Nurturing is an innate quality that quite a few of us are bestowed with. While most of us limit ourselves to nurturing our own children, and at times some folks in our extended network, today I want to introduce you to a unique social crusader – Janaki Mohan – who took her innate nurturing urge to help the society around her.
A highly energetic person, Janaki, an engineer from Anna University, moved to the USA in the early 90s. And while she did build a great career for herself in IT industry, she also honed her urge to help the society around by volunteering in various activities like Meals on Wheels, Vision Aid, Blind School etc.
Not only is she highly socially sensitive, she also is an excellent cook. As a natural progression, she decided to put her culinary skills to good use along with her husband Mohan. And together they are now renowned for their exemplary and efficient culinary skills. A few of us who know Janaki well can vouch for the fact that cooking for a group of 50-75 people single handedly is not a daunting task for her!
While she initially started with supplying prasad at the local temples at Boston, they soon decided to take their passionate interest for cooking/feeding into a structured format. They set up an organization Sai Ruchira that undertakes large cooking orders. And the proceeds from this group is channelized into her other group in Chennai, India – Atmaneyam Charitable Trust.
At Atmaneyam, she has taken up three projects at a local hamlet in Chennai, each of which are unique and address the problem at its roots.
The first challenge that she has sought out to handle is Tuberculosis (TB), the disease that is rampant in our country. For those of you, who know about TB, must be aware that the biggest worry of the medical practitioners in our country is resistance to the drugs by these TB cells. While the medical community is trying to find a solution for that problem, Janaki decided to address it in her own way, at the basic level of nutrition. With the help of the local government body, she has enrolled 30 TB patients and distributes a weekly supplement of rice, chickpeas etc. These are basic nutrients that improve the overall health of the patient. She also goes a step further, and tracks, monitors, manages their health as well as counsels them to ensure they take care of themselves.
The other issue that she has taken up is empowering the women of that local hamlet by enabling them with a skill that should lead them to taking a job and becoming financially independent. At Atmaneyam, she began with putting up tailoring machines, reached out to women in the area and began the first batch of tailoring classes with 36 women. Recently, all of these women have completed the course and have a job at Ambattur Clothing Ltd – a garment company.
They usually say that a single educated and empowered woman can change a society. And here at Atmaneyam, Janaki intends to empower quite a few on a regular basis. Only proving the statement – nurturing has the ability to transform lives.
The third challenge that she is addressing is to enable additional coaching for the students in the community, something that they are not able to afford on their own. These students are not only provided educational supplies like bags, pens etc. but are actually given tuitions during after school hours to get their basic foundation right and ensuring that they come out with flying colors.
This will help the students writing board exams get a better pedestal to step on to the world.
Atmaneyam is moving ahead and starting new initiatives in the area of ‘Deaf & Blind’ and ‘Meals on Wheels for the Elderly’. Again, they will have their own unique formats that would make a difference in the truest of sense.
If you are interested in supporting these initiatives do reach out to them at http://www.atmaneyam.org/contact.html