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This rehabilitation home in Chennai is haven for people with mental disabilities

September 20, 2018

Anbagam in Chennai is a shelter home and rehabilitation center for people with mental disabilities. Anbagam has already won laurels from the Tamil Nadu government for their service towards humanity. Now 19 years old, Anbagam wants to lend a helping hand to more needy people from across India.

Mohammad Rafi who hails from Kerala was an entrepreneur in Chennai. His business was running extremely well and he had a lot of big clients in the city of Chennai. But his heart was always for disabled people. So when he spots a needy and disabled person on the road, Rafi ensures that the person is sent to a good shelter home. One day, he realised that he must start something of his own. That is how Anbagam was born! Rafi has helped out hundreds of people with mental disabilities.

Anbagam caters only for people with mental disabilities. Today, they have an exclusive center for people with mental disabilities, an old age home, ladies home and night shelter. All these places together have over 360 inmates! People from across India are part of this venture. Anbagam concentrates on rescue, rehabilitation, counselling and then returning inmates back to their homes. Thanks to social media, Anbagam has been able to send many inmates back to their homes in different parts of India!

People with mental disabilities at our center get the best services from us. So when they are at the center, we introduce them to cooking, cleaning, washing and so on. We make sure that they do not sit idle. This way, they get to do day to day activities that will help them once they go back home as well. We identify what their interests are and help them out. Our inmates work on handmade bangles, earrings, baskets and so on. These are sold at various events. This is a source of income for them- Mohammad Rafi, Founder, Anbagam.

Anbagam runs with the help of government aid as well as Chennai Corporation. But running a center like this is no easy task since it requires a lot of funds. Many kind hearted donors support for the cause. They have nurses, full time doctors, wardens and cooks who ensure that inmates do not face any difficulties at the center.

So how does Anbagam identify people who need their help?

"Every day, hundreds of people with mental disabilities are either disowned or lost in Chennai. They are abandoned at railway stations, hospitals and even bus stands. Police identifies them and they are brought to Anbagam. We give them medical help. We try and identify their origin to send them back. But most of the times, we realise that they are abandoned by their own families who refuses to take them back. There are certain families that even tell us that they will commit suicide if their son or daughter with a mental disability come back home", says Rafi.

Apparently, it is not just people from economically backward families who tell this. There are many inmates who come from educated and well-off families. But their parents or spouses refuse to take them back!

Mohammad Rafi has been working day in and out for helping out people with mental disabilities. He believes that with better support and awareness, those with mental disabilities can have a better quality of life in our society.

ALSO READ: Poor nutrition in childhood leading cause for many neuro-developmental disorders in India

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