Selvarani Rajaratnam is an ex-lawyer who is now helping differently-abled children and helping them have a different and meaningful life. To do this, she started a school for intellectually disabled children in Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu.
We the people at Mad4India were so happy and felt motivated when we came across this beautiful, heartwarming story.
Selvarani Rajaratnam – Founder’s Background
Selliah, a good Samaritan founded a non-profit organization (NGO) in the ancient temple town of Tiruchirapalli, also known as Trichy in Tamil Nadu in 1993. The NGO worked for improving the condition of the rural poor, women, children, and tribes in Trichy and drought-prone areas of Perambular.
His daughter is Selvarani Rajaratnam grew up and took up law as her profession. Eventually, she was married off to a cardio-thoracic surgeon named Dr. N Rajaratnam. After marriage, they stayed in Dubai for several years but Selavarani’s fate took a bad turn and she lost her father and her husband to ill-timed demises. After her husband passed away, she returned to India.
She continued with her practice of law for a few years in Coimbatore after her father’s and husband’s demise. But eventually, she had realized that it was time that she followed her heart and fulfilled her husband’s wish. After returning to India in 2006, Selvarani Rajaratnam took hold of the NGO and it was named Sri Selliah Memorial Trust (SSM Trust).
Sri Selliah Memorial Trust – The Beginning
In the year 2009, on her way to the nearby village to meet women, self-help groups, she came across an intellectually disabled girl. What caught her attention was that the girl was tied to a pillar in front of her house.
As said by Selvarani Rajaratnam, the little girl was standing with her skirt raised above her waist after toileting. She also said that the little girl’s mother was a daily wager and had gone for work to make ends meet and for this reason, she had to keep her tied out of helplessness.
As per the report, India has around 2.42 lakh disabled children in the 0-6 years age group and around 71% of them are in rural areas. After seeing the girl, she felt distressed and wanted to do something for her. So she set up her NGO in the same year and enrolled her in her NGO. After staying with them until the age of 20, she had returned home and passed away at 21.
Sri Selliah Memorial Trust – Pupose
Sri Selliah Memorial Trust’s major activities revolve around education, healthcare, women empowerment, tribal development, community development, disability, agriculture, etc. Selvarani runs a school along with two educators who have a specialization in Special Education.
Other people who work at the school are two trained teachers who work part-time and carry out the responsibility of an admin as well. Also, there is one physiotherapist, a coordinator, a program officer, a caretaker, two helpers who help the students with personal hygiene since they depend on others for it.
The two drivers in her team pick up children from 40 villages in Trichy and Perambular. Selvarani said that they had started with 5 children and at present, they have 31 children up to the age of 18. They focus on the all-round development of the children.
Starting from basic life skills such as bathing, wearing clothes, brushing their teeth, they are also taught several other vocational skills. Children belonging to the 5-18 years age group are taught how to make garlands and greeting cards. They also learn how to dance, play sports, and do yoga.
If you liked this story, please read the motivation story of Happieesouls who is helping grass-root level NGOs to receive donations in kind from individuals and corporates