Anbagam is a child shelter located about 20km from OFT (Ordnance Factory Trichy, Tamilnadu) in a village
called Thirunadungalam. The shelter is run by a retired teacher Mrs.
Prema. The shelter currently supports 27 children , ten of whom are
orphans. Others come from broken families or families that can no
longer support their child. The eldest of the kids is 15 years old and
the youngest is just over 3. Mrs. Prema supports these children
through her retirement income and from the donations from the people of
the neighborhood. Mrs. Prema has been running this home (I feel the
word shelter doesn't convey the love she puts in) alone for the past 9
The eldest kid, Amaravathi (who is in 10th std), helps Mrs. Prema with
the cooking and the other older kids (who are in 7th & 8th
standard) help in washing and cleaning the clothes of the younger
kids. All of them study in the government school. A local doctor
periodically visits to check them and provide them with medicines in
case any of the kids falls ill.
is the front room.
inside room. Those boxes you see were donated by BHEL employees; one
for every kid.
I came to know of Anbagam through some family friends who used sponsor
the meals at Anbagam once a year during their daughters birthday. Since
then, my parents have sponsored dinner several times during festivals
and other family occasions. However, I had never visited Anbagam
personally. During my past India trip (Nov 05), I got a chance to visit
Anbagam. It was, at the same time depressing and uplifting experience. It
was depressing to see the lack facilities at the home. It was raining
when I visited there. The floor was damp, and it was depressing to
think that the kids will have to sleep on the floor with just plastic
sheet to protect them from the cold, damp floor. One of the kids
running temperature. The thought that with Mrs. Prema they are having a
better life than with their parents is very sobering. However,
Prema was full of hope and praises for all her neighbors. She says
people from OFT and BHEL have really helped her in running this place.
They have constructed a new room for the kids to sleep. Although, by no
stretch of imagination can one call the people around here rich, it was
quite uplifting to see everyone contributing something to help
run the place. But, most of all, it Mrs. Prema's optimism, energy and
devotion that really impressed me. People like her are the true heroes
of our nation.
Prema and the kids standing in front of the newly constructed room.
Mrs.Prema manages with just around
Rs.4500/- per month (about $100) mostly from donations. They have ‘Kanji’ (rice gruel) for
their breakfast. Once
in a week they get to have ‘idli’. The government school provides
them with lunch (sathunavu) and Mrs.Prema prepares dinner for them.
Dinner consists of just rice and sambhar. She says these are only
things she could afford with the minimum of financial support they
get. Once in a week, they get to have egg from the school. Clearly, Rs. 4500 doesn't allow them the luxury of having nutrious food. It barely sufficies for basic sustenance.
My sister, I and some other KV friends have decided to support this
home. We plan to provide enough financial support so that the kids can have a more nutrious meal. We are also planning to start an education fund for the kids to support them through college or vocational training. We who were blessed with good parents, an education and
decent job have a responsibility to give back to others who might not
be as lucky. If you are native of trichy and are planning a visit home, please do plan a visit to Anbagam and if possible please do sponsor a meal for the kids when you are there.
If you want to make a donation to Anbagam, you can either contact me or you can mail a check (drawn on R.Prema) to
Anbagam social trust
Thirunedugulam Post Office,
(There is no door number for Anbagam in that Village.)
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