Cover Story: DCF’s St. Thomas marathon for Cerebral Palsy and Learning disorder kids

St.Thomas Marathon

St.Thomas Marathon

Devasitham Charitable Foundation (DCF) is a mission with a great social vision and noble cause registered as a PUBLIC CHARITABLE AND SOCIAL WELFARE TRUST with the Government of Tamilnadu, India (REGN NO: 1131/09). The main objective of the trust is to create a sustainable development to the underprivileged, needy and poor by upholding the heritage of learning and providing facilities to enrich their knowledge and to make substantial changes in young adults, youths and children. DCF is an organization with a motto of “GIVING WINGS TO THE DREAMS” and this is envisaged to impart the value system of Love, Hope and Sacrifice. The organization aims at imparting value added education like Spoken English, Computer skills, Social awareness programs, Career counseling…etc,through his brand initiative called “5EDUHEIGHTS” to the underprivileged and poor students at free of cost. DCF adopts 2 villages for development and implementation of these projects. DCF’S 2020 vision is to build a home and learning centre for cerebral palsy and special children with learning disabilities. The organization is based out of Chennai and works on various parts of Tamilnadu and Orissa. The steering force of DCF is the selfless leadership and their commitment.

As a fisrt step towards DCF’s 2020 vision DCF has conducted   St. THOMAS MARATHON on 3rd May, 2014 at 6 A.M for the good cause to help the CEREBRAL PALSY and LEARNING DISORDER KIDS. Motto of this Marathon is RISE RUN REACH.  This Marathon is an endurance foot race which covers approximately six kilometers. This is also named as MINI MARATHON.


Mr. Alfred Benjamin who is the head of this charity and his team had taken many efforts which resulted in World Wide legacy. The annual ST.THOMAS MARATHON for Cerebral Palsy and Learning disorder kids, first held on May 3rd in CHENNAI 2014, has grown to involve many participants from many places, universities and corporate. Cerebral Palsy describes a range of disabilities associated with posture and moment. A Child with cerebral palsy may achieve greater control over movement as they learn and practice motor skill. CEREBRAL refers to the BRAIN and PALSY means WEAKNESS.  ONE in out of  SEVENTY  EIGHT CHILDREN are born with CEREBRAL PALSY. At present, there is a general lack of awareness about Cerebral Palsy and Specific learning disability (SPLD) in India. Even in the mega cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, New Delhi, and Kolkata, there are very few clinics for doing the psycho educational testing for diagnosing SPLD; and there is a dearth of remedial teachers. In smaller towns and rural areas such clinics are non-existent. Only in 1999 the national Educational Boards which conduct the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education and the Central Board of Secondary Education examinations have also formally granted children with SpLD the benefit of availing the necessary benefits. At present many children with SpLD studying in non-English (vernacular) medium schools, and especially in rural areas, are going undetected for non-availability of standardized psychological and educational tests. This lacunae needs to be corrected which will command lot of efforts. If this is the case for general public  then the situation is even worse for the deserted and orphan children. Therefore, the problems faced by children with SpLD in our country can and have to be addressed on a war footing basis. We owe it to them, because education is one of the most important aspects of human resource development. There are only countable homes available for cerebral palsy and learning disorder kids without the therapies.


Mother Teresa devoted her whole life to the service of mankind. Like that he started his foundation and made himself dedicated to help the poor and needy. Charity grew to help the poor, dying, orphans, school children in over many cities. His selfless effort to help those in need has caused many to re gard himself as a model humanitarian. His task was overwhelming. He started out as just one man, with no money and no supplies trying to help the millions of poor, starving hat lived on the streets of Chennai. Despite others misgivings,

Mr. Alfred was confident that god would provide. He started it with what he knew. “EVERY  JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES BEGIN WITH A SINGLE  STEP”. He had vision to conduct a marathon. But nothing was positive towards his side.  Suddenly  after  a night , God showered the mercy and grace upon his people and all the authority of police department  sanctioned permission in one day. And with lot of sufferings and happy moments, marathon registration  took  place. ”THE WILL TO CONQUER IS THE FIRST

CONDITION OF VICTORY”.  Two days before the event, there was a twin bomb blast at the centre of the city, so the day before the marathon night it was a very gloomy and unfavorable situation due to security reasons.



But he did not lose faith at the mid night, there were serious discussion among the people whether it would happen or not. But suddenly, there was a ring that marathon could  be conducted tomorrow. Finally day came, there was many police with full of security more than needed. Before starting it, suddenly there started raining drop by drop. But it stopped immediately in few seconds. The nature made the dust to settle while running. Actually rain was the spark to this event.  Marathon started and people were running with joy and enthusiasm to reach the hill.

The cost benefits of these initiatives are huge and immeasurable besides addressing a major unaddressed problem in India.  As a first step towards 2020 vision DCF has initiated St. Thomas Marathon on May3rd. The campaign was carried out by unique programs like one to one campaign, videos, skits, speeches in many companies, malls, universities and public places. This initiative has brought a great support from the police and traffic police for DCF beside many NGOs joining hands on. Nearly 450+ youths participated in the run wearing the T-SHIRT printed as Rise, Run and Reach – I support cerebral palsy and learning disorder kids. The program has been broadcasted in national television channel namely Puthiyathalaimurai and Radio stations like Radio Mirchi and Hello FM. The youngsters ran with a heart and spirit to support the cause behind this event. It has brought laurels from different spheres of life to the entire crew for making youngsters to think and act positively towards a noble cause. Children as young as 5 years old to the elderly ones touching 60s participated in this marathon. Many special children especially children with Autism spectrum also ran in this marathon. The marathon started with a speech from Mr. Alfred Benjamin and flaged off by chief guests. The marathon kick started at 6.30am from kathipara junction.

Mr. S. Chandran, GM Airports Authority of India; Mr. L.K.M Shevam, VP Technik India Pvt Ltd; and Fr. Bhakia Regis, Rector St. Thomas Mount honoured the event as Chief guests. The greater part of this event is at the end there was a show from 3 special and unique children named KENDRIYA sang a French song, Clifford and SARAVANAN played keyboard which touched the hearts of  many people deeply and brought new hope. One of the children parent shared her experience and underlined the importance of the awareness and wider support for these children. The director of DCF shared the 2020 vision and then winners were awarded trophies. It was just by SMALL FAITH made a LARGE SUCCESS among  public and made it to be REAL and EVERLASTING. Finally a photo shoot was taken.  All things are possible for those who believe. The event has garnered huge support and the event would continue in the years to come to fulfill DCF vision 2020.

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