Supporting A Cause
A Caring Home For Children With Special Needs, Mathru Foundation Bangalore
Updated: Aug 5, 2019
Based in Bangalore, Mathru Foundation, promoted by Paralympics winner Dr. Malathi Holla in 2005, is a residential home for physically-challenged and polio-affected children. Here, these children are provided with free facilities such as nutritious food, accommodation, education and medical support.
Instilling Self Confidence in the Physically Challenged
Physically-disabled children are generally dependent on their parents or family for support. Affording their surgeries is another big challenge for the family. Parents are afraid to let the children go to school alone and tend to keep them at home. Sadly, although NGOs ask to help, parents refuse as they are afraid to take help from outside sources, fearing that the children with disability could be used for begging. Dr. Malathi Holla founded Mathru Foundation to ensure that physically-challenged children receive equal opportunity to study, play, fend for themselves and be confident and independent. Ms Malathi is herself affected by Polio, which led to paraplegia.
She has undergone numerous surgeries; that did not deter her, but made her more determined to prove herself. She found her calling in sports. She represented India not only in the Paralympics year after year but also in the Asian, commonwealth and other international events, winning 389 gold, 27 silver and 5 bronze medals at national and international events.
Furthermore, she received the Padma Shri award in 2001. With such an inspirational story to tell, Dr. Malathi envisioned a better tomorrow for all the disabled children that she could help.
Dedicating herself to the cause entirely, she now houses 17 boys in foundation’s own premises in Bangalore. She wishes to house girl children in future, although their parents are hesitant. With 6 trustees and 4 other staff members for cooking, cleaning, care taking and driving the children to school and back, she is responsible for the smooth running of the Mathru Foundation.
With a fixed time table in place, the kids wake up early each day and start with yoga exercise, have their breakfast, attend school/college, do their homework, have snacks and play. The rules include compulsory walking and yoga for some time for exercise. On weekends, the kids have free time and generally clean their rooms. Inculcating discipline and self-reliance in the children early on in life, Mathru Foundation is truly building a strong foundation for these children to journey through life.
Apart from education, food and stay, Mathru Foundation funds the children’s surgery and post-surgery care. Once a year during vacations, the children are sent back to their homes. Occasionally, the children are all taken for a short 2-day trip to other cities, so that they get to learn to take care of themselves, travel and experience to adapt to the changed environment.
Mathru Foundation supports these children until they are capable enough to earn for themselves. Of the 17 children, 2 are now already working, which is indeed inspiring. Over the years, 13 children have completed graduation and are now placed in jobs in IT companies.
Visiting Mathru Foundation was a touching experience. Mathru Foundation has 2 floors and each floor can house up to 30 children.
There is a ramp with railings built specially for the children to hold and walk or move on wheel chair. The entire home is accessible on ramp. The entire facility is created with simplicity and practical concepts appropriate for the disabled children.
Our conversation with Dr. Malathi was extremely inspiring, her humility and simplicity is touching. Despite her hospitalization the previous day, she came to the centre to greet and talk to us. She is the epitome of sincere dedication to a cause while overcoming all obstacles to conquer dreams. She has set a great example for the children she houses. Her anecdotes are motivating beyond belief, and they are all her life experiences. She has pushed the children to do better and support themselves.
Dr. Malathi remains a source of immense motivation to all the children; they love and idealize her.
On one occasion, during the rains, the garden area outside of foundation was shabby; when she suggested that they clear road outside the home as part of Swach Bharat Abhiyan, children enthusiastically participated, and the result made her eyes teary and very proud of her children who could manage this mission so gracefully. Furthermore, she has arranged for train travel for the children and has trained the children to manage themselves during travel, which is commendable.
Dr. Malathi is also a huge inspiration for normal people like us, and children really dote on her.
The foundation spends approximately 60,000/- per month for 17 kids; this may go up to 200,000/- whenever a surgery is required. The foundation runs its activity on contributions.
Mathru Foundation wishes to introduce a computer lab for the children and spoken English lessons, along with some vocational training with teachers and volunteers on site. Mathru Foundation also wishes to expand to help blind children and girls.
In future, they wish to build and facilitate a mini gym on terrace for children to exercise. Lastly, spreading awareness about the challenges faced by physically-challenged individuals is their top priority.
Convincing and getting consent from parents to enroll their children for this transformational journey is a daunting task, but the foundation does everything under its fold to convince parents for the betterment of disabled children.
We salute and support Mathru Foundation’s cause and endeavors.