A Special Mom’s mission is unlike any other!
Here’s a report on our 4th Annual Special Mom Awards held on April 2, 2022 where 15 incredible women and their families were honored and awarded.
We specially thank our Chief Guest, Dr. C Aacha Arumugasamy, Founder and Director of Sri Kumaran Health Centre, Kolathur, Retteri, Chennai, Special Mom families, special guests, donors, sponsors, well-wishers, and friends for making our 2020 Special Mom Awards ceremony a grand success! Introducing 15 incredible Special Moms each year inches us forward on our journey towards creating an inclusive society. It is said, “Water cuts through rock not because of its strength but because of its persistence.” Sri Arunodayam’s persistence in hosting this honorable program year upon year despite the many challenges we face, and special families living out their love for one another, persistently holding up a mirror to a love-starved society, will one day bring about the change we are all seeking. We faithfully plant through this program knowing that the harvest, when it comes, will be everything that we hoped it would be.
Due to the pandemic we could not host this wonderful program in 2020 and 2021. Now that it is deemed safe for public gatherings, we celebrated the fourth occurrence of this unique event with a small gathering of well-wishers and friends. We hope to get up to speed quickly as we have more amazing women to present to the world.
Our 15 finalists for 2020 include: Geetha N – mother of (deceased) Santhosh (19) and Ananya (12) from Pondicherry, Kalaiselvi – mother of Jothikalai (19) from Chennai, Kaveri Palanisamy – mother of Gowsalya (20) from Coimbatore, Mala S – mother of Sathish Babu (24) and Jayanthi (18) from Thiruvallur, Mariyammal S – mother of Anitha (19) and Gayathri (14) from Tenkasi, Mythili N – mother of Vishwanath Kannan (36) from Madurai, Nirmala P V – mother of Prem (29) from Coimbatore, Rajeswari L – mother of Guruprakash (22) from Kancheepuram, Revathi – mother of Chandrakanth (11) and Rithagayathri (9) from Tiruvannamalai, Roobi Xavier P – mother of Ashwini (13) and Ashika (9) from Kanyakumari, Sankari C – mother of Bharathwaj (52) from Chennai, Sathyalakshmi A – mother of Sravanthi (19) from Tirunelveli, Savitha S Chavgule – mother of Sumit (15) from Goa, Shanthi G – mother of Stella Mary (24) from Kancheepuram, and Vasantha Selva Kumari R – mother of Mahalakshmi (15) from Chennai. These amazing women and their families were welcomed into our Sri Arunodayam family.
Each year we capture the awardees stories on film and present them during the ceremony. It’s always a moving experience to witness their many trials and challenges. There are also many wonderful moments when their true character and calibre shines through. It’s these heartening experiences we want to share with the world. The awardees said that they were grateful to Sri Arunodayam for helping them see their true worth.
The high emotion of the films were well balanced with scintillating performances by children with disabilities, and the afternoon ended with a grand lunch for all.
Hear it from our Special Moms
From a woman who picked up an abandoned baby from a construction site and cared for the child as if it were her own, to a mother who often shields her special children from the murderous rage of her husband, to a mother who opened a special school when her son was expelled from one and who serves over 80 special children today, we leave you with this thought that succinctly encapsulates the concept of our Special Mom Programs: “Love is not just a feeling. It is commitment, and above all – a sacrifice.”
