Forty-eight-year-old Aysha procures grass for the cattle in the neighbourhood for a living

She lives in utter poverty but looks after animals people in need of care
news Saturday, April 09, 2016 - 12:52

Aysha Raju lives in a shabby shed beneath the Kodimatha bridge in Kottayam district with her two daughters and grandchildren. But the family has several more members – a total of 12 dogs and cats which Aysha has rescued over the years.

Forty-eight-year-old Aysha procures grass for the cattle in the neighbourhood for a living. As she goes about her work, Aysha also looks after wounded or sick animals abandoned by their owners or those injured in accidents.

One of the dogs Aysha now has, is a Dachshund. “It was sick, so its owner was slowly poisoning it. Somehow I found out, and I asked him to give me the dog instead of killing it,” Aysha said.

Over the years, Aysha thinks she has saved over 50 dogs, and she’s become known for looking after animals in need of care. “People inform me if they see abandoned dogs. I had 50 dogs here last year, but I gave away most of them to different people,” she said. A veterinary doctor in nearby a hospital nearby not only treats the dogs she brings, but often helps her out financially in looking after them, Aysha says. 

Aysha’s compassion is not limited to just animals. Satheesh, one of her neighbours, recalls that she once looked after an accident victim for a month.  

“One day I remember a person lying in a pool of blood after being hit by a bus. Everyone was just staring at them. It was she who took him to hospital. To our surprise, she stayed with him for a month in the hospital since he had no one to look after him,” Satheesh says.

Athira, Aysha’s older daughter, is proud of her mother for looking after people without taking any money from them. “Amma has taken accident victims to hospitals without any hesitation. I have seen people taking photographs of victims lying in a pool of blood but Amma scolds them while rushing them to the hospital,” Athira says.

Although Aysha’s been looking after these animals or accident victims for years, her family has always been poor. Her husband Raju’s death six months ago was painful.

She feels that of all the lives she has saved, she could not save his. “He hanged himself from the tree in front of our house. He used to drink alcohol, but I don’t know why he killed himself,” she weeps.

After his death, she looked after their daughters, who live with them. Athira is unable to work as her own husband died a year ago in an accident and is raising their young children (a three-year-old and two-year-old) by herself. Anjana was deeply affected by the death of her father and has not left the house since.

The family lives in Purambokku (government land) land, and the worry that they may be asked to vacate the land is always hanging over their heads.

“We struggle for our daily food, moreover we feed these animals too. This house will collapse in a heavy rain and authorities have asked us to move out from the land too. We don’t even own a plot of land that we can move to. I don’t know where will I go with my girls and these kids. There are a lot of problems but I believe that we must do whatever is possible with our lives.”

Perhaps there is some hope yet. Recently, Asianet News donated Rs 40,000 to Aysha. They haven’t spent a rupee of that amount. They’re saving it for a new house, Athira says.


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