Vanitha Rengaraj mother of ‘Sharanalayam’ which is a home to many orphaned, autistic and HIV positive children, has taken an oath to change their lives; a difference made by love, care and concern. Leaving behind her lectureship with local Arts and Science college in Pollachi as a Sr. Grade Lecturer in the Department of History, she dedicated herself to the children who fight among themselves to sit on her shoulder and lap, to be loved by her.
Back in 1998 while Vanitha was still a college professor, she had to pass seeing the pangs of a slum area between her house to the Arts college where she taught. As she could not withstand the pain of the young children and infants she decided to bring about a change in the lives of the children and women who led such a poor life in these slums. She witnessed personally how these children were unable to attend schools, they did not even have the opportunity to eat healthy food in time, nor did they have clothes to hide their nakedness, nor did the disabled children have anyone to love and care for them.
Starting the organisation with only seven kids in a rented house, Sharanalayam born in 2001 now is home to more than 200 children. Sharanalayam is a rooftop to sub organisations which includes Daya ( housing abandoned normal kids), Jeevan( HIV positive kids), Jyothi (abandoned mentally kids), Legal adoption centre and Sharanalayam ThirdEye ( learning centre for autistic children). Saranya Rengaraj, the American board certified assistant behaviour analyst of Sharanalaya, the daughter of the Vanitha Rengaraj, Chairman of Sharanalayam talking to SouthLive was the proud daughter of Vanitha Rengaraj.
Being the President of the Inner wheel club of Pollachi which is a wing of the Rotary Club during the year 1998-99 was indeed a blessing in disguise for the philanthropist.
The Lions club International was the first to help her build a home for these children at Kinathukadavu and by the end of 2002, she could house children in a 3000 sq ft building on the new campus. Slowly the infrastructure developed into a large area. that had lots of ground to play around, with even a dining space, a Yoga centre and a separate space for the mentally challenged and ill children too.
Being an organisation that houses many inmates, a lot of money is required to meet the daily needs of the children. Sharanalayam has been hit by the 8 November, demonetisation move of the Modi government, with public not having any money to donate to charity. The middle-class keep us going, confirmed Saranya Rengaraj to Southlive.
30 percent of the funds flow in from family business like, we have restaurants and real estates. The rest come in from the middle-class public during any celebration. We accept any grocery be it 5 kgs or 100kgs. We are somehow managing though we are hit y demonetisation because we are huge establishment and things have to keep going. We are looking for CSRs.Saraya Rengaraj to SouthLive
Proudly boasting to be the only legalized adoption centre in all the five districts of Tamil Nadu, the organisation boasts of the being the most transparent adoption agency, providing the children with the most suitable parents. This is the greatest joy in her life. She has been able to change the fate of a child and give them a loving family.
She also worked in the field of HIV/AIDS for 10 years and cared for more than 60 HIV infected children and thousands of adults who used to rush to the community care centre that she developed on the land allotted by the government. She brought the society together to join her in her endeavour to serve these people and built a center that could take care of more than 50 HIV infected adults.
In the 16 years of her motherhood for abandoned children, Vanitha has witnessed the marriage of more than 10 of her daughters. Many engineers, nurses, paramedical staff, teachers, trainers, industrial helpers etc., have been born from this organisation.
She is not just a mentor, but a real, compassionate mother to all the tiny tots. with her love she is moulding the children to be wonderful future global citizens. Vanitha Rengaraj is the embodiment of humanity.