Fr Teji Thomas-Director of SSCT honoured during KTDO Launch of Ambulance Service
- Fr Teji Thomas-Director of Sneha Sadan Charitable Trust, Masngaluru (SSCT) honoured during Karnataka Taxi Driver’s Organization -DK Chapter (KTDO) Launch of Ambulance Service on Monday, 9 February 2021 at Town Hall, Mangaluru
Mangaluru: If you happen to notice a few hundred taxis not plying on the city streets today (Monday, 9 February), the reason behind it, a large number of taxi drivers belonging to Karnataka Taxi Driver’s Organization (KTDO)-Dakshina Kannada Chapter had gathered at Town Hall, Mangaluru for the inauguration ceremony of AMBULANCE SERVICE on Monday, 9 February 2021. KTDO -DK Chapter was started nearly two years ago, and presently has a membership of nearly 500 members, who other than doing their driving job, also involve in various community projects.
Taxi drivers play an important role in towns and cities, and they complement the public transportation facilities to a very great extent. Many people get into this profession with the hope of earning a decent income for the benefit of themselves and their families. However, the lives of taxi drivers is one of financial struggle with low earnings and savings. The current paper attempts to know the reasons for choosing to drive a taxi. It also delves into finding the relationship between education and different aspects of financial well-being. And with competition going on with corporate taxi services, the local taxi drivers income has come down very much, since they can’t beat the prices offered by franchise taxi service companies. But the local taxi drivers with their determined, committed and honest service have won the hearts of many travellers who still patronize them.
Apart from doing their driving job to earn a decent income to feed themselves and their families, it’s nice to note that the members of KTDO have been involved in various community services. And during the lockdown/pandemic the taxi drivers had played a vital role as “Covid-19 Warriors’ transporting those affected with the virus, and also other patients. And among these drivers, Raj Kiran Poojary driving his own taxi who had been instrumental and played a vital role during the lockdown/pandemic has come forward to share part of his earnings in putting it as a down payment on the purchase of an Ambulance, for the benefit of ailing taxi drivers, their family members and the needy public during times of sickness and health care. The ambulance which costs Rs 7.2 lakhs, Poojary made down payment of Rs 1.2 lakhs, and borrowed Rs six lakhs loan from the bank, and also with little financial help from KTDO for Ambulance equipment etc. And this Ambulance Service was inaugurated today during the programme.
Raj Kiran Poojary- a KTDO Taxi Driver who initiated the Free Ambulance Service
The launching of the Ambulance Service by cutting the ribbon, and releasing the balloons in the air; and Inauguration of the programme by lighting the traditional lamp was done by MLA Vedavyas Kamath, along with other dignitaries, namely- Ramesh Kundapura- State President KTDO; MCC Mayor Diwakar Pandeshwar; Yashpal A Suvarna- President, Fisheries Cooperative Federation Ltd; R Vernekar- Regional Transport Officer, Mangaluru; Mrs Wilma Elizabeth Tauro- Labor Dept Officer, Mangaluru; Gopalkrishna Bhat-Traffic Circle Inspector,Mangaluru; Fr Teji Thomas- Director, Sneha Sadan Charitable Trust, Kinnikambala,Mangaluru; Dinesh Kumpala- President, Taximens association-DK; Mohammed Iqbal- State Guardian of KTDO, Karnataka; Mohammed Areef Ujire- State Secretary, State KTDO; Devdas Shetty- District Guardian, KTDO Kasargod; Vincent Babu- President, KTDO Kodagu Division; Ashwath Poojary- Vice President, KTDO Mangaluru; Praveen Naik- President, KTDO Uttara Kannada Division; Ravi- President, KTDO Mysuru Division; Mahesh Kumar- President, KTDO Tumkur Division; Ravi Kumar- President,KTDO Bengaluru Division; Ravi Boregowda- President, KTDO Mandya Division; among others.
Fr Teji Thomas-Director of Sneha Sadan Charitable Trust Honoured by KTDO
The programme began with a welcome dance and a prayer, followed by a welcome address by KTDO board member. In his inaugural address, MLA Vedavyas Kamath said, “This initiative by KTDO-DK Division in launching an Ambulance service for the benefit of taxi drivers and their families, and also the needy general public should be appreciated and be grateful for. Though a taxi driver’s job can be challenging, it has many benefits – and very often, they outweigh the cons. For example, a sense of freedom and flexible working hours are some of the most popular reasons why people go to work as taxi drivers – especially nowadays when you can quickly get tired of working fixed hours in an office on a supervised position”.
“For some people, driving a taxi might be interesting – you meet new people, see familiar places in a different light, and learn new things. Who would want to sit in the office instead? And of course, money is a factor that’s also important when it comes to choosing a taxi driver’s job – for many people, it’s worth working many hours in times of social distancing. Taxi drivers play an important role in peoples’ lives, and they are the ones needed when you want to reach a hospital in the middle of the night or during wee hours, and they never hesitate to come to your service. While appreciating the great work done by the members of KTDO, I am always ready to help you all in whatever support you need from the state government, district administration and from my side” added MLA Kamath.
On the occasion, Fr Teji Thomas-the Director of Sneha Sadan Charitable Trust was honoured for his generous and courteous service rendered to a 52-year-old taxi driver who was affected with AIDS, after he was taken in by Sneha Sadan last year. Sneha Charitable Trust (SCT) was founded in 2003 with the aim of coordinating social and community health care services to the poor, sick and the most neglected section of the society. SCT is managed by the Camillians- an International Faith-based Organization which is exclusively involved in the healthcare field for the past 450 years. It is one of the most challenging, creative and demanding initiatives of Camillians. It has a radical and distinctively global healthcare action – care and support to People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA), destitute, mentally and physically challenged children, training in quality healthcare management, vocational rehabilitation, training and job placement.
In the context of stigma and taboo associated with HIV infection and the consequent denial of hospital treatment and rejection from the society experienced by those infected, SCT started its service in taking care of people living with HIV/AIDS, and presently Sneha Sadan has 37 children and seven adults living with HIV/AIDS. For all the care, love and service provided to this taxi driver for nearly five months until he breathed his last at Yenepoya hospital, KTDO appreciating the kind gesture and hospitality shown by Fr Teji Thomas and his team, he was honoured on this occasion, where the audience gave a loud applause.
In his acceptance speech following the felicitation expressing his gratitude to all the Drivers were dressed in white and Fr Teji said, “You are Angels in our Highways and city. 450 years ago St. Camillus De Lellis, Our Founder said, “More Heart into those Hands”. The taxi drivers hold their heart in hands to serve the society as they begin an Ambulance service. “Maanavaru Kottare Mane thanaka, Devaru kottare kone thanaka”. The honour to Snehasadan may be forgotten, but the support done adds to the life of children and adults. Because support in need is the extended hands of God which last forever. God bless KTDO”. Fr Teji ended his speech with a short prayer for the success and health of the taxi drivers.
A few taxi drivers and Ambulance drivers who had played a vital role during the pandemic as “Covid-19 Warriors” were also felicitated on the occasion. MCC Mayor Diwakar and RTO Vernekar also spoke and complimented KTDO for their role in community service and extended support from their side whenever they needed any assistance. The programme was compered by Prajwal of KTDO.