In an exemplary show of solidarity, the villagers of Sarkanda in Bargarh district of Orissa have decided to fund the medical expenses of a poor tribal boy who has been diagnosed with cancer. The villagers, including landless labourers, school children, members of self-help groups and youth clubs, have raised more than Rs 40,000 on their own. Their sincere efforts to try and save the boy have influenced others to contribute for the cause as well.
Rajendra Bhoi, 15, a student of class 10 of Sarkanda High School is the son of Indrajit, a landless labourer. On Independence Day last year, Rajendra fell unconscious at the school parade ground and was diagnosed with blood cancer at the VSS Medical College, Burla. The hospital referred Rajendra to Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Instititute, Cuttack.
The cost for his treatment was estimated at approximately Rs 3 lakh and his father Indrajit, a daily labourer did not have the means to spend for his treatment. It was then that that the villagers stood up to help the poor family. Arpan, a club, suspended its annual function and contributed Rs 10,000 and self help groups gave Rs 6000. The villagers pooled in another Rs 10,000, while Rajendra’s school mates chipped in with Rs 2000.
Nearly 125 villagers joined the beneficiaries of NREGA to construct a rural road and each one contributed one day’s wage that helped amass Rs 12,000.
“The villagers are going to do another NREGA work soon and expect to raise another Rs 12,000. It is heartening that even those who earn their livelihood as a daily wager are contributing to the cause,” said Rabishankar Pradhan, the village sarpanch.
The villagers appeal for help before Bargarh Collector Harihar Panigrahi did not fall on deaf ears. “Rs 20,000 have been sanctioned from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund and the amount has been credited to the account of Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Institute,” said Panigrahi, who praised the villagers’ efforts.
The villagers are also taking turns to attend to Rajendra, as he recuperates. “We hold a meeting every third day to review the boy’s health and what more can be done. We will leave no stone unturned to save the boy,” said Surendra Meher, President, Arpan.