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Vandana Gopikumar & Vaishnavi Jayakumar are the women behind The Banyan, an organization which rescues and rehabilitates homeless women with mental illnesses.
Witnessing the tragic plight of a distraught, semi-clad and mentally-ill woman in Chennai, Vandana and Vaishnavi were moved enough to set up The Banyan, back in 1993. With limited funds and no previous experience of running a home for the mentally challenged, it was a daunting task indeed for the young women, who were just 22 years old at that time.
But today, The Banyan is a registered Trust offering comfort, solace and support for numerous destitute women – and men.
The duo strongly believes that timely treatment for the mentally-ill is essential to reintegrate them with society. With every passing year, The Banyan continues to work towards its vision of changing attitudes and building an inclusive society that accepts the mentally ill and treats them with dignity and compassion.
Why we find them inspiring:
– For their social awareness and empathy at a young age
– For their initiative and determination to help women in strife
– For reaching out to helpless women who are often shunned by society
*Photo source: The Hindu.
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