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Aug 7, 2017

Story that gives us hope for a better future!

Dear friend,

Greetings to you from Sri Arunodayam!

I hope everything is well with you and your family. Our best wishes to you for the same.

I would like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to you for your continuous support to Sri Arunodayam. Your support has been making a huge impact in the lives of children with intellectual disabilities at Sri Arunodayam.

We are happy to get back in touch with you through GlobalGiving’s Youth Week campaign from 7th August 2017 to 12th August 2017. Culminating on the International Youth Day, this campaign has given us one more opportunity to reprioritise needs of children and youth.

Children and youth around the world are subjected to experiences of poverty, deprivation, displacement, abandonment, abuse, terminal diseases and many other challenges, incomprehensible for their age. The plight of abandoned children and youth is much worse as they do not have a voice or agency of their own. Unable to access/afford their basic entitlements, their struggle for survival lets them into hazardous lives, preventing them from living their childhood and transiting into adulthood with all opportunities. Further disturbing is the survival of abandoned children and youth, who are differently abled.

At Sri Arunodayam, we have consistently endeavoured to rewrite the lives of abandoned children and youth, with intellectual disabilities. Not being understood and often being labelled as ‘living in their imaginary world’, ignorance in the larger society has denied these children and youth their basic rights. They do not get an opportunity to understand or live childhood, which hampers their evolution into adults. Their learning and development also requires unlearning of habits introduced out of convenience for care takers. It continues to challenge their ability to function as independent individuals, capable of taking care of self and being productive. Resources, professional help as long as it is required and opportunities to realise their abilities is inevitable for their development. Your contributions and matching grants from GlobalGiving have helped us come very far with this vision.

Story that gives us hope for a better future!

Arul is a 14-year-old, spastic cerebral palsy child living in Sri Arunodayam since 2006. Arul was found abandoned at a crowded bus station in the city of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. He was only 3 years old then, who was left unattended with a bag beside him, containing his clothes. Completely unaware of who or where he was, Arul was just lying there. Sri Arunodayam rescued him from the bus station and diagnosed him with cerebral palsy and severe intellectual disability. He was completely bed ridden, incoherent and unable to use both his hands. Training to cohabit with other inmates helped him socialize and make friends. He grew comfortable with the surroundings at Sri Arunodayam in the company of kids like him. With social skills and personal habits coming in order, physiotherapy was gradually introduced.

With every child, it is a new story to be written by the child himself/herself and his/her care takers. Arul’s story too, like others’, had initial challenges. Helping the children open themselves to treatment is the challenging step in the rehabilitation of inmates. Once a trust threshold is established, specifically with the physiotherapist, it becomes easier to take them through the desired treatments.

Arul was very hesitant to treatment in the initial days. His spine showed mobile kyphoscoliosis posture. His lower limb presented with hip + knee flexor tightness and both leg club foot with tendon ancillary tightness. He also had an externally rotated hip joint leading to scissoring gait. Whining in pain, he found different excuses to stay away from treatment, especially the physiotherapy sessions. He began to over sleep or engage in study activities to avoid treatment. He was extremely scared of sitting with the therapists. After a few months, things began to change for the better. “On learning his interest in attending school, we motivated him by showing him the freedom which other children (who are mobile) enjoyed by going to park and school. This was used to stimulate positivity towards the sessions and soon after, he was very cooperative”, says Dr Kannan, Physiotherapist at Sri Arunodayam.

Now 14 years old, he is an active, oriented boy who obeys commands. He is able to move both his upper limbs actively, to full range of motion. There is still mild weakness on his right shoulder flexors and right-hand grip muscle. Significant reduction in flexor tightness of hip and knee joint was achieved through physiotherapy. With the help of knee extension splint, he is able to stand erect (though not fully) with very little hip flexion to 10 degrees, which was 40 degrees in the beginning of physiotherapy. Active knee extension improved from 90 degrees to 30 degrees. His shoulder flexor strength has also improved from muscle power 2+ to 3+. With knee extension splint, clubfoot correction foot and minimal passive hip satisfaction, he is able to walk with walker support.

“Not only mobility, Arul is now more confident in his tasks and feels encouraged to try new activities at the home. He is able to eat on his own and move around the home as required. Being able to move has brought in a sense of liberation in him, encouraging him to further cooperate for the treatment. I look forward to seeing him walk without a splint”, says Dr Kannan. With your support, we can help many more children like Arul and help them write their own stories.

