Aysha Nargeez is a student volunteer at a Palliative Care unit in Kerala. She writes about what these youngsters do and why:
Healing is a collaborative and cathartic process at ILA (Initiative for Love & Action) Foundation. We believe that each of us has the innate potential to improve the world and heal human misery. A beautiful building without doors where one can feel a sense of belonging, ILA makes no difference between itself and the visitor. What connects all of us is a constant need for deeper joy and an urge to alleviate agony. Compassion & positive energy are our tools!
We realize that the palliative mission shouldn’t lose its soul by being habitual and mechanical. When we authentically try to heal someone, we are healing ourselves, and it’s a purification process for one’s humanity: this goes for our philosophy in a nutshell.
Our team not only attends to the patients, but also takes care of their families – emotional issues, economic needs, and particularly the children. This holistic approach sees them as dignified humans, not just “patients”. And this also goes for our volunteers, who come from all sections & age groups. ILA is a large family that takes care of each other, not “providers” of resources. Giving is receiving!
We also engage with children in conflict with law. We provide them sustained counseling sessions and mentorship. They are consciously invited to participate in ILA’s caregiving and social activities, where they can channelize energies and become better human beings.
ILA tries intervening in areas where the community faces problems. to address them. We invite people to sit together and share resources, cutting across religion and politics. Our various empowerment programs are meant to cleanse ourselves by defeating inner negativity. When we spend time with a person suffering deeply, isn’t life giving us a chance to re-observe everything around?
Besides conventional palliative work, we have been involved in youth empowerment activities, support for people on dialysis, care of people with chronic mental illness, livelihood support for the marginalized, environmental activism, cultural activities, workshops, literary discussions, community kitchen for the neighborhood, screening of movies etc etc. Because at ILA, we believe that being compassionate means more than looking after a few bedridden or dying people.
The word ILA in Malayalam means “leaf”; we strive to be a leaf of hope for those who are through autumns.