A business man with a difference. Defying the very concept of commerce, Kurian John Melamparambil (Padma Shri awardee) lives with a vision of offering comfort and service to the many suffering.
He procured his education from MGM School and Pre-Degree from Marthoma College, Thiruvalla and later his Graduation majoring in Economics from Mar Ivanios College, Trivandrum. He did his Masters from The Indore School of Social work, Indore.
The real reason behind Kurian John adorning the robe of an entrepreneur was to find a capital investment for humanitarian activities. Kurian is not a typical business man whose philanthropic interests were ignited when his business flourished. On the contrary, he started the business to find enough capital to start his humanitarian activities. With the demise of his father, Kurian John took upon himself the onus of providing respite to those financially deprived patients.
On September 10th, 1986 he formed the MVJM Charitable Society and took a leap into this noble service. When he found that the salary he was making while working for a prominent newspaper was insufficient for his humanitarian service, he was impelled to give that job up and start his own business. That was the birth of what we know today as the Melam Group, the name synonym with tantalizing spices, masalas and pickles.
For the last 3 decades, he has been setting aside the profit that he makes out of this mega brand 'Melam' for the suffering and the hungry. Melam Foundation has been independent of external funds and has been running and expanding with self-generated funds.
His father who was an embodiment of ideals and strong principles is his role model. The untimely passing away of his father and the inconsolable sorrow that he felt, motivated him to dedicate his life into humanitarian service. Despite being financially secure, he could not save his father because timely medical assistance could not be provided. This left an indelible mark on his heart. For the appeasement of his father's soul and in his memory, Kurian John decided to open his heart and hands generously to help those in need. He was determined to keep it both selfless and sincere.
Kurian John had often witnessed the agony and heartache of family members who had to watch helplessly as their loved ones move on because they could not afford treatment. The aim of the Melam Foundation is to provide generous help to those seeking medical aid. Irrespective of caste or religion, Kurian John helps those who approach him. In some special cases, during the treatment period, he even provides meals and clothes to the caretakers and financial assistance for housing and the education of their children.
He believes and has coined the theory, "Social Responsibility is Humanitarianism, not Charity, but Social and Moral Obligation of each and every individual and Institution." He explains that the resources and talents one has is a gift from nature which comes with a responsibility to be wisely used and shared with the less-fortunate. He gives primary importance to the health of a person. If an individual is healthy both physically and mentally, he can work towards making a livelihood/ become self-dependent.
As he puts behind him six decades of life on Earth this is his mantra:
"Engaging in continuous selfless good deeds shall in due course, bring peace of mind and serenity to oneself which enables in developing creative thinking to boost one's productivity to the maximum, resulting in one's success in both spiritual and material realms".
The Melam Group has grown internationally into a great enterprise. The bigger the business grew, the greater the expansion of Kurian's charitable services and meal services. Realizing the need for more dedication and time for Melam Foundation and its activities, he has handed over the Melam Group to another business house.
Every second Saturday of the month has been set aside for meeting people and listening to them. This helps him to wisely choose the deserving patients. Money alone isn't the answer to people's pain. Words of comfort and messages of hope are also part of the healing mission rendered by Kurian John and family. Kurian John makes it a point to meet every patient personally.
The unique activities of Melam Foundation have been recognized by the Government of India by honouring him with the fourth highest civilian award- Padma Shri. Melam Group of companies have been the recipient of the award from the Indian Government four years in a row (1994-1997) for being the largest exporting brand in the country. In 1997, Kurian John also had the honor of receiving the award for the National Award for the 'Outstanding Entrepreneur' bestowed on him by the Ministry of Commerce & Industries from the Vice President of India.
As he completes 3 decades of humanitarian service, he has stepped up his mission with the slogan 'The nation's health, our responsibility".
The success of Kurian John's life is also because of his wife Sujatha, the daughter of Mr. J C Baven. The couple works single-mindedly for this noble service. They have two daughters Divya and Dhanya who are also involved in this philanthropic work. Divya is married to Ratheeesh Mathew who is the Director at Uniliver Ltd, Dubai. They are blessed with two children — Drishya and Aadarsh. His second daughter Dhanya is a Research Scholar at Amity International Business School and is married to Adv. Varghese Cheeran Mathews who practices Intellectual Property Law with Intel Advocare. They are blessed with a son- Jonathan.