The Elders' Home
Vishranthi – a multifaceted facility for senior citizens, orphanage, primary and vocational training center for the rural poor – near Jadigenahalli, on Hoskote-Malur road in Bangalore, aims to be an alcove of peace where senior citizens can live in harmony without any worries.
Today senior citizens form 25% of the population in our country. With increasing life expectancy, this percentage is sure to increase and pose a challenge in the years to come. Unlike the practice in developed countries, our government does not have any social security schemes for the elders. Hence it is essential that our society launches many more projects like Vishranthi to safeguard the interests of our elders and to create an awareness among people that everyone of us can contribute to the betterment of the elders.
Respecting elders is not new to our culture, but unfortunately, our society has given this admirable value the go-by in the rat race. Our modern fast-paced lifestyle, while providing us with higher incomes and more material comforts, has taken a toll on our interpersonal relationships. In nuclear families, where both husband and wife work, they are both hard pressed for time and are in a constant manic rush. Priorities have shifted and values have changed, which is very unfortunate.
The Childrens' Home
More than 8 million children live in orphanages worldwide. But according to statistics, an estimated 90% of them are not true orphans. These children are sent to orphanages because a single parent is not adequately able to care for them, because of rampant poverty at home, or because they have a disability or special needs.
Many destitute parents, single or otherwise, and sometimes the local police and other individuals, come to leave these children with us at Vishranthi, as we are now a known entity in our area. It is truly heartbreaking to see the physical, emotional and mental condition that some of them are in.
At our Childrens' Home, we try our best to make sure that our children are given the care they deserve, with good food, education, clean surroundings, plenty of heathy fun, and most importantly, love and affection. In return, they give our elders the time of their lives, giving them the chance to be the grandparents they so want to be. They play with them, study with them, pray with them, and are coddled and fussed over, and also share abundantly in the elders' wisdom. It is a beautiful symbiotic relationship, that must be seen to be believed.
The sad state of affairs of senior citizens has much less to do with poverty and much more with safety. These are people who have worked hard in their prime, yet have no place to go to spend the twilight of their lives in safety and happiness. In this situation, a home away from home for seniors like Vishranthi becomes essential, with its sense of service with a smile for our senior citizens.
With this noble thought in mind, we three women -- Padma Srinivasan, Sarasa Vasudevan and Jayalakshmi Sreenivasan joined together and registered Vishranthi Trust in 2003.
The objective of Vishranthi is to serve, love and care for our elders, to give support to our orphans both physically and emotionally, to spread literacy among rural children, to impart non-agricultural-based skill-development programs like tailoring, baking and catering to the rural women so as to empower them, and also to enhance harmony in the village by teaching yoga and meditation.
The Adoption Centre
In the early morning hours outside a hospital in the village of Hosur in Karnataka, a newborn baby girl - still with her umbilical cord attached - was found abandoned and in critical health. Underweight and wet after hours of intermittent rainfall throughout the night, the baby's condition deteriorated.
Picked up by police officers on their rounds, the infant was rushed by hospital staff to a neonatal intensive care unit and then taken to another hospital for better medical treatment.
The child is only one of several hundred baby girls abandoned each year in the Indian state. Poverty, along with the cultural tendency to favour boys, has pushed parents to abandon infants in dumps, hedges, bushes, bus stands, railway tracks, and water bodies - exposing them to fatal risks. If they survive and are not brought to the notice of the police authorities, they could end up in the network of the illicit trade of child trafficking.
The main aim of our adoption centre is to save the newborn babies who are dumped in dustbins and bushes right after birth. We take in all abandoned babies born in any hospital in Bangalore city and the surrounding taluks and villages. Once we are informed by the local police or the hospital staff that a child has been abandoned, we make sure the infants are taken immediately taken to a neonatal intensive care unit and given a medical check-up. Once cleared of any illnesses, the child is then relocated to our adoption centre where a dedicated nurse is given the care of each child.
We take every care to ensure that the infants we are given the responsibility and the privilege of raising grow up healthy and happy, mentally, physically and emotionally. They are a soothing balm that fills the void in the elders' hearts, as they wait to be adopted by a new family.
The newborn baby gets a chance to live, and a childless couple gets a reason to live. We feel blessed to facilitate that sublime connection.