In 1998 the Home shifted to its own premises in Alapakkam, Chennai, and the land for the Home was donated by a well- wisher, Dr Leela Rajagopal. Presently the Home has spread its branches in Singadivakkam village near Kanchipuram and Sri Adi Annamalai Village in Thiruvannamalai and Rajarajeswary Nagar,Bangalore.
Heading Siva Sakthi Homes, which is a haven for nearly 100 individuals, is 56-year-old Vijayakumari, who is committed to those under her care at the spotlessly clean group homes. Born in Idukki District of Kerala her journey towards fulfilling her life’s one and only dream, brought her to Chennai, where she established Siva Sakthi Kakkum Karangal (Siva Sakthi Homes) under the banner of Siva Sakthi Sathya Sai Charitable Trust in the year 1993.
The first seed for Siva Sakthi Homes was sown in the heart of Vijayakumari when she saw two mentally challenged sisters in the temple of Sri Bhagawathi Amman of Chottanikarai, Kerala. A Montessori school teacher, to begin with, the seed slowly sprouted in her mind and grew as Siva Sakthi Homes. As a first step towards attaining her goal, she completed with merit, Diploma in Special Educator training for mentally retarded children from National Institute for Mentally Handicapped, Secunderabad.
After a stint at Asha Niketan International School, Chennai, and Mercy Mother India CharitableTrust, for mentally challenged, she decided to pursue her life’s mission and dream of organizing a Home, away from home, for Mentally challenged children.
According to Ms Vijayakumari, if our thoughts, feelings and ambitions are pure and rich, the Supreme Power will guide and lead us in the right path and make us emerge victorious. She attributes her merits and achievements as God’s Will. She believes that only LOVE and LOVE only is the first and last investment for service.
Not being a person to rest on her laurels, she reinforced herself by completing her M.A and M.Phil in Sociology. In the year 2007, she came out with her autobiography ‘Kadavulin Kuzhanthaikal’ where she has written about her life experiences, challenges and opportunities that was thrown in front of her to pursue her passion relentlessly with single minded devotion. The Book is a rare creation and a treat for the mind and heart.
Ms Vijayakumari C C, though not a biological mother, is a mother to all the children who live and thrive under the widespread and care-giving branches of the Siva Sakthi Homes. Tenderness, unconditional love and warmth are what the children, the world over seek from others. Special children are no exceptionto this. Children of Siva Sakthi Homes are really very fortunate in getting this unconditional love, warmth, tenderness and extensive care in abundance from their favorite Viji Akka, as they fondly call her. A born lover of children she showers her love and affection on them who are under her care. While interacting with the children, her feelings, love and warmth for these children shine forth from her compassionate eyes. Her love for them is spontaneous and her interaction with them is like a symphony. She not only loves them but she is also proud of them.
It is difficult to find a person who is so much committed and devoted to the children under her care. Ms Vijayakumari, in every sense lives for them and breathes for them. She is in tune with even a minutest aspect of a child.
Her dedication, commitment and abundant love for her children not only brought her many laurels,it also brought many good and kind hearted persons into her fold who extended their friendship and offer endless support to her endeavor. Vijayakumari believes in quality rather than on quantity.
One can see this in Siva Sakthi Homes. Her Homes depict cleanliness and hygiene in every nook and corner. A role model to her staff, she joins her staff members in caring for the children: whether it is bathing them, feeding them or washing their soiled clothes or spending time with them. The service here is based entirely on love and affection.
Vijayakumari feels that mentally challenged children should never be isolated. Though her core service is towards mentally challenged, she has admitted normal destitute and orphan children in her Homes. These children are given proper education in the nearby government schools and are trained to care for the mentally challenged children as brothers and sisters, The interaction between them has brought about significant improvement in the behaviours of the mentally challenged as well as the normal children.
Moreover Vijayakumari has admitted a few senior citizens also to have a system of extended family, wherein mentally challenged children, normal destitute and orphan children and senior citizens provide a positive and proactive support system to each other.This has maximized the social interaction and this extended family of Siva Sakthi Homes is bound by unconditional love and affection.
Though Vijayakumari feels that residential homes are needed for mentally challenged children once their parents are no more, she yearns for a society where such children are not born. Towards this end she started a project in 2002 in collaboration with another NGO for providing “Neutraceuticals” to 250 pregnant women from economically backward community at Villivakkam area to prevent pre-natal causes for Mental Retardation. This provision is extended till the child attains 2 years of age. It is hoped that the children will be born healthy, will have normal IQ and will live to be healthy citizens of the country.