Kurian John Melamparambil was born on 14th May 1954 as the second son of Late M. V. John (Kunju Kunju) and Leelamma into the "Melamparambil", a traditional business family of Thiruvalla in Travancore region of Central Kerala, India.
His early childhood and schooling days, both primary and senior level, were at M.G.M. High School, Thiruvalla, where he spent time with the family members and imbibed great values from the family elders. After schooling, he joined for Pre-degree course in Mar Thoma College, Thiruvalla (1970- 72) and from Mar Ivanios College, Trivandrum, Kerala he completed his Graduation and obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree, majoring in Economics (1972-75). He then moved to the Indore School of Social Work, Indore, in Northern India and completed his Post Graduate Degree in Social Work in 1978. After his post graduation, he joined as the Head of Personnel & Administration division in the Cochin Unit of Malayala Manorama, the largest Malayalam daily.
His father, M.V. John's death due to a Cardiac Arrest made him stop, think and realize the value of life. As it was a Sunday, his family could not give his father the kind of treatment, which could have perhaps saved him. On May 28th 1978, in the prime of his youth, the sudden and shocking demise of his father shook his life. His father died soon after he had the attack. The dying man's last words were, "Oh God free me from this pain". These last words of his father made a lasting impression on his son, Kurian John Melamparambil.
The loss of a father, friend and guiding figure for him was the beginning of the thought process that led to his humanitarian activities. His helplessness in not being able to do anything that could stop his father's untimely death made him think of ways by which he could help in preventing others from suffering a similar fate or loss. This idea that was born in that tragic moment lingered in his thoughts and laid the foundation for the starting of a noble venture.
On 10th September 1986, Kurian John Melamparambil formally started the Melamparambil Varghese John Memorial Charities (M.V.J.M. Charities) named after his father, late Sri. M.V. John. The main objective of the Organization is to help and support poor and needy patients by providing medical treatment for their ailments. All patients who approached him were given treatment irrespective of caste, creed, religion or any kind of prejudice. He made it a point to ensure that whosoever approached him was given treatment, and eventually made self-dependent in their health to the maximum extent possible. Scholarships are given to deserving children of the patients, and also housing, clothing and food to their dependants during the period of treatment, if required. For the last 15 years, Kurian John has been providing free lunch for more than 300 in-patients at the Government Hospital, Thiruvalla daily. The food is prepared and distributed under the supervision of Indian Red Cross Society, Thiruvalla.With the interest earned from the corpus fund, and contribution from his salary, he expanded his activities without any publicity or fanfare.
As the activities of Melam Foundation progressed and grew rapidly, Kurian John Melamparambil felt the constraints of his own resources and realized the need for urgent funds. He strongly felt that these funds should be generated through some venture of his own. This intense feeling coupled with meticulous planning resulted in the establishment of a small-scale industry named M.V.J. Foods under the brand name MELAM - for a range of foods products in the year 1992, giving up his job at Malayala Manorama. He could be one of the few in the country who would have implemented the principle of "bootstrapping" in its full essence. He had limited amount of money as capital to invest.
The unique ideas in the business model framed by him ensured that the business ran profitably with full support of all its stakeholders. Thus, a major portion of its profit was shared with the less fortunate in the society.
As the business progressed, the income of Kurian John Melamparambil increased, which was channeled directly to the fund which resulted in the increased activities of Melam Foundation Today, Melam Charities has provided more than 154000 poor and needy patients through 1025 hospitals
The main purpose of creation of Melam business was to generate funds for the charities. Kurian John has managed to keep Melam Foundation independent of any external funds. Kurian John consider "Melam Business" as a rocket or launch vehicle for launching the satellite "Melam Foundation". He felt that Melam Foundation has reached its orbit safely and it was time for Melam business to be separated from Melam foundation, similar to the rocket separating from its satellite. After about 5 years of careful scrutiny, he struck a deal with a business house to hand over Melam business to focus more on humanitarian and social activities.
Kurian John Melamparambil quit a lucrative job and started his own business for the sole purpose of generating funds for charity. He may be the only unique philanthropist in the country who ventured in to the business scenario for generating funds for carrying out charitable activities. Initially, he started the noble act of helping the poor and needy patients in 1981 from his salary and family business. As the number of patients for treatment increased, he realized the need for having more funds of his own at his disposal and that made him start "Melam" range of food products in 1992.
Normally one does charitable activities of mass involvement from the contributions received from the public or so. Kurian John Melamparambil is an exception to this rule, in the sense that he has provided medical treatment to more than One Lakh Fifty four Thousand poor and needy patients from own generated funds.
All applicants for medical assistance from the Melam Foundation are personally met and interviewed before disbursement of any assistance. This is a monthly ritual on every Second Saturday of the month and is organized at Melam Junction, Thiruvalla and Melam Bhavan, Panampilly Nagar, Ernakulam. Over the years, the number of applicants has increased at a rapid pace and people arrive from all parts of the Kerala and its neighbourhood States. He may be the only humanitarian cum industrialist who sits along with his wife and two daughters to personally meet each and every patient/their relatives, however large the turnout is. He also provides food on those days to the patients and their relatives.
The approach and methodology followed by Kurian John Melamparambil and Melam Foundation is unique and rare as it involves the association of the elected People's Representatives - Councilors/Panchayath Members, Members of the State Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and the members of the Indian Parliament (MPs). The involvement of these functionaries has now become a movement by itself and is very much an integral function of the assistance disbursement. These functionaries are actively involved in the process of identification and selection of the recipients to whom the assistance is to be granted from within their respective constituencies. This involvement and support from democratically elected leaders gain more significance when one realizes that they are involved in a wholly private activity with no Governmental funds or involvement. 48 MP's (both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) from the State of Kerala , 138 MLA's out of 140 from the Kerala Legislative Assembly, and from the boarder district of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and around 18,000 Councilors / Panchayath members in Kerala have already participated in the selection process.
The continuous efforts and perseverance of Kurian John Melamparambil has resulted in establishing a network of more than 1025 renowned hospitals across the State for providing specialized treatment to the sponsored patients within a 30 days credit period for reimbursement from him. This widespread treatment facility enables the patients to get specialized treatments for their ailments at the hospital of their convenience. Extension of the credit facilities by hospitals throughout the state is a testimony to the wide acceptance of the integrity and trustworthiness of Kurian John.
Diagnosis of deserving patients is undertaken by dedicated doctors at the above mentioned hospitals. So far around 1500 doctors have participated in diagnosis and providing treatment to deserving and needy patients.
Kurian John Melamparambil besides being a humanitarian is an entrepreneur par excellence. He is the founder and chief promoter of "Melam group of Companies", "Melam Foundation", etc, and has been bestowed with numerous awards in recognition of his social work and excellence in the field of business.
The success of the commercial activities only goes towards the strengthening of his social commitments.
Kurian John is married to Sujatha, D/o Mr. J. C. Baven, Bavens, Kottayam and blessed with two daughters Divya & Dhanya. Divya is married to Ratheesh Mathew, Director, Unilever, Dubai, blessed with two children. Youngest daughter - Dhanya, is working at Symbiosis International University, New Delhi, as an Asst. Professor, married to Adv. Verghese Cheeran Mathews, Sr. Associate Sujatha Chaudhiri I.P Attorneys, New Delhi.