Checkmating not just the game
By Monisha Mohandas
Chess is his favourite game for two reasons: first, he cannot run and play; and second, its his favourite game where he manages to checkmate most of his opponents as he thinks as many moves ahead as he can.
Twenty-four-year-old E.Saravanan, founder of Ability Works, a designing firm may be just another polio victim. But, today he has managed to checkmate polio too. Proof of which is his one-and-a-half-year-old firm, which has bagged orders from TVS Lucas, Chennai Automations and NGO Young Helping Minds (YHM), to name a few.
It’s from this small 200-sq-ft office space in Padi, where he functions from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. He takes orders, undertakes desktop publishing, prints the brochures and finally delivers them. Saravanan, became a victim of Polio when he was very young. He did his schooling at Andhra Mahila Sabha for physically challenged and enrolled into diploma of Electronics and Communication Engineering at Muragappa Polytechnic College in 2004. However his disability was his lifetime opponent. “I decided to discontinue as it was difficult to climb up and down from labs to classroom. It was then I met my Nagappan,” remembers Saravanan.
R.M.Nagappan was Saravanan’s college senior. “I came to know about Saravanan through my friends. I felt ashamed of wasting money lavishly on parties and food,” says Nagappan. “With the support from my friends, we decided to help Saravanan.”From then on Nagappan and his friends used to carry Saravanan to his classes and labs and encouraged him to participate in Chess competitions. Inspired by Nagappan and his friends’ effort, Saravanan’s classmates who initially ignored him took the responsibility thereafter. “Our next step was to help him financially. Hailing from a poor family of daily wage earners, he couldn’t afford to pay his full fees. So we pooled in some money and paid partial amount,” says Nagappan.
Saravanan’s incident and the encouragement given by the fellow students made Nagappan and his friend Sathiyan to form a trust named ‘Young Helping Minds’ (YHM) in 2006.Saravanan was YHM’s first beneficiary and YHM started its expansion.Meanwhile, Nagappan and his friends passed out and were placed in different companies becoming financially strong to continue their support.
“Due to poverty Saravanan couldn’t afford medical aids and his disability severed. Thus we with the help of another NGO, pooled in an amount of Rs.33000 and bought him a Blood Vascular machine which would help him to keep his nerves in movement,” says D. Sathiyan, assistant managing trustee, YHM and IT Administrator, Covansys.
In 2007, Saravanan also passed out with first class and was placed in HCL technologies through campus, but couldn’t continue. Later with the help of Nagappan’s friends and his knowledge about computers which he learned during his schooling helped him open Ability Works.
Not stopping with that Saravanan has now become a donor of YHM.Saravanan takes care of the database of YHM and maintains blood donors’ contact to alert during emergencies. “I owe a lot to YHM. They are the reason for keeping check-mate for my disability,” says Saravanan with a smile.“We are happy that Saravanan can live independently. Now he is donating 10-15 percent of salary to YHM,” says V.Kaviarasan, Event Organizer YHM, Maintenance engineer, Ford India Ltd. “We are also in a mission called Vellicham to help many Saravanan’s to stand on their on feet.”
YHM conducts various such camps and events all over Chennai every week in order extend their support to uplift the under privileged.