A Brief History of the founder.
Annie D’souza (jenny)
Born as the youngest of three children in typical middle class family in Dehra Dun. Jenny spent most of her childhood at Cheshire home (A residential Centre for physically and mentally disabled members) as her Grandma worked there as caretaker. Jenny was inspired by her grandma’s beautiful smile and love for working with the special needs children. This had not only made Jenny to accept her grandma as her role model but also influenced her life choice.
Jenny also has a love for art, which led her to spent time with her aunt Lucy in Bangalore at an art ashram lead by Mr.Jyoti Shahi, a well-known biblical artist. While enjoying the ashram life she became familiar with Asha Niketan (run by international federation of L’Arche for differently able). Jenny joined this community and continued her studies as special educator. The time in this community alongside members with intellectual and developmental disabilities made her gentle and humble toward humanity, confident and competent worker towards mental health. During her thirteen years, she was been chosen for many various responsibility. While being community leader, she has been send as an Indian representative for the international federation of L’Arche and visited many countries and gained knowledge and experience.
The new chapter begun with Seby Moolan who joined her as life partner. The dream jenny was carrying for a long time “Sandesh” became the dream for both. Working in Asha Niketan a residential facility for men and Liza home a residential facility for women with disabilities gave a great opportunity for both to experience the challenges in various sections from caring to administration and vulnerability to deal with violence and confusion.
The experience during all these years and a dream to do something different motivated them to finally sow the seed of Sandesh. It was registered as a charitable trust on 30th May 2008. The activities started on 8th September 2010.A home for people with special needs to provide equal opportunity and inclusion in the society disregarding the ability, financial background cast and religion. Sandya and Akash the two little additions to the family become the witness of Sandesh growth. Anil Kumar joins the vision of Sandesh with open heart and full of energy. The vast experience in working for people with disabilities made him the strong pillar of foundation team. When you realize a calling in your life, life revolves around the mission and many will choose to journey alongside. Soon Nupur Singh joined the mission of Sandesh with her love for members and her expertise in reaching out to people, this made her the main Fundraiser for the community. The founding team became the four pillars of Sandesh. The first support to begin the mission started with the couple Sandeep Singhal and Kavita Iyer ,very dear friends who believed in Sandesh vision and trusted in the vocation. There have been many ups and downs, days of extreme sadness, tears, anger and disappointments but the members were always there to comfort with smile and happiness and kept the team motivated in the mission and vision of the community.
Together a lot can be achieved…
History of Sandesh
Sandesh, has been a dream for many years with the mission of ’Creating a community that empowers and dignifies intellectually disabled individuals. ‘Sandesh’ was registered as charitable trust on 30th May 2008. The preparation journey took over two years until Dr.Molly Abraham, founder of Liza home agreed to begin this mission at her vacant building in Lingarajapuram, which needed repair and renovation. Finally, we officially invited Shiva 7 years and Priya 10 years with mental retardation and no verbal communication to Sandesh on 8th September 2010. Number of disabled members reached to 15 within no time.
The initial idea of a residential home become a day care facility as the need for parents to leave their child in a safe environment as they go to their domestic work. With the help of local social workers, we came to know that many families who were locking their child with mental disability while going for work. It was hard for each parent, but this was the only option they could do for their child safety.
Sandesh became a ray of hope for many families. Most of them has been rejected from other homes and special school due to their poor financial background or with their sever disability. We welcomed all who needed care and support to grow to their potential with respect.
The community builds upon simplicity and humbleness. We believe in humanity. The culture and inter-religious aspect of respecting all religion, their festivals and celebrations attracted many staff and volunteers from India and abroad. Soon the teams were blessed with many friends and well wishers all over the world.
During all these years we have constantly re- located our centers in many places due to lack of infrastructure or the buildings were on sale. It was painful to re-locate each time as it takes lots of energy to find a suitable place and settled down. Even for the members with disability has to go through a lot of insecurity and fear of losing the community and their friends. It was sad, with change in location we have lost many of our members.
Sandesh has introduced, Day care facility with physio, occupational and other various therapies for severe and profound disabilities. Pre-vocational and vocational for mild and moderate disabilities in getting trained in different hand-crafted products. In all these years Sandesh has made an identity with the products in vocational unit and is able to work with many companies for their corporate gifting. The appreciation from friends and well-wishers, encourage the community and the members to be more creative and productive. Sandesh dream by providing a dignified life to our members started stepping towards a reality. Our members above 18 years are paid for their work. This token of appreciation made them more independent and very responsible person at work and home.
All these years Sandesh has taken many steps forward… made beautiful friendship around the world. Celebrated life of each individuals and have been able to spread happiness to many, given hope and desire to live. We have witnessed many success stories.
Taking a day at a time the team is going forward. With the vision of love and equality for all.