Caretakers are mostly salaried staff (some with kids) who have chosen to do this job and not migrate to the city to work as domestic help. Though the foundation does not have a school for want of funds, the caretakers children are learning in the classes being run in a room in the premises for the children with disabilities.
Started by Madhu Tugnait, Icha Foundation has been taking care of every need of abandoned children, especially those with disabilities. From healthcare to education and clean clothes, Icha fulfills all their needs. With volunteers, doctors and caretakers treating them like their own kids, these lesser privileged kids now have a reason to smile (or should we say, grin!). Take a peek at the amazing photos that capture the essence of the wonderful cause.
This is Icha Foundation. A young charitable trust Madhu Tugnait started less than four years ago with a lifetime commitment to raising abandoned children, particularly ones with disabilities from abjectly poor backgrounds. At the core of her calling lies the belief that every human born on this earth has the right to live in dignity besides being given an equal opportunity to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. A life can turn around with something as little as love, care and genuine affection.
It’s a tough project that runs mainly on her passion and compassion for the destitute. Tough because there is nothing normal or predictable with the kind of challenges these children present on a day-to-day basis. There are no benchmarks to refer to. Doctors are at least 50 km away and so are the supplies they need for sustenance.
Over four years, Tugnait has founded a beautiful ashram (orphanage) facing one of the largest fresh water lakes in Andhra Pradesh, mostly from her own life savings. 7 abandoned/rescued children with various disabilities such as mental retardation receive care, education and therapy at no cost to either them or the government. If she had the resources, she says she would handle more. “As many as there are to be found” she says emphatically. “But it’s hard to do it by oneself, without donors and volunteers,” she adds.
She has been blessed with supportive friends and family who have been instrumental in making this project possible right from the time she decided to build on what was dismissed by most as marsh land. Her circle of contacts have also helped her garner support from overseas in the form of donations that just about pay for the running expenses such as salaries for caretakers, therapists and food supplies for the 7 kids. As an extension, the foundation also takes care of 3 normal kids, those of the caretakers.
Take a peek at the photos below, and see for yourself what a little love, laughter and affection can do!
A donation of as little as Rs.500 ($8.25) a month pays for doctor’s visits or vitamins required for a child with disabilities. If you wish to help please do get in touch with Madhu herself.
You can find her contact details here or you can email her at – firstname.lastname@example.org
The recent natural disaster in the region, cyclone Hudhud, has wreaked havoc on the home, making it difficult to get supplies and maintain the regularity of life. It has also brought in its wake several repairs and extra work that are squeezing the already paper thin resources of the foundation. If you wish to contribute, do check out the details here.
About the Author and photographer: Shabnam Sirur is a graphic artist and advertising creative director with a passion for photography. She likes to tell a story with her pictures. She is intrigued by the ordinariness of life and enjoys documenting her life in the light and shadow of what surrounds her. Be it people, landscape, flowers, architecture or birds, the camera helps her see what she wouldn’t with her naked eye.