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Empowering people with paraplegia, the Pallium India way

Pallium India, an NGO in Thiruvananthapuram Kerala is enabling paraplegics to live a life of dignity and honour. Founded by M R Rajagopal, it has reached out to thousands of people in the capital of Kerala, enabling them to come out of the four walls of their homes and showcase their skills and talents.

Pallium India was honoured by the World Health Organization (WHO) for its services in 2012.

Apart from community-based activities, Pallium India focuses on volunteer training programmes, medical care as well as providing education and employment opportunities. Volunteers trained by Pallium India hold workshops and camps where they identify paraplegics who can be a part of the NGO. They are given the tools needed to lead a better quality of life.

We are collaborating with various organizations who can support our programmes. We have also been getting great responses because people would really like to help out paraplegic patients. People from across India are part of our venture in many ways- Babu Abraham, Advocacy Manager, Pallium India

The Pallium India Flagship Programme launched in partnership with the Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Sciences (TIPS) also offers clinical help to paraplegics. Over 14 community-based organizations are working to identify and train paraplegics. The NGO has covered over 60 panchayats in and around Thiruvananthapuram and works with organizations from 20 states in India to widen and expand their services.

"We do not have any government support. So we focus on fundraising events which help us to gather funds for our functioning. People with spinal cord injury go through many hardships. It is worse for a person who was leading a normal life but became paraplegic due to some accident. They go through a lot of psychological and emotional turmoil. We hope to do our best to reach out to such people", says Abraham.

Preetha Thonnakkal, a wheelchair user, has been associated with Pallium India since the year 2009. An entrepreneur, Thonnakkal makes handmade jewellery, organdie flowers, among other handicrafts.

"When I started making jewellery, social media was not very popular. So it was extremely hard for me to sell my products because I could not spread the message. I heard about Pallium India through a friend. They have helped me sell my products. When we are sick, they come home and offer clinical help too. Basically, they motivate you to come outdoors and experience the beauty of life. They have helped me go to many places and also helped in flourishing my business venture. The mental support that they offer to wheelchair users cannot be put down in words", says Preetha.

ALSO READ: Road transport turns nightmare for wheelchair users in Kerala

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