Tamil Kudil: A shelter of hope, miles away from home, for Indians in UAE

Tamil Kudil, part of the Ameeraga Nanban initiative, started as a care house for Indians stuck in UAE during the coronavirus outbreak, without shelter and food.

Update: 2023-07-10 01:30 GMT

The members of Tamil Kudil enjoying sadya at their shelter (File)

CHENNAI: The rife of COVID19 outbreak impelled people globally to swarm into their four walls. But it didn’t stop AK Mahadevan, who came as a protector to all the Indians in UAE, who went through the tribulations of the pandemic.

Born and raised in Nagercoil, Mahadevan went on to serve mankind at the age of 51, with his initiative ‘Ameeraga Nanban’ (Friends of UAE). Serving humanity was familial, which went great guns when he moved to Dubai in 2005. Along with his friends, he engaged in support for education, medical illness and marital issues. With the troth towards the upliftment of Tamil community in UAE, Mahadevan launched a social media group in late 2019, discerning the urge for a responsible soul who will pave way to collective upliftment of the deprived.

“The WhatsApp group which started with just 18 members surpassed 2,000 members in two months. I was stupefied to see young minds who came forward to volunteer selflessly,” says Mahadevan, who now has more than 4,800 members in unison, working towards a better humankind.

Tamil Kudil, part of the Ameeraga Nanban initiative, started as a care house for Indians stuck in UAE during the coronavirus outbreak, without shelter and food. “Tamil Kudil, the child born from Ameeraga Nanban and deployed in August 2021, is a free shelter with open arms to Indian communities, who are famished and sleeping on streets. We serve free food twice a day, with sadya being treasured the most by every single Indian, be it from the south or the east,” says Mahadevan, chuckling while recollecting the jests they shared while sitting on the floor to enjoy their south Indian banquet.

The pandemic unleashed a wave of misery and uncoupled families globally, who longed to reunite with their family. The organisation and its volunteers worked to repatriate senior citizens, pregnant women, students and labourers who were forsaken due to the curtailments at the beginning of 2020.

“There are about 6,00,000 Tamil people in the UAE. During the pandemic, there were no flights operating to Tamil Nadu, as the State was last to join the Vande Bharat Mission. It was painful to see people, especially senior citizens and pregnant women, waiting for a way back home. For some, the wait was brutal as they heard the news of the passing of their beloved. Sending them back was our prime concern. With systematic legal actions, we were able to repatriate 1,858 Tamils, including 63 senior citizens and 32 pregnant women, from the UAE to their homes. Our team of 15 volunteers waited at the Kochi airport with cabs to transport people,” described the founder, with teary eyes, recollecting the contentment he felt, seeing them boarding their flight back to their homeland.

Tamil Kudil is home to Raju Bhowmick from West Bengal and Dulal Gharami from Odisha, two unemployed middle-aged men who were cheated by fraudulent companies in Dubai, promising them their dreams. “I came here with great ambitions which got shattered, when the company who offered me the post of a chef, took away my passport and all my savings. They had assured me that I can someday start my own cafe. Soon, I realised it was a trap, and I was spending my days in a garden, with blooming flowers, but darkness surrounding me. Mahadevan sir gave us shelter to sleep in, which became home,” confesses Raju.

The initiator of Ameeraga Nanban, Mahadevan, has stayed true to his name, and believes in the philosophies of the great Ramalinga Adigalar, describing, “I live by the lines of Vallalar, which states ‘Vaadiya payirai kanda pothellam vaadinen.’ I want to tend to the wilting crops that need my care, and I want to plant seeds like me, who will grow to be responsible minds in the time to come.”


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