It takes a special kind of woman to make a Special Mom!

Presenting a report on our Third Annual Special Mom Awards event held on International Mother’s Day, May 12, 2019, where 15 incredible women and their families were honored and awarded.

It takes a special kind of woman to make a mother, and it takes an even more special kind of woman to be mother to special children!

Our ‘Special Mom’ Award is a unique program that commenced in 2017 to start a transformation in the way society considers and responds to special children and their families who are most often misunderstood, discriminated against and judged. On May 12, 2019 at Good Shepherd Convent, Nungambakkam, we celebrated the third occurrence of this unique event aimed at mothers who brave the odds for the sake of their special children. To us, they are unsung heroes and we give them the honor they truly deserve by recognizing and supporting them through this program.

And so it was that Asiyabenazir S (Virudunagar, TN), Baby R (Cuddalore, TN), Chidambaragomathi (Tirunelveli, TN), Jayanthi M (Chennai, TN), Kalavathy (Thiruvallur, TN), Lakshmi P (Tirunelveli, TN), Lakshmi Suneetha (East Godavari, AP), Nalini R (Krishnagiri, TN), Ponrajam M (Chennai, TN), Radha Nandakumar (Chennai, TN), Rajakili K (Kanyakumari, TN), Savithri M (Coimbatore, TN), Shanthi Pappa (Marthandam, TN), Usha Subramanian (Chennai, TN), and Vasumathi R (Chennai, TN) have joined our ‘hall of fame’ as the third batch of Special Moms who are now an integral part of the Sri Arunodayam family.

We were delighted to have Mr. S Krishnan I.A.S, Principal Secretary, Housing & Urban Development Department, Government of Tamil Nadu preside as our Chief Guest together with Sri Arunodayam’s benefactors who gave away the awards and a host of prizes to the 15 finalists. Mr. Krishnan’s very enlightening address helped us recall a powerful quote by Mahatma Gandhi who said that “the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members”. A message worth repeating over and over, especially in these times.

Each year we capture our finalists’ stories on film, which are presented at the time of the awards. It is always a moving experience to witness their many trials and challenges, yet it all turns to admiration as both mothers and children rise up to face the odds through incredible achievements that show their true caliber. This is something that we believe society must see and that’s why the films have always been the most powerful segment of this program.

Most finalists were in shock, never imagining that they would be recognized for their role as mother to special children. Almost all of them said that they were humbled and grateful to Sri Arunodayam for helping them see their worth.

Around 700 guests (including 250 special mom family members) enjoyed a wonderful evening together as the high emotion of the films were balanced with the exhilarating performances of children and youngsters with intellectual disability. The evening ended with a grand dinner for all who attended.

Hear it from our Special Moms

A mother who dedicated her life to bringing up her special child after her husband divorced her, offering Rs. 200 as compensation… a little girl studying hard to become an IAS officer so that she can protect and care for her two intellectually disabled elder sisters… a timid and shy village girl going out to study to become a reputed special educator who is positively impacting her community… we are happy to present the incredible line-up of Special Mom awardees for 2019.

Asiyabenazir S

One can see joy radiating on Special Mom finalist Asiyabenazir’s face as she talks of her daughter, Nafiya – a special child. Yet, this mother’s vision for her child was temporarily lost on hearing about Nafiya’s diagnosis…

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Baby R

Baby R from Cuddalore is 75 years old. Her daughter Sindhu is 40. Mother and daughter struggle to survive post her husband’s death. Living on a meagre widow’s pension and Government grant, Baby and Sindhu can only afford a meal a day…

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Chidambaragomathi hails from VikramaSingapuram. A consanguineous marriage sealed the fate of her only son who is intellectually disabled with visual and aural impairment. Being developmentally delayed, he began to walk when he was 4 years old…
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Jayanthi M

Jayanthi’s daughter Dhanushpriya was born prematurely. For over nine months Jayanthi was unaware that the baby had developmental delay but as soon as the family knew, they started her on physiotherapy and other therapies in Pondicherry…

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Kalavathy has three children all of whom are intellectually impaired. Her husband is an auto rickshaw driver and she is a seamstress. They manage their family on the income they generate. Although young adults now, the children are progressing slowly towards independence…

