Hope For Sahay
Organized by: Sruthi Pothireddy
EVENT DATE Dec 31, 2015
A year ago I met Mr. Ganesh Babu, the founder of Society for Awareness and Holistic Activities for Youth (SAHAY). Sahay's school, Hrudayalayam is a free school for mentally challenged children. He shared his truly heart-felt story of his personal life, what started him on this journey, his passion and his everyday struggle to keep the school running to solely help those in need. I thought to myslef, " How can someone be so selfless?" There was something so genuine about his intent and his dedication, that filled my eyes with tears. The personal sacrifices made and services carried upon by the entire staff of the Hrudayalayam school is very selfless and inspiring. As I heard more stories, it became apparent that there was widespread stigma and a severe shortage of state-sponsored community-based services in India. I also learned that the lack of support from the government and society often resulted in families abandoning people with intellectual disabilities and Mr.Babu's goal is to change this for the good.
Every day Mr.Babu and his staff help people of all ages who have multiple disabilities learn basic survival skills .Children often forget where they are, eat whatever they can find and defecate without their knowledge. Mr.Babu’s drive to help everyone in the school like his own family, found me wanting to do everything in my power to help him in his journey and mission. He shared a particular story about a 16-year old mentally challenged girl who was pregnant, but didn't know and realize that she was. Realizing the immense complexity of the situation, the staff had to make sure she wouldn't harm the baby and took care of everything for the mother. This included, bathing, feeding, sanitation, and cleaning. She recently delivered a baby girl that is well and healthy. I can’t even bare to imagine what her state would have been like if she was left on the streets.The dedicated support from the schhol is what made this a success story, helping the mother every step of the way.
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION:
Hrudayalayam provides basic rehabilitation services like early intervention, special education, boarding, lodging, medical aid and recreational facilities at a free cost. It takes in mentally challenged children who are orphans, semi orphans, HIV/AIDS affected and/or have multiple disabilities. Their primary focus is to serve mentally challenged children hailing from families living in poverty, who often are unable to provide financial, social, and medical support. One of their key goals is to make mentally challenged children live independently as much as possible at school, at home and in society.
Hrudayalayam also provides special education with the support of psychological services; therapeutic services like physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy to overcome other disabilities; and medical services to keep them healthy. Proper training and support can help these children significantly progress in their ability to lead a safe and independent life.
Access to mental health services is very poor in India, with only 43 state-run mental hospitals across the country, three psychiatrists and 0.47 psychologists per million people. With so little available, families living in poverty lean toward abandonment and that is the sad truth. I believe that with the right support system, we can save many children's lives. Sahay is trying to help the citizens of India learn more about mentally challenged individuals and build awareness as to how they can help lead a normal life as well. It is truly inspiring and heart-breaking to see how hard the individuals of this school are working to tackle such a mammoth task with no external funding.
With the organization taking in more children it has become extremely difficult to get basic funding to address immediate needs such as clothes, food, sanitation items, sheets, etc. I would like to help raise $7,500 to expand the school to accommodate many other little angels. I can only imagine how a little hand from all of us would help this school build better services, expand its reach, and bring awareness on a national scale. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took the time to read this. If you could please donate whatever your heart desires, it would mean the world. Thank you!!