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“I live with twenty one children, and do not differentiate them from my own”, said Meenakshi as she supervised the cooking.

Some children were playing shuttle, and few were watching television. She said: “It is summer vacation, so all the children are at home. During the holidays, we permit them to play and engage in healthy activities of their interest. While all children go to school, eighteen year old Rajasekar undergoes training at ITI, Guindy.”

Meenakshi is the Managing Trustee of Ramamoorthy Education and Rehabilitation Trust. Her husband Ramamoorthy worked in Lucas TVS. When he was 39 years old, he suffered paralysis due to hemorrhage in the brain. This made him dependent for the rest of his life. At that point of time Meenakshi worked as a school teacher in KK Nagar. Their relatives did not extend emotional or financial support when they needed it very much. In 1999, Meenakshi and her husband decided to dedicate their lives for orphaned children and launched a trust.

Initially, with the support of NGOs in Chennai, care and support was offered for seven orphaned children. After Ramamoorthy expired in 2007, Meenakshi and her youngest daughter Kalpana continue to manage the home. Now, they provide care and support for eighteen children in the age range of 5 to 18 years. Of them, seven are girls.

Kalpana (25), a student of CSIM, is managing the trust activities. “CSIM widened my knowledge horizons. Vijayakumari of Sivasakthi Kakkum Karangal sponsored my education at CSIM and guided me in the path to gain knowledge in the social work field.

The Public Relations and Fund Raising techniques helped me to approached sponsors. The field visits, field work, and block internship provided me tremendous exposure. The experience that I gained when I worked with many child welfare organizations, helped me in managing the children in my home.”

“It is better to have a small group, and provide personalized attention in bringing up the children, than have large numbers. I do not turn down children coming to me seeking care and protection. We removed all the doors inside our home, as we do not want the children to feel restricted,” says Kalpana.

The orphanage functions at Kalpana’s residence, and is filled with love, care, and cheer. Daniel, a volunteer teaches the children during the evenings, and the children are allowed to watch television after studying. Senthil Kumar Manian from Aspire Software Systems has been a long term donor, and a pillar of strength for the organization.

“I am watching ‘Stuart little,’ said twelve year old Tamil Selvi, who was watching television. Children who come to the orphanage face a lot of anxiety, and take almost two years to settle down in the home. Some children need special care and affection. Once they complete their education, and are independent, they are permitted to move out of the home.

Meenakshi treats all the children like her own. “I have twenty one children now. We do not receive a fee concession in any of the schools, and we do not demand either. All the children like to study, although some need special attention,” said Meenakshi.

Besides orphans, even single parent children, and those whose parents are HIV infected are provided shelter in the home. Children are given nutritious food, and a full-time cook is employed by the trust. All children are encouraged to study and engage in extra-curricular activities.

“I have approached corporate houses for donation, and have succeeded in seeking the support of individual employees. Support from the organization itself is yet to happen. I am quite happy with the support that I receive from my family, friends, and neighbors. Volunteers are our immediate need. We need them to teach the children as well as play with them. The focal point in my life is this home and the children.” said Kalpana.

If you wish to know more about Ramamoorthy Education and Rehabilitation Trust, please contact Kalpana at 9841802852, or write to kalpanareart@gmail.com.

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