DORA MARY SCARLETT
In the IInd World war, one young woman hailed from Liverpool,London joined as a nurse was rendering service with a smile. When the war came to a close, she came to Chennai, the capital of Tamilnadu and started a small clinic in the out skirts of Tambaram. After two years, she felt that to serve in the rural area rather than near the City Chennai .Her motto was to reach the unreached area and the poor people.
She travelled towards south of Chennai and came to Madurai district and located Aundipatti where there was no conveyance without any modern medical facilities.
She bought a piece of land and started a clinic and named as Sevanilayam (home for service) in 1963 having registered as a Sevanilayam society under the Tamilnadu Society act.
Travelling in a bullock cart, she met patients at their home and gave away treatment for the patients at free of cost.
An exemplary service she rendered to the Leprosy patients who came to her Clinic not only from villages in around Theni district but also from neighboring state Kerala and other districts. Initially she sought the financial help from her friends from abroad and then from one funding agency “The Village Service Trust -funding agency had been funding her until her death in 2001. She was able to coordinate with the Tamilnadu Government Social Welfare department projects .She had launched many more life –saving projects. Such as
- Prevention of patient to child Transmission of HIV/AIDS-Tansac.
- Community based TB/HIV-AIDS Control Programme.
- Emergency Accident Relief Centre (EARC) earlier than 108 Ambulance Service.
- Day Care Centre for Mentally Challenged Children.
- Networking with NGO’s and Gos.
- Women Empowerment Formed more than 300 Self-Help groups.
She also worked for the poor people’s Socio-Economic up liftment apart from health services. When she was seriously ill, the Society Members suggested moving her to her native place Liverpool, where she owned a house inherited from her father. But she refused to leave Sevanilayam. She told that Sevanilayam was her native place where she lived for 40 years and she wanted to die and buried here. She stayed at Sevanilayam for nearly 40 years and died at the age of 98 in the premises of her Sevanilayam Hospital. According to her wish she was decently buried here in the campus.
From her exemplary health service for more than 30 years in India,
Queen Elizabeth-II recognized her and gave away an award MBE( Member of British Empire).Her saying is ‘Small is always beautiful’ she never liked cheap popularity .Her social service was almost equalent to the service of “Teresa” ,But lack of Publicity , her name and fame was within the area.