“In December 2004, when huge tsunami waves swallowed thousands of people in the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu, Nagapattinam, Chennai, Cuddalore, Velankinia and Poompuhar, my heart stood still. I could sense the emotional distress of the Flood affected population, but I felt powerless to do anything to alleviate their suffering, ”recalls Raasamsetti Nanda Kishore, an insurance worker happy to help the poor and needy .
Soon he began in a small way to reach desperate souls around him and to help them in all possible ways. Impressed by his humane gesture, some like-minded friends and colleagues joined him and gradually the team grew. As the circle of beneficiaries of his services expanded, Mr. Kishore realized that people’s needs were diverse.
To streamline services, he founded the Open Hearth Charitable Trust in August 2010 with his “supportive” wife Thanuja Rani as president. Through this platform, Mr. Kishore, together with his wife and two sons Bala Ambicanadh and Chaitanya Naga Bhadrinadh, as well as his team of more than 300 volunteers, conduct service activities such as poor nutrition, distribution of food, clothing and books as well as sponsorship by fee for deserving students from economics backward areas in addition to environmental issues such as tree plantation trips.
Confidence in the past ran a retirement home for four years in a rented building in Krishna Lanka near Padmavathi Ghat with 30 inmates. However, it had to be suspended when the local council asked them to vacate the building as it was being demolished to widen the street.
“It was a very sad experience. Bringing the elderly inmates back to their homes was a difficult task, as in most cases their children refused to take them back. We had to ask the police for help, but their plight in such an unwelcome atmosphere was everyone’s guess, ”he says.
Each month, Mr. Kishore donates part of his salary for service activities. “I’ve seen tough times and came the hard way. I can relate to their plight very well, ”he explains, taking to the streets every second and fourth Saturday and Sunday (public holiday) carrying a bag full of groceries, clothing and other distribution materials with the Trust members.
On International Women’s Day, the Trust provided 15,000 slum women in various parts of the city with lavish food. Household items were distributed to women last week.
To date, the Open Heart Charitable Trust has sponsored the education of 735 high school students, ran 54 medical camps, fed 6,1729 poor people, trained 285 young people and single women, and ran awareness programs in schools, colleges and across the community.
“One day, when I have enough money, I would open a retirement home and a women’s empowerment training center,” he says, adding, “I want to keep doing what I am doing because no one has ever gotten poor from donations.”