We request you to spread this news with your friends and family. This is an exciting opportunity to double your happiness.

Here is a link to make your donation. 

Jul 3, 2017

A big milestone for us

Srimathy, Shantha, Shobia & Narmatha
Srimathy, Shantha, Shobia & Narmatha

Dear Friends of Sri Arunodayam!

Greetings to you from the speical children of Sri Arunodayam!

On behalf of the children, staff and the board of trustees of Sri Arunodayam, we sincerely thank you for the support rendered to our organization in all these years. 

Your kindness has helped us continue providing better care and quality of life for intellectually disabled children abandoned by their parents. 

In this report, we are extremely glad to share how your support has impacted the lives of our children.  


Shantha is an 11 year old little girl with mild intellectual disability. She also lives with hydrocephalus – a condition in which there is an accumulation of cerebro-spinal fluid within her brain, causing increased pressure inside her skull.

Unable to care for her on account of poverty, her parents surrendered her to an adoption agency. She could not be placed in adoption because she is intellectually disabled and was therefore sent to Sri Arunodayam.

We nurtured her and provided every possible support to help her overcome her limitations.

Shantha has learned many things at Sri Arunodayam, especially concepts relating to

  • Money
  • Time
  • Days of the Week
  • Addition and Subtraction, and
  • Writing and Scripting

She is also extremely passionate in fine arts such as drawing, painting and dancing. She shows keen interest in classical dance and is being trained by an eminent teacher.


Shantha was included in a psychological test where we found her to be fit for mainstream education. Going forward, she will be part of inclusive learning at her school. Shantha has been enrolled in the 3rd grade at a Government school.


Shobia is a 10 year old little girl who was abandoned on the streets near a temple. She was rescued by the Police and handed over to Sri Arunodayam because she is intellectually challenged.

Shobia has learned a couple of things, more specifically

  • Identification and recitation of numbers
  • Reading and writing skills


Shobia is a keen learner, storyteller, and a dancer. Her transformation over the months entitles her to mainstream education. Shobia has been enrolled in the 3rd grade at a Government school.


Srimathy is a 7 year old little girl who was abandoned in the delivery ward of the hospital in which she was born.  She has a twin brother, Sridhar. The hospital authorities were unable to locate their parents, and as both were intellectually challenged, they were sent to us. Srimathy was diagnosed with mild developmental delay and cerebral palsy.


Srimathy used to be a hyperactive child who cried incessantly. Individual attention and special education helped her evolve so beautifully that she spreads so much happiness and positivity among the other little girls at the home!


Narmatha is an 8 year old little girl. She was abandoned by a railway track in Madurai District. The Police found her and handed her over to ChildLine. She was later sent to an adoption agency but could not be placed for adoption as she is intellectually disabled. So, she was sent to us.

Narmatha has learned quite a lot at Sri Arunodayam, some of which includes

  • Number recitation
  • Writing skills
  • Poem recitation
  • Storytelling, and
  • Money and time concepts


Narmatha committed herself to learning the home’s complete postal address and displays pratical intelligence, which we believe will definitely lead to bigger changes. We are very happy with her progress.


Naresh is a 6 year old little boy. His parents surrendered him at the adoption agency in Vellore District because he is intellectually disabled. He came to us for care and rehabilitation and with special education, he  has become an idependent child today.


Naresh was included in a psychological test where we found him to be fit for mainstream education. Going forward, he will be part of inclusive learning at his school. Naresh has been enrolled in the 1st  grade at a Government school.


Anubam is an 8 year old little boy who was abandoned by his family. He was sent to an adoption agency, but being an intellectually disabled child, he was sent to us.

Anubam was placed in the early intervention program and was later provided with special education. 

Impact: Anubam was included in a psychological test where we found him to be fit for mainstream education. Going forward, he will be part of inclusive learning at his school. Anubam has been enrolled in the 1st  grade at a Government school.


Madavan is a 7 year old little boy living with mild intellectual disability. He was abandoned by his parents near a Police Station. Post the legal formalities, he was admitted to an adoption agency but could not be put up for adoption due to his disability. He was later sent to us for rehabilitiaon.

Madhavan was placed in the early intervention program and provided special education. 


