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Mr. Paramattum’s former supervisor at a local hotel where he worked brought him to the Deivadan Home 12 years ago. Estranged from his only son, he had fallen into a stupor, unable to speak, see, walk or eat. “He was a hopeless case seeking a good death,” says Sister Shubha, who smiles as she remembers the day he arrived. This morning, he bows before Father Kaippenplackal for a blessing.

Next in line is 72-year-old Joseph Madathingal. One night in 2004, a car hit and maimed him as he walked along the roadside. The accident cost him his business and, as a result, his family. According to Mr. Madathingal, his wife and four children no longer had any use for him. His new family at the Deivadan Home, in contrast, considers him indispensable. Each day, he goes to market for the sisters and helps with odd jobs. “I’m like their brother,” says Mr. Madathingal about the sisters. “And they’re like my sisters. We take care of each other.”

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Award-winning journalist Peter Lemieux reports from Africa and India for ONE.

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Tags: Sisters Kerala Poor/Poverty Caring for the Elderly Mental health/ mental illness