S Krishnan, I.A.S.
Principal Secretary, Housing & Urban Development Department, Government of Tamil Nadu
“I’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.”
2019 Special Mom Awardee
“The 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.”
Sr. Mercy George
Principal, Good Shepherd’s Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Nungambakkam, Chennai
“I was extremely happy to be present at this function. I was so inspired by how Sri Arunodayam honored these mothers who go through so many struggles to take care of their special children. They are the true unsung heroines of today. Sri Arunodayam took the trouble to prepare videos of each mother’s story which was very good. It was touching to see how these mothers take care of their children by giving them their best despite the hardships they face.
I admire Iyyappan’s passion and vision, and his selfless service. May God bless you Iyyappan and help you reach out to many more such mothers and children.”
Philanthropist & Social Activist
“I feel truly blessed to have been part of the Special Mom Award function. It is the most humbling experience and gives our lives so much perspective. Each mother’s story is one of courage, grit and a “never say die” attitude reminding us of how insignificant our worries and problems actually are.
The concept of not stopping at just an awards function but addressing real issues with a long-term perspective and problem solving approach is so commendable! I pray that each year sees Iyyappan, Chitra and their wonderful team at Sri Arunodayam grow from strength to strength. “Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves” – shine on Team SACT!”
Mother of 2 special children, and one of the 15 Special Mom Finalists
I never imagined that I would be recognized for my role as mother to a ‘special’ child. Who would even think to do this? I am humbled and so grateful that Sri Arunodayam helped me see my own worth. My family is deeply touched by the warmth, affection and honor we received. It’s something that can’t be described. We were constantly worried about the future of our special children but after this wonderful program, our fears have been laid to rest because we know that Sri Arunodayam will honor its word. I’m so happy to be part of the Sri Arunodayam family.
Dr. Sumithra Shanmugham
President of the Tamil Nadu Woman Doctors Association; Recipient of the Best Woman Doctor and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Dr. MGR Medical University
I thank the Sri Arunodayam team for giving me this rare opportunity of sharing my views with the Special Moms who are stressed and really need mental support. Being my first interaction with these mothers, I am very pleased at the way this program is arranged with a view to enlighten them on the need to take care of their own health in order to support their special children. I wish that Sri Arunodayam organizes more such interactive sessions. I wish the team all success!
Film Creative Consultant, Chennai
When a person’s life gets entwined in an unresolvable situation, it takes a lifetime of coping – all by oneself. The mother of a special child gets little or no support; on the contrary she faces severe ostracism from friends and family. Somewhere deep inside her crippled spirit, she finds the courage and conviction to dedicate her entire life for the child. She becomes not just mother but God to the child. For without her, the child cannot survive.
For almost two decades I have been associated with several organizations involved in caring for the intellectually disabled. My life has been immeasurably enriched simply by getting to know many such special mothers. Isolated and with no frame of reference, they must often go through moments of extreme doubt on whether they are doing the right thing. But for Special Moms at the awards evening, all their doubts would have been vanquished forever. Because, they themselves would never have realized the magnitude of the nobility they have achieved so silently and selflessly. I pray that this event becomes the frame of reference for all such mothers. An infinite pool of strength and support in their moment of need.
I commit myself to this cause heart and soul. Iyyappan…. such an honour to know you.
An Australian Medical Professional and a Volunteer
No mother wants to relinquish the child she has given birth to. Poverty, lack of knowledge, guilt, judgements, discrimination – all impact on mothers to relinquish their differently-abled children. Disability remains a misunderstood issue.
By providing advocacy for mothers of special children, Sri Arunodayam has brought about a cultural alteration. In order to support a child living with a disability, society must first support the mother. The best carer for any child, irrespective of capacity is the mother. This is an astute long-ranging initiative from the Sri Arunodayam team. The organization serves in congruence with its core values – working towards the well-being of differently abled children. This Sri Arunodayam Charitable Trust (SACT) concept has the potential to influence thinking, nationally and internationally. Congratulations SACT!
Nanda Kumar Nagarajan
A software professional for over two decades, and one of Sri Arunodayam’s Trustees
Brilliant! Kudos to the team that worked behind the scenes for months to mark a special day for the Special Moms and a special event for Sri Arunodayam! How I miss bringing everyone of my friends and relatives to this wonderful event. Iyyappan, Jayachitra and the team continue to amaze me with their relentless pursuit of excellence in everything they do – and doing it all with a smile. I take a bow!
District Differently Abled Welfare Officer (DDAWO), Chennai.
Projects like these are truly inspirational and that’s why I’m inaugurating them. I assure Sri Arunodayam and the Special Moms of all the assistance that my Department and I can provide them. I am happy to be part of transformative programs like these.
Sri Arunodayam’s Founder & Managing Trustee
The Special MOM Forum is a unique space for mothers of special children. It brings them together to collectively fight for their children’s rights and welfare. The Forum mitigates the feeling that they are all alone and ensures their due recognition from society. This program has the potential to transform the lives of mothers of special children and ensure that no child is abandoned due to a lack of support and care.