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Unsung, but a superhero to homeless kids

CHENNAI: When Iyyappan Subramaniyan established Sri Arunodayam Charitable Trust in 2002, the objective was once to offer refuge to abandoned children, and adults with finding out difficulties. Besides refuge, the consider now provides special training and vocational training to its 115 citizens. Subramaniyan is working against raising finances to construct a brand new house for its feminine citizens, who are currently staying in a rented facility.

"My elder brother, who had intellectual disabilities, passed away when he was 15. We were then living at a village in Tiruvarur. My family did not have the knowledge or resources to help him," says Subramaniyan, while explaining what made him establish the consider. "We started in 2002 with just a three-year-old boy."

Most of them had been children abandoned at hospitals or railway stations. "Some were also left in cradles as part of the cradle baby scheme," he says. Of the 115 citizens, 80 are men. "Though we cater primarily to children - our youngest resident is only six months old - we provide shelter to homeless adults with intellectual disabilities. Our oldest resident is now 35," he says, adding that the consider runs entirely on donations from people and state govt grants.

"In 2016, I was honoured with the Humanitarian Award by US-based World of Children. I have pledged the award money of $85,000 to construct a home for the girls," he says.

The new facility can be constructed next to the lads house, and will accommodate 100 women. "We plan to have dormitories, dining hall, special education classrooms, physiotherapy, medical care and vocational training facilities in the building," he says. "Though we are starting the construction on February 27, we need more funds to complete it. The total cost of construction is estimated to be 2.5cr."

Aarti Madhusudan, founder, Governance Counts, which is helping develop governance strategies for organisations, says that the consider has created a protected space for abandoned children. "It is unique as they now have better life with a safe and comfortable space to live," she says.

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