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Lakshmi P

Lakshmi is the mother of three intellectually disabled boys. Seeing her situation many advised her to institutionalise them. “My husband and I have many moments of weakness and despair because we are so fatigued, but we don’t have the heart to give them up,” she says…

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Lakshmi Suneetha

Married at 17, Lakshmi Suneetha delivered two sons in quick succession. Both boys had developmental delay. Her husband passed away in 2005 and she struggled for support for a while. “I realised that worrying wasn’t getting me anywhere,” she says…

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Nalini R

Nalini has three children – all intellectually disabled. Deserted by her husband, Nalini takes care of them through a small Government grant and income she earns through tailoring. One day, in desperation, Nalini and the children overdosed on sleeping pills but were taken to a hospital in time…

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Ponrajam M

Ponrajam, is the mother of two special children and a wonderfully transformed woman who has embraced her destiny. Yet, she wasn’t always like this. Shy, timid and afraid, she married her cousin at 19…

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Radha Nandakumar

Radha Nandakumar is a very inspiring woman. Her first son diagnosed with cerebral palsy and later with mitochondrial disorder was also epileptic, had ulcers, and was abnormally anaemic, needing regular blood transfusion…
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Rajakili K

Rajakili’s first daughter appeared to be normal until the age of four after which, she stopped speaking. Her second daughter was fine until she was two, then appeared to have the same issues as her sister. Rajakili’s third and fourth daughters are normal…

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Savithri M

Savithri’s story is one of sheer determination and grit. Her daughter Meenakshi’s developmental delays saw her being shunted from school to school and location to location. Yet, Savithri pressed on with a broader visionof making Meenakshi independent…

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Married off at 18 to a violently abusive man, Shanti Pappa bore him three children, all of whom are physically and intellectually disabled. The daily verbal, emotional and physical abuse finally came to an end when her husband took his own life…

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Usha Subramanian

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Vasumathi R

Vasumathi Ramanathan has a 38 year old autistic son, Vaithyanathan. He was 8 before they were informed of his condition and lost precious years in which he could have been more efficiently rehabilitated…

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Radha Nandakumar

[2019 Special Mom Awardee]

Radha Nandakumar

quoteupThe very thought of an event to honour mothers of special children deserves great applause. This is a unique type of honour as far as my knowledge goes. Organizations working with children with severe disabilities usually take on such responsibility for a limited period of time, but Sri Arunodayam provides them with lifetime care. This noble work requires tremendous courage and commitment. As for the event, it went flawlessly – right from the nomination process, to the courteous film crew visiting our homes and giving us the freedom to express ourselves freely, to the staff who took care of us through the weekend as we attended the Special Mom Forum prior to the Awards. The cooperation was admirable, given the amount of hard work, time and energy it must have taken to make this event so spectacular. It requires immense dedication and commitment to train special children for a wonderful performance and the love showered by the staff can well be estimated from the way the children reciprocated. Even the volunteers who took care of our families, were aptly chosen. In all, I admire the thought of such a recognition, the manner in which it was carried out, and the dignity that was accorded to each individual.


S Krishnan, I.A.S.

[Principal Secretary, Housing & Urban Development Department, Government of Tamil Nadu]


quoteupI’ve heard a lot about Sri Arunodayam but came to understand its various activities at this event. I feel proud that there is an organization in the state of Tamil Nadu, that too in Chennai, that is working for this good cause. I am humbled by the great service that is being rendered to abandoned children by Sri Arunodayam. A truly cultured and civilized society “lives with compassion”. To love all without discrimination is essential for a healthy society. We must learn to live with compassion, and the new philosophy demands that all special children live within society. I deeply appreciate Sri Arunodayam’s effort to recognize special moms through this program, which I believe will ultimately curb the rate of abandonment. We must provide all the possible support to mothers of special children so that they are able to care for them and not contemplate abandoning them. I congratulate all the special moms and wish them the very best.


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Picture Gallery

Welcoming our Guests

The Show Begins

Honouring our Special Moms

Entertainment Highlights

Honoring our Special Moms


Special Mom Families

Entertainment Highlights

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