Madavan was included in a psychological test where we found him to be fit for mainstream education. Going forward, he will be part of inclusive learning at his school. Madavan has been enrolled in the 1st  grade at a Government school.


Sridharis a 7 year old little boy who was abandoned in the delivery ward of the hospital in which he was born. He has a twin sister, Srimathy (whose story is given above). The hospital authorities were unable to locate their parents, and as both were intellectually disabled they were sent to Sri Arunodayam.

Sridhar was placed in the early intervention program and provided special education. 


Sridhar was included in a psychological test where we found him to be fit for mainstream education. Going forward, he will be part of inclusive learning at his school. Sridhar has been enrolled in the 1st  grade at a Government school.


Ankeeth is a 16 year old boy. He was abandoned by his parents when he was just 3, and being unable to express himself at that tender age, he was sent to us.

Ankeeth was given physiotherapy and special education regularly, which brought about a complete transformation in him.  Today, he helps around our office and can even operate the computer with ease!


Ankeeth is very intelligent, so we enrolled him in a one-year Diploma Course at the Vocational Rehabilitaion Centre (VRC) where he is learning computer hardware and operations. Ankeeth is highy independent and he travels to College on his own. He has learnt to use the public transportation system. 


Mukesh was found begging with his mother at a traffic signal, and was resuced by ChildLine. He is blind and his mother is mentally ill. Apparently, his mother was sent to a rehabilitation home but we could not locate her. Mukesh was sent to us. With special education, and orientation and mobility training, he shows tremendous improvement. We later realized that Mukesh has no disability other than being blind.  


We placed Mukesh in a special school for the blind and now he is in the 9th grade. He is highly independent and wants to become an Advocate. Mukesh is very passionate about music and is learning music at the school, which is also very famous for its orchestra of blind students. Mukesh scores high marks in the exams and appears to have a bright future ahead. He is also a mature and well behaved boy.

A Special Note of Thanks

It gives us immense pleasure to let you know that these children have commenced regular schooling. They are becoming part of mainstream society.

It is an overwhelming moment for us, watching them move into the next phase of life. To think about the changes that they will make as individuals gives us great joy and motivates us to work for more children who are neglected by society.

We are extremely proud to say that these children were part of our special education training and were uplifted by our core team of special educators with your support. 

Anubam, Naresh, Madavan & Sridhar
Anubam, Naresh, Madavan & Sridhar
May 24, 2017

It's only in the black of night you see the stars!

Stars of the Event - 15 incredible Special Moms
Stars of the Event - 15 incredible Special Moms

15 incredible mothers of ‘special’ children were honored with a cash prize of INR 15,000/- each and a Special Lifetime Pass to free services from Sri Arunodayam.This event commemorates our 15th year of service to abandoned intellectually disabled children.

Celebrating Mother’s Day - May 14, 2017 in a unique way, Sri Arunodayam honored 15 mothers of ‘special’ children for their incredible courage and for not taking the easy way out by abandoning their children. The mothers received a cash award and a special lifetime pass to free services from Sri Arunodayam, in a ceremony held at New Woodlands Hotel, Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore, Chennai.

The Director of Karur Vysya Bank - our Guest of Honor, and an eminent Gynaecologist and President of the Tamil Nadu Woman Doctors Association together with Sri Arunodayam’s benefactors gave away the award and a host of other prizes to the 15 finalists.

Before the event, the doctor conducted a closed-door workshop for the 15 special moms who were very happy for the opportunity to connect with such eminent faculty and freely discuss their personal health issues. More workshops and sessions on new caregiving techniques, mental health, stress control, special education, and other hot topics are being scheduled by Sri Arunodayam for the finalists, in the coming months.

The mothers, their special children and around 150 of their family members enjoyed a wonderful evening together with Sri Arunodayam staff and children, donors, benefactors and a large crowd of well-wishers. The program commenced with 5 ladies lighting the lamp – the doctor, the oldest Special Mom, our special girl child, our long-standing lady donor & well-wisher), and the lady Executive Producer of First Copy Productions, who helped choreograph the event).

Each mother’s story, captured on film and presented at the time of the awards, moved the audience to tears as everyone present witnessed the true essence of motherhood brought to life through hardship. The struggles and the achievements of both the mothers and their children clearly showed them to be people of incredible strength and positivity.

Some of the mothers spoke of how people encouraged them to kill off or abandon their special children – a dark and disturbing trend that came to light, especially in a society perceived to be educated, God-fearing, and culturally and morally sound.

