2020 was a strange and inconsolable year for our family. In the span of less than four months, we abruptly lost our sister, brother, and then our father to death. Such a loss is hard to describe, let even make sense of. Yet when I look back, there exists a common thread that connects their deaths, in that the timely care that was due to them was delayed by the pandemic and the fears surrounding it. Karuna, therefore, is envisioned as a wholehearted attempt at providing care during these unprecedentedly trying times. It is meant to be a safe space where women and children (particularly those from indigenous / Adivasi communities) with serious health conditions and illnesses may reach out for a helping hand.
Karuna is named after our late father Sri P.K. Karunan (Puthenparambil Kochayyappan Karunan, 1935-2020) and is a tribute to the care that he embodied in his many roles as a father, a health worker and a friend. His professional life started as an attender at Ayurveda Medical College, Kottayam – Kerala and then at Kottayam Medical College from where he retired in 1994 as a laparoscopic technician in the Department of Gynaecology. In a certificate awarded for his years of service at the department of radiology at Medical College Hospital, Kottayam – Kerala, he is described as ‘sincere, and very efficient in performing his duties’. Even after his retirement in 1994, he used to leave for the hospital as on any other regular working day, where he would help the patients until evening. He had a rare intuitive knowledge in him, by which he was often able to suggest a more wholesome course of medication to some patients than what was normally prescribed. He also maintained bonds of deep friendship and respect with many of the doctors he worked with, irrespective of age or seniority, many of whom even continued to meet him after retirement. His life was one that was truly dedicated to the care and well being of the people around him.
The idea of beginning an initiative like Karuna occurred to me in October, while I was at Rossmala or Ross Hill at Punalur (at Kollam in Kerala) with my friend O.V. Usha (poet & writer) months after my father’s death. It so happened that while spending time there, people in the village suddenly started reaching out for my support with various illnesses survived by them or their children. It felt like a sign and only natural to start something like this, so that the work of care that lived through my father will continue to live after him.
Our late father and siblings are survived by my brother Sri. Sunil Kumar P.K. (Puthen-parambil Karunan Sunil Kumar, now residing in Vienna, Austria) and I. It does bring me great hope and a larger sense of family to bring Karuna to our midst, where it will operate as a sister project alongside Gowry Art Institute, which I founded in 2007 in memory of my mother Smt. C.N Gowri. I hope to receive your wholehearted support in guiding this project into its light.
Sajitha Kumari Karunan (Sajitha R. Shankhar)
Indian Contemporary Artist
Anyone can contribute to to support KARUNA and its humanitarian initiatives.
Karuna seeks to :
- Provide financial assistance for those who cannot afford expensive medicines/ procedures that are prescribed to them.
- Arrange for transport facilities for those who cannot afford the cost of travel from far away places.
- Help with finding and connecting with established health practitioners ( alleopathy/ ayurveda/ alternative healing)
- Provide counseling services through a volunteer support model to those in need.
* All facilities are subject to availability of funds
Account Name: Gowry Art Institute
Bank Name: State Bank of India, Vithura Branch, Trivandrum, Kerala, India
Account Number: 67097813982
IFSC Code: SBIN0070214
SWIFT Code: SBININBB487