Meeting Kamruddin: A Doctor Gives Back to the Community
« Gaston Grandjean introduced my wife and I to a young Muslim who had been born and bred in his slum. Twenty-six-year-old Mohammed Kamruddin had devoted his life to relieving distress in his neighborhood. By day he worked as a nurse in a dispensary and, at night, he responded to the emergencies of the alleyways and compounds.
The young man spoke and wrote impeccable English, and displayed an inquiring mind and a degree of culture that was staggering for someone who had known no horizons but the open drains and the leprous facades of his neighborhood. Thanks to some medical books Gaston had obtained, Kamruddin had managed to qualify as a doctor in homeopathy.
His dream was to open up a dispensary in an even poorer slum in a farther Calcutta suburb. He was bursting with other projects. All of them were directed at the very roots of poverty and underdevelopment: Kamruddin wanted to start crèches, primary schools, vocational training centers, libraries, craft workshops. He wanted to organize a system for borrowing cooking utensils, crockery and tents for marriage celebrations, he wanted to sink wells and latrines, and fit drains. He wanted to build a whole village to take in families of Himalayan refugees living in squalid shanties, destroyed each summer by the monsoon.
One by one The City of Joy Aid helped that young Muslim doctor to fulfill all his dreams. He would build his village: fifty dwellings with water supply and toilets, and two large community halls for religious ceremonies, educational meetings, and an apprentice workshop for girls and abandoned or widowed wives.
He would even create a home for handicapped young people there. The village would add to the six hundred and fifty thousand other villages of India. Kamruddin baptized it "The Dominique & Dominique City of Joy Village." »