Education  India Project #24545

Support Abandoned Mentally Challenged Children

by Sri Arunodayam Charitable Trust
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Support Abandoned Mentally Challenged Children
Support Abandoned Mentally Challenged Children
Support Abandoned Mentally Challenged Children

Dear Friends,

Greetings to you from the Special Children of Sri Arunodayam, 

We hope you and your family are doing well. We continue to wish and pray for your well- being and good health. All the children and the caregivers are doing well. I am very happy to share that we had celebrated teacher's day at Sri Arundayam. Special Educator's roles are vital in the process of rehabilitaion of children with special needs. Our great salute to our special educators and their dedications on this special occasions. 

At Sri Arunodayam, we leave no stone unturned to recognize and reward our staff, whoever care for the destitute, mentally challenged children, without room for complacency.

Our Teachers, unlike their counterparts in academia, have to impart special education to children who are gifted differently, unlike normal children.  We are proud to have such Teachers in our Home who endure, day in and day out, with ‘never ever give up’ attitude with a single- minded focus on the welfare of the said children.

It is our duty to encourage and reward their relentless contributions which is why we conduct ‘Annual Teachers Day Celebrations’. 

This year, Teachers Day Celebrations, was held at our Boys Home. The highlight this time was that our entire Team of Teachers participated whole-heartedly with enthusiasm and thoroughly enjoyed the event. Events included singing, dancing, speech contest, debate and so on.

The topic debated in the debate was ‘who play vital role in children’s growth – Teachers or Parents’. The Participants debated very well and their strong arguments made it difficult for the judges to deliver the verdict. The verdict was in favour of both Parents and Teachers who are like two sides of a coin, both indispensable.

Gifts were distributed to the winners and snacks to all the participants and audience.

We are confident that the next such Occasion will be even a grander event!!

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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. 

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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
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Marie Mills ministering to the boys at our home
Marie Mills ministering to the boys at our home

In a story that rocked the neighborhood, three brothers became orphans a few days ago when their parents committed suicide. The boys - approximately between 18 to 22 years of age (and whose names have been withheld from this report) had been living with their parents in a village called Moongildurai in Villupuram District in Tamil Nadu, India.

In deep despair, their parents committed suicide by hanging on May 2nd but the father was rescued and admitted to a hospital for treatment. However, on his release on the 3rd, and still suffering from depression, he made a second attempt which proved fatal.

The media brought the story to light and the Chief Justice of Chennai immediately took up the matter. The court ordered District Administration to find a suitable Government recognized institution that the boys could call, home.

And so it was that the boys became a part of our home, on the 4th morning at 1.00 am.

Nothing much is known about their parents or about their normal elder brother who is married with a family of his own. But what we do know is that there are thousands of parents out there, just like this couple, suffering in silence. Society can ill afford to remain indifferent or ignorant. While we may not all be medical experts, we can certainly help connect such families with the right organizations and bring them hope and comfort. It’s worth remembering that “disability is not an illness; ignorance is”.

Wilson’s Disease

In addition to intellectual disability, the boys are living with Wilson’s disease – also known as hepatolenticular degeneration and progressive lenticular degeneration – a rare genetic disorder that causes copper poisoning in the body. It affects about 1 in 30,000 people worldwide.

In a healthy body, the liver filters out excess copper and releases it through urine. With Wilson’s disease, the liver cannot remove the extra copper properly. This then builds up in organs such as the brain, liver, and eyes. Early diagnosis is crucial for stopping the progression of this disease. Treatment may involve taking medication or getting a liver transplant. Delaying or not receiving treatment can cause liver failure, brain damage, or other life-threatening conditions.(Source:

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Sri Arunodayam's first home back in 2002
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: and

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's Girls Home today
Sri Arunodayam's Girls Home today
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Organization Information

Sri Arunodayam Charitable Trust

Location: Chennai, Tamil Nadu - India
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @sri_arunodayam
Sri Arunodayam Charitable Trust
Iyyappan Subramanian
Project Leader:
Iyyappan Subramanian
Founder Managing Trustee
Chennai, Tamil Nadu India

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