61-Year-Old Annie From Kerala Is A Mother To 50 Children, Providing Shelter At Santhawanam
- IWB Post
- May 17, 2018
There’s no selfless love like a mother’s and there’s no safe haven like a home. Annie Babu from Kerala is providing both to homeless children and distressed women. Her orphanage, stitched with love and care, is home to 50 of them who are now weaving a beautiful life at Annie’s Santhawanam Charitable Trust.
Annie, a 61-year-old from Kerala, spent her adulthood volunteering at Thanal, a charitable body for downtrodden and distraught women, where she eventually became the secretary of the organisation. However, with lack of funds, the organisation couldn’t function the way it wanted to and slowly had to refuse shelter to many who were in need. Annie was heartbroken when she found out about two women committing suicide, whom she had to refuse accomodation, due to mental stress.
Such incidents traumatised Annie so much that she decided to resign from the organisation and start her own social commitment in the way she wanted to. While she was already working on it, she met a three-year-old at the organisation during her one-month notice period who brought her plan of opening her own organisation into execution.
The three-year-old was a girl named Muthu (name changed) who was abandoned by her own family in a train, as they believed her to be a bad omen. Annie tried her level best to unite the child with her family, but they were extremely superstitious and refused to take her in. After all the efforts, Annie and her husband decided to adopt her, despite having two sons of their own.
Although Annie and her husband were initially granted Muthu’s custody, the law seemed to be against them as their combined age of 90 barred them from adopting a child. The court then ordered the duo to release the child to an orphanage within seven days. The difficult situation then became an opportunity in disguise for Annie to start her organisation – ‘Santhwanam’, situated in Perumbaikad, Kottayam, Kerala.
It was officially registered as an orphanage in 2007 with seven kids. With police and other authorities authenticating the organsiation, it soon became a stamped safe haven for abandoned or rescued children and distressed young women.
Today, Annie is a mother to over 50 children, of which 48 are school-going students. There are three young women studying for their graduate degree in Nursing, while another one is pursuing her post-graduate degree in Social Work.
Santhawanam is self-funded by Annie and her husband and sometimes receives aid in the form of money and provisions from people.
The young women who knock on the doors of the organisation seek emotional, mental, and physical help as they are almost on the brink of a nervous breakdown. To help them slowly come out of their trauma, Santhwanam provides psychological treatment, counselling, meditation, police intervention and free legal aid to these women as per the situation and later, opportunities that can help them attain self-reliance and financial independence through education, job oriented trainings and placements in vocational institutes.
Money and lack of other aid have not affected Annie’s intention of providing a home to the children and women. She is unwavering and determined to help them till she can.
For Annie, “Mother means love. Everybody has shortcomings, a mother is one who understands this and stands by her children through thick and thin. She gives them faith, hope and confidence to achieve in life.“
H/T: The Better India