An emotional audience of 10,000 IRs and the rest of us watched, awestruck, as Narayanan Krishnan received this year’s V-RYTHM Award, which recognises humanitarians who epitomise charity, compassion and mercy. The award comes with a generous prize of USD25,000.

Narayanan Krishnan is the kindred spirit featured on CNN as one of their Heroes of 2010. Once a rising star chef, the 29-year old gave up his job in a 5-star hotel and the chance to work in Switzerland, all to care for the homeless and destitute in the southern Indian city of Madurai.

His mission began in 2002 at the young age of 20 when he witnessed an old homeless man eating his own human waste out of desperate hunger. Deeply moved, Mr Krishnan decided then that it was his destiny to serve the mentally ill destitutes in his hometown. In nine years, he and his team have served 1.2 million meals and continue to feed almost 400 people daily, come rain or shine. He also offers haircuts and a shave, hoping to provide those he serves the dignity they deserve.

Mr Krishnan recalled how his parents had thought that their son was mad and wanted to send him to a psychiatrist. But when one of the homeless touched his mother’s feet and said, ‘I can eat three meals a day because of your son’, his parents gladly gave their blessing.

V Founder and QI Group Executive Chairman Dato’ Vijay Eswaran was so touched and honoured to present the award that he bowed to touch Mr Krishnan‘s feet. Dato’ Vijay Eswaran went on to say that people like Narayanan Krishnan “renew faith in mankind”.

The humble award winner got on his knees and bowed facedown in gratitude to all present, when really, it should have been us bowing to him.

The Akshaya Trust
With his own savings, Mr Krishnan founded the non-profit Akshaya Trust to serve the people he helps. After he saw how the mentally-ill were harrassed on the streets, he decided to build a rehabilitation home.

“Once the project is done, Madurai will be free of mentally-ill destitutes and old people left uncared for on the roadside of the city!” Mr. Krishnan declared to a cheering audience.

V Managing Partner Dato’ Vijay Eswaran added, “We are going to help him accomplish his dream. One block costs USD65,000. The V-RYTHM award will give him USD25,000 immediately, and the remainder to make up one block will be met by RYTHM Foundation. And if he needs further assistance to finish the second block, we will still be here.”


How you can help
The Akshaya Trust relies solely on public donations with no government support. Narayanan Krishnan may be a hero, but heroes shouldn’t have to fight alone.

So if you would like to help, please visit the Akshaya Trust website and check out the section on how to donate.