Sriram Supreeth is a student living in Pallavaram. On his way to school, he’d noticed an impoverished man lying in the corner of a local street. An average passerby would take one look at the man and forget about him in an instant. But not Sriram. The man’s name, as he would later realize, was Venkatesh. Venkatesh lay in the same position for several days. Sriram could recognize that he was very weak in his homeless state.
Sriram decided to do something for Venkatesh. It was clear that the man was suffering and in need of care. Sriram tried several avenues in search of aid, including calling the police. No one responded or provided a clear means to help.
That was when Sriram thought of The Banyan and its work with the homeless. He called Adaikalam. After being connected to the front desk , he was quickly referred to a psychiatric social worker, Mr. Hari. Mr. Hari works at the night shelter in Santhome; a facility supported by The Banyan. The social worker immediately took action and sent a male nurse to escort Venkatesh to the shelter.
A deeply concerned Sriram accompanied Venkatesh to the shelter. Upon their arrival, Venkatesh was given some milk and bread to eat. Yet it was evident that the man needed urgent medical attention. A resident of the shelter took Venkatesh (accompanied by Sriram) to the Royapettah General Hospital so that appropriate care could be provided.
Venkatesh returned to the shelter after undergoing basic tests at the hospital, but is still very weak. The shelter staff member are trying to find out more about him and his family, but his story has not been fully reconstructed. Initial interactions with him suggest that he does not have serious mental health concerns, but his self-care is poor and communication is difficult.
Although Venkatesh’s progress may be slow, everyone is thankful and relieved that he is safely off the streets. At the shelter, we hope that he can rehabilitate over time, and we are deeply thankful to Sriram for calling us. When asked how he came to engage with Venkatesh when so many others didn’t, the young man replied, “I just tried to do the right thing.” Sriram was also given an orientation tour of the Shelter and The Banyan. We hope that his association with us continues. He is a hero!
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