Monday, August 24, 2009


"Stone walls do not a prison make, / Nor iron bars a cage."

Even as we rejoice at the rise in the number of those registering for the JGW, comes a story from ‘God’s Own Country,’ Kerala, that is at once humbling and inspiring. It is one of those stories that drives home the message that the Joy of Giving breaks all barriers, even the stone walls and iron gates of a prison.

Gladwin Emmanuel reports on this story for the Mumbai Mirror. Justin, an inmate of the Viyyur Central Prison in Thrissur, saw an appeal for funds in a Malyalam daily,from the parent of Nanditha, for surgery of the heart. Nanditha’s father is a casual labourer and could not raise the 2 lakhs needed for her surgery. The appeal so moved Justin that he immediately mobilised a fund collection drive in the prison and together the prisoners raised Rs 29,000 for the surgery, in less than a week. The contribution was entirely voluntarily and ranged from Rs50 to Rs2000/ . Let us not forget that convicts earn Rs30 a day and may need this money when they are released.

The 200 odd inmates of the prison who contributed, have shown us by their act that the prison has not sapped them of their will to give, which is eternally present in all of us, and all one needs to do is to draw on it to bring some joy into our lives. As we march into the next few weeks culminating in the Joy of Giving Week, this is what we need to remember, that barriers are man made and imposed upon. So this should not be allowed to come in the way of our doing something that is inherent in us ; the Joy of Giving.

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