Geetha was married at the age of eighteen. Soon after, her son Santhosh was born. At first he appeared normal. When he didn’t achieve the first milestone of smiling, they took him for a check-up and found that he had Down syndrome. They had no idea what…
Jyothi was brought up by her mother Kalaiselvi, a divorcee and a diabetic. Jyothi was born blind. She was always restless and disturbed. She hardly ever slept. After a check-up at NIMHANS, Kalaiselvi was told that Jyothi also has intellectual disability…
Kaveri’s husband, Palanisamy, was a labourer who worked at construction sites. One day, he happened to find a baby abandoned in a neglected building. Afraid that the stray dogs would attack the child, he brought her home to Kaveri. The couple deliberated…
Mala and her family live in Thiruvallur in a small rented house. Her husband works at a tea shop and she has a small flower business. They have two special children – a girl and a boy. Both children were diagnosed with intellectual disabilities in early childhood. In fact, Jayanthi…
Mariyammal and her family live in Tenkasi. As both her daughters are intellectually disabled, the family is often ignored especially during social gatherings. Their neighbourhood is not very inclusive and the parents are afraid to leave their girls alone at home to attend these functions. They…
When Mythili’s son, Vishwa Kannan, was born, little did she know that she would open a special school one day. The child was a little less than two years old when he was diagnosed with PDA, a heart problem. The operation was performed at Chennai Apollo Hospital but…
Nirmala P V
Nirmala is a Graduate and a housewife. She lives with her family in Coimbatore. When her son, Prem, was two years old, he was diagnosed as autistic. Nirmala spent her time trying to understand this condition. She began to notice that her child was gifted in many way…
Rajeswari and her family live in Kancheepuram. She has two normal children. Her third child, Guruprakash, has a mild form of intellectual disability and autism, which they came to know about when he was around two and a half years old. Their relatives kept them at a distance but Rajeswari and…
Revathi and her husband have two children. A boy and a girl, both intellectually disabled. Her husband, a daily wage earner, was quite abusive toward them. As she struggled to cope with the requirements for rehabilitating their children, her husband met with a serious…
Roobi Xavier P
Roobi and her husband live in Kanyakumari. They have two daughters. Both girls live with intellectual disabilities. Roobi’s husband is a mason and an alcoholic. Mother and daughters live in constant fear of him because he has attempted to kill them on several occasions…
Sankari’s son Bharatwaj appeared normal during the initial months after birth. But as time went by, he wasn’t able to walk. A check-up revealed that he had multiple disabilities and autism. After giving him various rehabilitation therapies, Bharatwaj began walking when he…
Sathyalakshmi and Sudhakar have two daughters of which Shravanthi is autistic. The parents entered her into several rehabilitation programs and Shravanthi took to expressing herself more through art/pictures. Sathyalakshmi noticed that Shravanthi had a natural flair…
Savitha S Chavgule
Savitha and her Advocate husband lived in Mysore. When their son, Sumit, was three years old, he was diagnosed as autistic. The parents were quick to put him into rehabilitation therapy were the child received occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech therapy. He grew up confident and even performed at the World Bhagawad Gita…
Shanthi and her husband have two intellectually disabled children, 29 year old Charles and 24 year old Stella Mary. They live in Kancheepuram. The parents weren’t aware of the issue until the children were a year and a half old. The inability to walk, late speech, and a few other symptoms were the indicators. The parents put them in a Special School…
Vasantha Selva Kumari R
Vasantha’s younger sister’s daughter, Mahalakshmi, is intellectually disabled. Vasantha’s sister has many children and she was unable to focus on Mahalakshmi and give her the attention she needed. That’s when Vasantha decided to adopt the girl. She put her in a special school and ensured that Mahalakshmi received…
Dr. Aacha Arumugasamy
[Founder and Director of Sri Kumaran Health Centre, Retteri, Chennai]
“I’m proud to be the Chief Guest of this very special program. Some parents are ashamed of their special children and tend to hide them behind closed doors. But these moms are so proud of their children. You can see the love shine through their eyes. I am truly honored to be part of this wonderful program that is touching and honoring lives in a unique way.”
[Guest of Honor and Sponsor]
I eagerly await this program each year. It is an honor for me to greet a special mom. The idea of recognising such mothers has to be appreciated and I bow my head to Sri Arunodayam for creating such a highly impactful program. This event is an eye-opener for all mothers who find it difficult to manage their normal children. We tend to complain about small things, but the many sacrifices and sufferings of each special mom brings tears to my eyes.”
Mrs. Vasantha Selvakumari
[Special Mom Award 2020 Finalist]
“I specially thank Iyyappan Subramaniyan for considering me to be a ‘special’ mom. While receiving the award, I forgot the pain I’ve been experiencing through society’s ill treatment of my child. While watching the films I realized many of the mothers suffer far more than I do. My special child is the reason for my elevation as a ‘Special Mom’ and I value this award more than anything else I’ve been recognized for.”
[Special Mom Award 2020 Finalist]
“My tears weren’t in vain. Society treats my child badly, but through this program his unique abilities as a sportsman were captured well on film and everyone can see him for who he truly is. My son was restricted from appearing in public places but now is travelling the world to participate in sporting events. I’m just glad for the opportunity to tell our story. The Forum has put me in touch with a wonderful set of sisters, and we are empowered through our relationship.”