After I wrote about Pani uncle a couple of weeks ago, I had an urge to visit his home for the mentally challenged and I am glad I did.
‘Siva Sakthi Home’ as this temple is called, had its seed planted 27 years ago by Ms. Vijaykumari. Hailing from Kerala, she set up a home in a rented premises in Chennai for 4 mentally challenged children. A few years later, Mr Devarajan, an industrialist and chemical engineer from IIT Kharagpur, joined her to run the home and was closely followed by Pani uncle who retired as Executive Director, IDBI.
Both Devarajan and Pani uncle gave their lives and what they earned to this calling started by Ms Vijaykumari. They expanded their work from Chennai to Bangalore to Tiruvannamalai to Kanchipuram, taking care of more than 100 mentally challenged people, with some of them being cared for as long as 25 years.
It was in these surroundings I met Ms Manu from Tuticorin, who manages the Bangalore home for 25 mentally challenged people for the last 13 years! She’s 43 years young and lost her parents by age 10 and was brought up by her older sister. Working at a private concern, she felt a calling and saw an ad by Siva Sakthi Homes and joined them. With no educational background or experience but just the love to serve those in need, Manu fit in perfectly.
She cooks, cleans and manages all administrational work(including sponsors), by herself. When I asked about her work, she smilingly told me, “I have a 25 member team with me!” Yes, she was talking about all the people residing there. I found them doing their bit to keep this temple created by Vijaykumari/Devarajan/Pani going strong.
Inspiration is infectious.