Vidya Shankar’s has managed to break the mould and take ‘the road less travelled’. Starting off as a hard core techie, she decided to focus on the most important need of children—education. She has also had unique experiences as an adoptive parent and has initiated interactions with other parents who have welcomed a child into their lives by choice and formed an association.
Vidya’s dreams have always been big but she works hard at giving a concrete reality to her dreams. She says, “ I have found an amazing capability in women to mother anything and everything in this world, both animate and inanimate. That was the instinctive reaction, a song that a woman’s heart strummed. Alas, it has been frittered away in modern times, and consciousness numbed by materialism has completely taken over”.
However, hope springs eternal in her. She has initiated efforts to get help and support from the community and funding agencies to augment the role of Government Balwadis and Government Schools. She is helping motivate children to complete their education. “The need of the day is teachers and home educators. So we are considering offering through our Shriram Community college, the IGNOU course – Associate Degree in Parenting and Child care`in our Thiruvanmiyur campus for theory, and teaching practice at Thiruneermalai. This would cover care and education of children from 0 to 14 years.
Dr Uma, trustee of SUYAM Charitable Trust is passionate about her work, a childhood vocation as it were, with the old, disabled, destitute, handicapped and poor people who are the inmates of various homes in Tamil Nadu. Another lady who believes that education is the answer to tackling and even solving many societal problems she organizes tuition centres for needy students and camps and training programs to develop creativity, personality and scientific outlook among students. “A social conscience can be developed in our youth.
Strangely enough, Uma has a Phd in Wasteland development and management. She says, “I feel that women have a lot of power and love. This should be shared with the entire world”. Her school rehabilitates sreet children and those who are forced to beg. “I run an ICSC school and have developed my own curriculum for first generation learners. I believe in encouraging them to think for themselves and to give a proper channel for their creativity to flourish”.
Deepa Muthiah looks death in the face every day. She has completely dedicated her life through her DEAN Foundation to provide dignity and relief to the ailing and the needy. In fact she has been one of the pioneers in Chennai to provide Palliative care and an improved quality of life to the terminally ill. “We do not have a hospice to admit patients” says Deepa. “Our aim is to ease suffering and offer a better quality of life to all our patients. We address social, spiritual, physical and psychological issues that the patient may have. We strive to improve the end-of-life quality”. They also help the family to cope with the trauma of loss and grief during the illness and after the death of the loved one.
Deepa’s dream is to open a Hospice to admit patients who have no place to go and who need care and nursing. The Foundation is celebrating its tenth anniversary this month.