Toronto Indians raise $320,000 for poor kids in India

Monday, September 27, 2010

TORONTO - The Indo-Canadian community here raised $320,000 for the welfare of poor children in India at a fund-raising gala attended by former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

The Sunday-night gala was organised by the Toronto chapter of All India Movement (AIM) for Seva which is dedicated to working for underprivileged children of India and many other countries.

Addressing about 1,000 participants, who paid at least $500 each, Kalam said poverty is universal and poor people everywhere deserve help and service from organisations like AIM for Seva. People are in dire straits in every part of the world and only the proportion of poverty varied from country to country, he said.

Lauding AIM for Seva, Kalam said it should spread its “good work of educating under-privileged children” to even more countries, including Canada.

Live a “life of righteousness and giving. In giving you receive happiness in body and soul,” Kalam exhorted the audience, keeping them spell-bound with real-life anecdotes, and hilarious jokes.

To a huge applause, the former president recalled how and his team helped children afflicted with polio.

“My friend, an orthopedic surgeon, was running an orthopedic hospital for children who were afflicted with crippling polio. Most of these children had crippled limbs and they wore calipers for the minimum mobility. However, these calipers were so heavy that they were proving to be counter-productive as the children found it impossible to drag the caliper weight. So in spite of wearing the calipers, the children were still immobile,” Kalam narrated.

Seeing their plight, he said he prevailed upon his surgeon friend to design light-weight calipers so that the crippled children could start moving. “Within 20 days with the help of my team, we created ultra-lite calipers. Children, who earlier were tethered to their beds, were now running around. When the children’s mothers watched their kids running around with the help of ultra-lite calipers, I could sense their eyes welling up. That was one of the happiest moments of my life,” the former president said amid a huge applause.

Kalam is in Canada to accept an honorary degree from the University of Waterloo and deliver a public lecture on the topic of ‘Science is Borderless: The future belongs to science and those who make friends with science.’

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