S Babu, 56


Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

By Jeemon Jacob

S Babu
Photo: Rajesh Ramachandran

A postman in Kerala has shown that even a layman can make a difference, if he so chooses. S Babu of the Kowdiar Post Office, Thiruvananthapuram, is doing so by helping poor cancer patients who cannot afford treatment. The 56-year-old set up Swanthanam in 2007, with the help of the residents of Kowdiar. He started by distributing Rs 6 lakh for the treatment of poor patients at the Regional Cancer Centre, which he had visited during his sister’s treatment. Their pitiable condition had left him shocked then; several of them were begging for money. Babu hit upon a plan. He appealed to the residents of his beat, where he had delivered mail for 13 years, to donate for this cause. “When I told them about the ward, they came forward to help,” he recounts. “Once we registered a society, donations started to flow in. We have 110 members now.” Paying EMIS on a home loan, and with a wife and two sons at home, Babu is no rich man. But he doesn’t let it affect his work. “Sharing people’s pain is my way of thanking God,” he says. Babu’s service has not gone unnoticed. He is often invited by the postal department to talk about helping poor patients and many others have started supporting his noble efforts.

Babu can be contacted at +91 95394 80503

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Bureau Chief, South

Jeemon Jacob has been a journalist for 26 years both in print and television, as of 2011. He was a Reuters Fellow and spent nine months in Oxford University as visiting scholar in 1994-95. He has headed the political bureau in New Delhi of the Rashtra Deepika group of publications and later joined News Express in Brunei Darussalam as Features Editor. He won the Statesman award for rural reporting in 1987 for his seven articles that exposed a brown sugar racket in Kumily, Kerala.

In 1990, he won the state award for best reporting and in 1992, his article on social alienation of people with HIV/AIDS won the prestigious PUCL Award for human rights reporting in 1992. Jeemon is a graduate in English Literature and Journalism and has exposed the corruption behind the DMK government’s allotting prime land to high court judges, senior civil servants, and the kith and kin of politicians under the government’s discretionary quota. He is based in Thiruvananthapuram.


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