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Friday, September 9, 2011

the mentally challenged (Special) Children and the Mentally strong Women - Sivasakthi Home at Porur, Chennai 116

We all owe a responsibility of doing something to the Society that we live in.  God has given us something – what we have today is not only due to our hard work alone but also due to inheritance, divine gift and more.  Those of us who have something more than the others have the responsibility of sharing at least something with those who are deprived. That is a Social responsibility. 

The basic tenets of Srinivas Young Mens Association (SYMA) are founded on the guiding principles of service to the Society without recompense.  We have been doing service to the Society in our own way – little but significant still.  Besides our various activities, SYMA has been celebrating the day of the Father of the Nation by organizing welfare activities like blood donation camp, health camps.  Though one gets buried in our own activities, there is need for remembering National days  and during the last committee meeting, visiting a orphanage and spending  sometime with the inmates was planned.

Siva Sakthi Homes was chosen to be the place of visit.  More than just contributing some money, we wanted to be with the inmates and spend some time with them.  As we traversed roads with heavy vehicular movements and branched off from the main road at Valasaravakkam PS, one never imagined much of a difference.  Suddenly  we were  on small roads with houses resembling more  a village, we reached this home with good looking façade.

We were welcomed with nice greetings and folded hands by Mr Devarajan, who is the Chief Patron.  He hails from Mumbai and after retiring from a big Industrial Co, has devoted himself towards social service.  Siva Sakthi Kakkum Karangal , home for mentally challenged children was started in 1994 with 7 children in a rented premise and moved to the present (owned) premise during 1998.  presently, there are 62 children, out of which 45 are mentally challenged

We had occasion to meet and speak to the suave  Ms. Vijayakumari CC, a lady probably in her mid thirties, but with wisdom and forethought that defies her age. She waxes eloquence and  quotes Ramalinga Adigalar with flair on rendering service .  She is a Montessory teacher and a diploma holder in Mental retardation from National Institute of Mental Health, Secunderabad.   She has been actively involved in this for more than 15 years; is a recipient of many awards like Tamilnadu Govt. Best Teacher Award, National Gnananda Manava Seva Award and many from accredited institutions.

Speaking to this lady was not only pleasant but informative and educative.  The spirit in her is a great source of inspiration worthy of emulation. She started off saying “mental retardation is not a disease but a congenital defect”  These children are the most unfortunate for they do not know themselves.  They require assistance to  brush teeth, bathe, clean, dress and eat.  Literally, they do not know to do anything on their own and would look for support for even their normal day to day activities.  She squirmingly says that it is not within oneself to prevent such births but to look after them with love and affection and care them with dignity is within everybody’s realm.

The home conceputalises Extended Family (Vasudeva Kudumbhakam)  – the inmates are not treated as patients or persons with disbility but as family members. They are taught to behave like siblings.  The vision is to have extended family – the golden joint families of yore.  What they are aiming at is - Emotional bonding.  She draws parallel to the concern the mother would exhibit for her child & says the motto is “Unconditional  love and affection like a mother” to all the inmates and within themselves.  Inside the home there are no servants ; all activities done only by the inmates. She is all praise for the Neighbourhood which is not only very  caring and says they are the security.

Her advice to the society on these challenged children is to accept them as they are and do all that is possible to extend their span of life with comfort.  The home endeaours to :
Improve their behaviour
Make them understand things better
Help them interact with the society.  

She adds that overwhelming public support has kept the home running and people who can spare a few hours as volunteers can make some difference.

SYMA volunteers reached the home at Alapakkam around 10 am in the morning.  We partook in the prayer, which is a daily affair for the inmates.  We  sponsored dinner for all the inmates. We distributed sweets and savouries to all the inmates.  We had bought 45 pillows for the inmates along with new pillow covers neatly stitched.  Famous Drama artiste and cine comedian – Mr S Ve Sekhar accompanied us and presented 65 shawls to the inmates.   The young Vadhyar Narayanan also provided good no. of towels to the inmates.  

Visit to the home and interaction with people like Vijayakumari will make us think of the society and will implant in us the sense of responsibility that “one should try and give back  atleast something back to the society from where one has got so many” “ One should readily share with those who have less and only be service to humanity one can reach near to God and can realise thyself.

With  Regards,
S. Sampathkumar

PS :  This visit by SYMA was on 2nd Oct 2005.  this was  circulated to our group of friends immediately and the Oct 05 issue of BLISS also featured this.  

Do visit them.  Their website is :
The contact details are :  Central Office:

Sivasakthi Home (Sivasakthi Kakkum Karangal)
Ponniyamman Koil Street
, Alapakkam, Porur
Chennai-600 116, Tamil Nadu State,INDIA 
Phone: 044-24769848 / 24769851 /  43513052


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