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Sahai Trust at Coimbatore aims to empower people with spinal cord injuries

Sahai Trust, an NGO that reaches out to people with spinal cord injuries was established in the year 1998 by Professor Dr Thomas Joseph. Ever since then, the trust has empowered more than 700 people with spinal cord injuries to become independent and self-reliant through various programmes. Functioning in Coimbatore, Sahai has operations in nearby Kerala as well. Apart from providing treatment and rehabilitation to people with spinal cord injuries, Sahai trains its inmates to bring out their talents in arts and sports as well.

Recently, Manoj Kumar, who was trained at Sahai won recognitions for the 4th International Para Athletics Championship that was held at Morocco. Kumar, who participated in the 100 and 200 metres wheelchair racing, brought home laurels after representing India. Palanisami, who is a professional physiotherapist, trains para athletes at Sahai. The centre claims that they provide them with doors of opportunities to become an integral part of the society.

Mohammad Shanil, who is the Public Relations Officer (PRO) at Sahai says that the trust stands out from other rehabilitation centres for numerous reasons. It includes the exclusive care and treatment provided to each patient. Shanil, who was affected with polio when he was one years old, is a wheelchair user as well.

Sahai has many plans for the future. We want to provide nothing lesser than the best for people with spinal cord injuries. We are planning for an exclusive village where wheelchair users can learn and earn for themselves. There are many people who are alone in life, especially the elderly. They have literally no options and needs to be rehabilitated. So Sahai will train them in specific jobs so that they can work and live independently. We are already in the process of starting one. It will be ideal for wheelchair users-Mohammad Shanil, PRO, Sahai Trust

Sahai has been running rehabilitation camps across Kerala. They claim to be the first to hold such camps in the state. Sahai has already completed seven districts and is spreading their wings to more places.

Sahai offers rehabilitation to people who can afford to pay for their services. Otherwise, they have 15 beds for people with spinal cord injuries who come from economically backward families. Their medical and food expenses will be taken care of by Sahai for three months till they are able to do things independently. Sahai also offers job placement options for people on wheelchairs. They have tie-ups with companies who come to the centre to hire best from the lot. Sahai has a few members who are working with MNC's like Amazon.

"We identify what the person loves to do. Like for instance, some people love music while some others prefer sports. They might have other interests as well. There is nothing like identifying your interests and getting a job based on that, says Shanil.

Febin Joy, who lives in Kochi, was at Sahai for over three months after he became quadriplegic due to an accident. Joy is excited when he talks about the rehabilitation services that he experienced from Sahai.

"I was in Sahai for over three months last year. What happens in our hospitals is that they take hundreds of patients with spinal cord injuries when there are only two to three therapists. So each therapist has to cater to at least thirty patients every day and they are not given any individual attention. But at Sahai, you have just 15 patients and therapists give you all their time. A personal relation is established between the therapist and patient as well. Their therapies are available at affordable rates with the best quality, says Joy.

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