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Mar 21, 2017

Sri Arunodayam completes 15 years of service

Sri Arunodayam
Sri Arunodayam's first home back in 2002

Our journey began in 2002

Back then, a young boy deeply concerned by the plight of abandoned mentally challenged children made a life-altering decision to dedicate his life to their cause. Instead of opting for a lucrative career, he decided to do his very best to protect them and eradicate the social stigma attached to them.

Iyyappan Subramanian founded Sri Arunodayam (a Registered Charitable Trust) in February 2002 and began his critical work with a single abandoned mentally challenged child on May 22, 2003. 

And that’s how the journey commenced, as he threw open his doors to all mentally challenged children abandoned by their families.

(Read the story here.)

Relentlessly pursuing a vision

Iyyappan’s journey is one of incredible courage, conviction, perseverance, and love. It inspires hope against all hope when examined against a backdrop of ignorance, social stigma, and indifference meted out to the mentally challenged in India around 15 years ago.

It must have certainly taken a lot of courage to leave his village and familiar surroundings and head for the city to pursue his cause. He completed his studies and with no support or financial aid from anyone, registered his Trust in 2002 with just Rs 1500/- in his pocket! There weren’t any known homes for the mentally challenged at that time, and opening one entailed a lot of legal ramifications.

But soon enough, abandoned children kept tricking in and Sri Arunodayam rescued over 320 children over the years, of which 78 were reunited with their families and 56 were transferred to other homes for specialized care.

It’s only in recent times that homes for the mentally challenged have opened up and Government grants are being extended for this work. But when Iyyappan started back then, this was not the case. It was an uphill climb with no rewards or recognitions in sight – undeniable proof of his steadfastness in what appeared to be a hopeless situation.

Serving with love

The condition of the children arriving at the home is always pitiful to see. Having endured rejection, abuse and unimaginable hardships, many of them have serious medical conditions that require immediate attention.

At Sri Arunodayam, they are fed, clothed, nurtured and comforted. Their rehabilitation process is a life-long one. You’ll get a quick round-up of how we nurture them into becoming as self-reliant as possible, at: http://sriarunodayam.org/what-we-do/ and https://sriarunodayam.org/development-programs/

Celebrating our 15th year!

We always have reasons to be thankful. It adds to the joyous mood at the home. We encourage the children to celebrate every good thing – whether it be a selfless gesture by a volunteer or a festival or a personal milestone. Having a lot more to be grateful for this year, we celebrated the 26th February with a variety entertainment program and a sporting event, to mark our epic journey. Mrs. Jayalakshmi (District Social Welfare Officer Chennai) and Mr. Santhosh Muruganantham (Founder, Kolapasi Restaurant) were our chief guests who gave away medals and prizes to the children, who participated with much excitement. Over 50 donors and well-wishers attended the function.

“Thank you dear friends for taking this memorable journey with us over the past 15 years. As we commence our 16th year, we look forward with hope to reach out to more children as you continue to partner with us - helping bring light into the lives of the destitute, and hope into the hearts of the hopeless. ”

One of the first children to enter the home
One of the first children to enter the home
Iyyappan with his children in the early years
Iyyappan with his children in the early years
Iyyappan being recognized at an event
Iyyappan being recognized at an event
Entertainment Program commemorating our 15th year
Entertainment Program commemorating our 15th year
Entertainment Program commemorating our 15th year
Entertainment Program commemorating our 15th year
Sports Event commemorating our 15th year
Sports Event commemorating our 15th year
Sports Event commemorating our 15th year
Sports Event commemorating our 15th year
Sports Event commemorating our 15th year
Sports Event commemorating our 15th year
The Team on the sports field
The Team on the sports field
Sri Arunodayam Today
Sri Arunodayam Today
Sri Arunodayam
Sri Arunodayam's Girls Home today
Feb 13, 2017

Special Advocacy Program on World Disability Day

Dear Friends of Sri Arunodayam!

