Anandwan is the realization of the dream of one man- Muralidhar Devidas "Baba" Amte and the enduring efforts of the organization he set up. For this journey, with all its trials and tribulations, holds major lessons for humankind. What made this journey possible is untiring energy and a never-say-die attitude. But what has given them sustenance, nourished their spirit and kept them going against all odds, are certain fundamental values that they have consistently upheld as an uncompromising charter throughout the years. These values are based on the belief:
- In the inviolable, irreplaceable, intrinsic worth of each human being;
- That however severe his or her disability may be; each person has uniquely invaluable gifts and capabilities to give to the world;
- That an attempt must be made to overcome any disability; however great it may seem;
- That social prejudice, taboos, and ignorance can all be overcome;
- That as important as physical cure, if not more, is the restoration of the person's sense of self-respect and dignity;
- That to achieve this, the way forward is not charity but empowerment, even of the most challenged.
In 2001, Anandwan turned fifty years old. This experiment in community living is unique in many ways. First of all, there is complete freedom of religion. People of all faiths live within its campus. Secondly, because of its heritage as a refuge for 'social outcasts' such as people with various disabilities, you see enterprising people of all ages doing the unthinkable an uneducated man runs Anandwan's entire agricultural operation he is a genius who suffered from leprosy.
Everyone contributes toward the economic activity of the community even senior citizens clean the streets or care for young children no task is too small. Industrial workshops, printing, weaving, and agriculture allow the community to cover part of their operating expenses.
The Anandwan Hospital takes care of approximately 2,095 individuals who have been treated for leprosy or are still undergoing some form of treatment and rehabilitation. The Shirdi Saibaba Hospital provides free medical service for the different inhabitants of Anandwan: the blind, deaf, orphans, senior citizens, Yuvagram trainees (rural school drop-outs) and other needy people from the area (annually approximately 10,000 patient visits). More...
When the number of Anandwan residents grew, and leprosy afflicted families arrived, the need for schools arose. By enabling the children of leprosy patients to get an education, their chances of making a living in the outside world increase. These children are still not admitted in the normal schools. The stigma they have as being children of leprosy-afflicted persons affects them as much as their parents.
In the 52 years since the founding of Anandwan, 3 primary schools were started, for the children of the leprosy afflicted and leprosy-afflicted children, and special schools for the blind and the deaf children. Every school provides food, housing and education. The educational programs are suited for the specific needs: for example sign language for the hearing and speech impaired, and braille for the blind students. The basic educational program meets the standards set by the government.
A number of experiments pioneered by Dr. Vikas Amte are being carried out at Anandwan to promote technologies that enhance the natural environment and lead to the empowerment of the local people. It is a remarkable fact that all of the buildings at Anandwan and other satellite centers of Maharogi Sewa Samiti have been completed without hiring expensive engineers, architect, or contractors. More...
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