COVID-19 IMPACT

Patiala old-age home runs short of funds

Patiala old-age home runs short of funds

An inmate at Sai Birdh Ashram (right) at Chaura village in Patiala. Photos: Rajesh Sachar

Ravneet Singh

Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 1

Sai Birdh Ashram, a home for the old in Chaura village here, is running short of funds due to the low influx of donations owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ashram is currently home to 25 old people, some of whom have been living here for the past more than six years, all due to the efforts of late Urmil Kumari, who was a retired schoolteacher.

Started in 1998 with two rooms and a kitchen by late Urmil, the ashram provides lodging, food and medical facilities to the inmates, while its sewing and computer training centre runs free for village children. At present, the centre is closed due to the pandemic.

Destitute because of family issues and household problems, the residents have had to turn to the old-age home in their twilight years, but found a new family. Krishna, one of the inmates, who has been living here for the past six years, said, “The arrangement is good here. I came here on my own without telling my family members and I never returned,” she quipped while forcing a smile on her face.

“Everyone comes here because of children only,” said Darshan Kaur, another inmate, who came here a fortnight ago. Baljit Kaur said, “This place has become the only family for us now.”

The management of the ashram gives all credit to late Urmil, who started it with the help of the village panchayat. She died on September 15.

“She started the ashram with two rooms and a kitchen on a land donated by villagers,” said OP Garg, joint secretary of Jeevan Ram Roshan Ala Trust that runs the ashram. She retired as government schoolteacher from the village primary school and was later joined by Pratibha Sharma, a retired school principal and Col Karminder Singh (retd). The management gradually built the ashram in a 1600 sq-ft area with over 25 rooms, a recreational area and spacious kitchen and dining.

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