I hope all is well with you. I am happy to share this report. We commemorated International Day of Persons with Disabilities through Special Advocacy Programs.

To show our solidarity with persons with disabilities, we conducted awareness and advocacy programs that touched on key disability issues, mainly to try and create a paradigm shift in existing mind-sets concerning disability.

1. Released a short film on the rights of the differently abled We aired a short film with a powerful message, through YouTube and Facebook channels which went viral with over 90,000 views on FB alone! The special child and the elderly man in the film very skillfully emote an important message worth repeating: “the intellectually disabled don't have a choice about their condition, but we have the choice to accept them unconditionally!”

2. Awareness Rally at Marina Beach (Chennai City) Around 50 of our special children, caregivers and staff conducted an awareness Rally by the Labor Statue on Marina Beach from 3.30 pm to 5.00 pm. They carried bi-lingual placards (in Tamil and English) with key messages on the subject of mental retardation. Mrs. Sudha Ramalingam, a prominent Social Activist & Senior Advocate was our Chief Guest, and Actor Shanthanu Bhagyaraj was our Guest of Honor for this event.

3. Sri Arunodayam’s Credentials

The only way to get society to assume its responsibility towards the intellectually disabled is to consistently engage them in causes that expose them to crucial learnings and thinking on the subject. Simple awareness programs conducted in schools and colleges can help educate and shape young minds on the do’s and don’ts, so that they and their future offspring are spared much anguish and pain.

As an authority on Mental Retardation and a certified Government partner in the rehabilitation of abandoned mentally challenged children in Chennai for over 15 years, Sri Arunodayam has accumulated extensive research and experience in this field. For a society to be educated and sufficiently transformed there is a critical need for sustained awareness and that’s why Sri Arunodayam is widening its “societal transformation” programs to include such events.

Thank you so much for being a part of this nobile cause! We will together make a difference in the lives of differently of abled. Best wishes to everyone of you.

Links:

Nov 18, 2016

Sri Arunodayam celebrates Children's Day!

Staff entertain the children1
Staff entertain the children1

Celebrating the joy of childhood!

“Children are like buds in a garden and should be carefully and lovingly nurtured, as they are the future of the nation and the citizens of tomorrow.” - Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s First Prime Minister

It’s a day we can never afford to forget at Sri Arunodayam – especially with 106 children in our midst!  We decided to make it a day of celebration and fun, learning and healing. How we managed all that, you might ask. Here’s how.

Variety Entertainment Program – Staff entertain the Children!

This being their (children’s) day, we decided that a twist in the program would be most appropriate. Instead of the children doing the entertaining, the staff entertained them this time around through a variety program of song, dance and drama that were wildly funny but also carried good moral lessons for the children to learn. United Way Chennai CEO Mrs. Shyamala Ashok was our Chief Guest. The morning passed with much laughing and noise, music and dance.

Special Lunch – for a special day!

The children and staff were served a sumptuous meal topped with desserts like bread halva and ice-cream!

A visit to Premapuri – ‘healing the generations’ program

By around 3.00 pm we all trooped off in a chartered bus to Premapuri, an ashram for the abandoned aged at Thirumullaivoyal. The children and the old folk shared tea and snacks together and got along fine. We figured this would be an ideal opportunity to begin connecting these generations and letting them heal, together. We are really happy that this first connect was a success and we will be making the visit to Premapuri or having the grandparents over as a regular part of our ‘healing the generations’ program.

A visit to the beach – What better way to have fun!
Then, we took the children out to the beach and they went simply wild with joy. And we let them! There’s really nothing like the sun, sand and the inviting cool of the water to make anyone’s day! They played volleyball, ate pizza, and generally chilled out by the beach. That’s how Children’s Day celebrations culminated at Sri Arunodayam, and no one could have been happier than these little ones!

 

Staff entertain the children2
Staff entertain the children2
Children spending time with the aged1
Children spending time with the aged1
Children spending time with the aged 2
Children spending time with the aged 2
At the beach1
At the beach1
At the beach2
At the beach2
 
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