Shraddha Rehabilitation Foundation
Shraddha Rehabilitation Foundation was founded in the year 1988, to deal with the tragedy
of the mentally ill destitute wandering aimlessly on the streets of India.
Shraddha was formed by a psychiatrist couple, Drs. Smitha and Bharat Vatwani. Shraddha was formed
to treat the unfortunate men & women whom you often see wandering on the roads, lost in their own world,
laughing and talking to themselves, with dirty long matted hair, half naked and skin & bones appearance.
They may be just barely surviving on garbage, gutter water and whatever leftovers of food are offered
to them by people passing by. They are in much worse shape than the poorest of the poor because they have
no one, we repeat, absolutely no one to look after them. They are on the roads for weeks/months/years without food,
clothing or shelter. No one may give them a second glance and no one cares whether they live or die. Basically,
they are stripped of all human dignity.
For these efforts, Dr Bharat Vatwani received the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2018.
One day when the Dr. Smitha and Bharat were sitting in a restaurant, they noticed a young boy who was horribly
skinny, dirty, disheveled and in a really bad shape. They realized that he was a schizophrenic and just
while they were watching, he picked up an empty coconut shell next to him, dipped it into the nearby drain
and drank the gutter water in a single shot. That was the turning point of their lives. Spontaneously they
crossed the road, assisted him to come with them (which given his weak state was very easy) and brought him
to their nursing home. They nursed him, treated him with appropriate psychiatric medicines and gradually he improved.
He turned out to be a Science graduate whose father was the Superintendent of a local governing body in Andhra Pradesh.
Mental illness could affect the best of the best and reduce a person to pathetically inhuman conditions.
And suddenly Dr. Vatwanis realized that there was no organization dealing with such people and seeds for
Shraddha Rehabilitation Foundation were sown.
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