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Abhaya-a home for the homeless

Monday, Dec 21, 2015,14:04 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Thiruvavnanthapuram | It is not just one among the many ordinary care homes for the destitute. Here, inmates comprising rape survivors, domestic violence victims and drug addicts fight harrowing memories of their past, get educated and employed and go out with confidence.

As ‘Abhaya’, a path-breaking organisation born here under the aegis of eminent poet-activist Sugathakumari for the deprived in the 1980s, gets ready to celebrate its 30th anniversary next month, it can boast of bringing back cheers to the lives of hundreds of distressed, including the victims of many sensational sex scandals.

Despite funds crunch and lack of adequate amenities, Sugathakumari, founder secretary of Abhaya, says the sparkles of hope and confidence in the face of inmates is the real testimony for the success of institution.

The ‘Saraswathi Samman’ laureate poet also said she wished to launch rehabilitation centres of mentally-ill in all 14 districts of the state and a proposal in this regard had already been submitted to the state government.

Thirty years have passed now and we could give ‘abhayam’ (refuge) to hundreds of deprived, abandoned, neglected and outcastes in our institution during the period, she said.

Despite all the shortcomings, we could give support and confidence to a number people to fight their odds and come back to normal life, she said.

Born out of a deep concern for helpless mental patients of government hospitals in Kerala in 1985, ‘Abhaya’ was initially envisaged as a rehabilitation centre only for them.

It has now grown into a multi-unit institution comprising treatment and rehabilitation centres for mental patients, de-addiction centre, care home for deprived girl children, short-stay homes for women and so on.

A chance visit of ‘teacher’, how Sugathakumari is fondly called by close associates, at the government mental hospital here had led to the birth of ‘Abhaya’.

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