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He feeds the hungry, now wants to house the homeless. But...

Last updated on: January 20, 2012 16:43 IST

He feeds the hungry, now wants to house the homeless. But...

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For nine years, Narayanan Krishnan has served millions of meals to the mentally ill in Madurai. And he now dreams of providing a shelter to them. However, due to lack of funds the project has hit a roadblock. Ganesh Nadar reports

The plight of a homeless man in Madurai made Narayanan Krishnan give up elite chef's job in Europe. He returned home and in 2003, he founded the nonprofit Akshaya Trust.

For nine years now, he has served millions of meals, three times a day -- breakfast, lunch and dinner -- to the mentally ill, destitute and abandoned in the city.

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Image: Narayanan Krishnan feeds a mentally ill man in Madurai


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And now Krishnan plans to take his endeavour to a whole new level. He has taken up a new challenge -- to provide a home to thousands of mentally ill patients who have been for years living on the streets of Madurai. With the help of donations that Akshaya Trust has been receiving for years now Krishnan has purchased a plot of land on the outskirts of Madurai.

The plan is to build a shelter of the mentally ill. It will be a home where they can stay and receive medical attention. With proper care many of the patients can also be cured, said Krishnan.

"Every year I expect at least 10 per cent of the patients to be cured. This will make room for more patients and we can also accommodate those from outside the city," he added.

According to him, in Madurai alone there are more than 4,500 mentally ill people who are homeless.


Image: Krishnan has planned a shelter for the mentally ill on the outskirts of Madurai


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However, Krishnan's project has run into a financial hurdle. The cost of the project was estimated at Rs 5 crore. An initial sum of Rs 25 lakh was given by the national insurance giant Life Insurance Corporation of India. However, today the work has slowed down due to lack of funds. The Trust needs Rs 1.5 crore more to provide a roof for the mentally ill.

But there is no stopping Krishnan. Not discouraged by the paucity of funds for the project, he continues to reach out to 450 mentally ill patients every day.

It may be recalled that in 2010, Krishnan was nominated as one of worldwide heroes by CNN. He made it to the top ten.

Krishnan can be contacted at +91 9843319933


Image: The construction work has stalled because of the lack of funds


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