre space which was used as the main venue for the functions which took place on the day. A total of 452 people attended the event. The staff and the volunteers were tasked with taking care of the guests. We were extremely grateful to have with us the nearly 50 student volunteers from the NSS unit of Christ college, which comprised of students from the Arts & Science stream, who ensured that patients were navigated to the different locations at the venue. Despite the difficult terrain through which the wheelchaired beneficiaries had to be taken around, the students displayed tremendous calm and enthusiasm which exemplified the saying ‘team work trumps all’.

The chief guests for the day were Ms. Deeja Satheesan, Director, Nymitra Foods Private Limited, and Mr. Krishna Kumar PS, Vice Chairman, Mobility in Dystrophy (MinD) Trust; both are achievers who have themselves undergone disease and disability. The programs consisted of group sessions which were moderated by trained staff where all the stakeholders got an opportunity to interact with each other and share the many facets of their lives. Here, we saw the unveiling of various real life experiences. The participants learnt to see through the eyes of a patient, a volunteer, a beneficiary, a caregiver, a child etc. This lead to an unfolding of perspectives and kindled greater understanding about the challenges which each of them face in their day to day life. Following this, there was also a show of magic and mentalism by Mr. Preeth who has been trained by the legendary magician Gopinath Muthukad. He intrigued and amused the participants with his trade, leaving the crowd spellbound!

The participants also got the opportunity to visit the galleries where various arts and crafts were displayed. The unique aspect of KACV was that, in each of these galleries, there was an artisan as well who displayed how to make their products and the various technical details of their craft. It was a delight to see the way the participants engaged with the artisans and many even got inspired to maybe take up learning such a skill in the future which will also become a source of livelihood. 

By the end of the day, despite the blazing sun, the uneven surfaces, the small confusions which are part of big events, though everyone had to step out of their comfort zones… it all became worthwhile when we heard that for many of the attendees, this was the first time in 2 years that they have stepped out of their homes. For some, this event is the only other outing they have apart from their occasional visits to the hospital. 

This day was truly a feat which was made possible by many who are part of the team in some or the other capacity. This was a day which showed that Pallium India is indeed a family where one stands for all and all stand for one.

(Prepared by Dr. Deepak Sudhakaran, Specialist – Community Medicine, Pallium India)

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