During the event, Sri Arunodayam’s special children gave an exhilarating dance performance which left the audience awe-struck, and a well-known dance team performed on the most trending song of “Baahubali” to entertain the audience. An exciting entertainment program followed in which all the special children participated and danced with gusto – clearly enjoying themselves! Typical Chennai South Indian meals followed for dinner, which was a gastronomical delight and much appreciated by all. 

The Special Mom event will be an annual one as we quest applicants from across the country to pick the 15 most deserving mothers to honor for steadfast commitment to their ‘special’ children.

Sri Arunodayam received over 100 applications from mothers across South India and a group of eminent panelists screened every application carefully to arrive at the 15 finalists for 2017. More information on the Special Moms and their stories are available at:


Thilagavathy D, Mother of 2 special children, and one of the 15 Special Mom Finalists

"I never imagined that I would be recognized for my role as mother to a 'special' child.  Who would even think of doing this? I am humbled and so grateful that Sri Arunodayam helped me see my own worth. My family is deeply touched by the warmth, affection and honor we received. It's something I can’t describe. We were worried about the future of our special children but after this wonderful program, our fears have been laid to rest because we know that Sri Arunodayam will honor its word. I'm so happy to be part of the Sri Arunodayam family!"

Dr. Sumithra Shanmugham, President of the Tamil Nadu Woman Doctors Association; Recipient of the Best Woman Doctor, and Lifetime Achievement Awards from Dr. MGR Medical University, Chennai, India

"I thank the Sri Arunodayam team for giving me this rare opportunity of sharing my views with the Special Moms who are stressed and really need mental support. I am very pleased at the way this program is arranged with a view to enlighten them on the need to take care of their own health in order to support their special children. I wish that Sri Arunodayam organizes more such interactive sessions. I wish the team all success!"

Nanda Kumar Nagarajan, a software professional for over two decades, and one of Sri Arunodayam’s Trustees

"Brilliant! Kudos to the team that worked behind the scenes for months to mark a special day for the Special Moms and a special event for Sri Arunodayam! How I miss bringing every one of my friends and relatives to this wonderful event. Iyyappan, Jayachitra and the team continue to amaze me with their relentless pursuit of excellence in everything they do – and doing it all with a smile. I take a bow!"

Marie Mills, an Australian Senior Medical Professional in Disability & Rehabilitation

"No mother wants to relinquish the child she has given birth to. Poverty, lack of knowledge, guilt, judgements, discrimination - all impact on mothers to relinquish their differently-abled children. Disability remains a misunderstood issue.  By providing advocacy for mothers of special children, Sri Arunodayam has brought about a cultural alteration. In order to support a child living with a disability, society must first support the mother. The best carer for any child, irrespective of capacity is the mother. This is an astute long-ranging initiative from the Sri Arunodayam team. The organization serves in congruence with its core values - working towards the well-being of differently abled children. This Sri Arunodayam Charitable Trust (SACT) concept has the potential to influence thinking, nationally and internationally. Congratulations SACT!"

Niranjan Arcot, Creative Consultant & Documentary Film Producer

When a person's life gets entwined in an unresolvable situation, it takes a lifetime of coping - all by oneself. The mother of a special child gets little or no support; on the contrary she faces severe ostracism from friends and family. Somewhere deep inside her crippled spirit, she finds the courage and conviction to dedicate her entire life for the child. She becomes not just mother but God to the child. For without her, the child cannot survive.

"For almost two decades I have been associated with several organizations involved in caring for the intellectually disabled. My life has been immeasurably enriched simply by getting to know many such special mothers. Isolated and with no frame of reference, they must often go through moments of extreme doubt on whether they are doing the right thing. But for Special Moms at the awards evening, all their doubts would have been vanquished forever. Because, they themselves would never have realized the magnitude of the nobility they have achieved so silently and selflessly. I pray that this event becomes the frame of reference for all such mothers. An infinite pool of strength and support in their moment of need. I commit myself to this cause heart and soul.  Iyyappan.... such an honour to know you!"

[100% of this event was funded by a group of kind benefactors including corporate houses and individual donors. Sri Arunodayam is ever so grateful to GlobalGiving donors who specifically donated to this program. Thank you for helping us begin the cultural alteration that is so necessary in a country like ours.]

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