ANBAGAM, the Home of Love and Friendship, was founded in Madurai, INDIA, in1970 by Dr. Manuel A. Thangaraj and his wife, Mrs. Mary Thangaraj, with the help of concerned citizens, the Governments of India and Tamilnadu and International Relief Agencies. It was inspired by Suresh Bernard Thangaraj, their mentally retarded son (who was born with Downs’ Syndrome), and by the great need for such an institution in Madurai and surrounding areas. ANBAGAM is governed by an inter-faith Governing Council with representation from several communities.
ANBAGAM has been helping mentally retarded children through three streams:
Educating them in the ANBAGAM Special School, from age 5 onwards, using appropriate teaching methods and curriculum.
Providing Hands-on workshops and vocational training in Dairy and Poultry farming, Printing Press, Carpentry, Sewing, Weaving, etc.
Training teachers in Special Education in SBT College. The teachers get hands-on experience at ANBAGAM and once they graduate, go on to teach disabled children at other institutions.
At present, there are 155 children enrolled in the school: 48 day scholars and 107 boarders. 98 of the students pay fees ranging from Rs 60 to Rs. 500 per month, based on the financial situation of their family. The others are supported through grants and charitable donations. ANBAGAM has been given the 80G exemption by the Govt. of India, which makes donations tax deductible (50%), as per the 80G rules. It costs Rs. 500 ($12) per month to support a child at ANBAGAM. The fees charged only cover a portion of the cost, and the rest has to be made up through donations, grants and income from vocational programs. Against an annual recurring expenditure of Rs. 25 lakhs, the fees collected are only Rs. 3 lakhs.
ANBAGAM, SBT College and its founders have won several awards and have received national and international recognition for their efforts. Details are provided on the AWARDS page. Highlights of the awards include the Shree Ratna award, Rama Kamal Sinha Memorial Medal, State Award for Best teacher, State Award for Service to the Mentally Retarded, Rotary Award, Nimbakar Award, Rehabilitation Council of India award for Special Education and Rolling Shield for Best Institution for the Disabled. ANBAGAM children have also won several medals at the State Level in the Special Olympics for the Disabled.
Children admitted to ANBAGAM are tested by Psychologists and categorized into groups based on their mental development. There are two caregivers and one teacher for every ten children. The first stage of training focuses on essential personal skills such as brushing teeth, bathing, toileting and eating without assistance. Once past this stage, the children are taught to read, write and speak. They are trained to recognize and understand articles used in daily life. Examples include coins and money, colors, telling time and traffic rules. They then progress to vocational training to learn skills that can enable them to earn a livelihood. Training is imparted in dairy farming, poultry farming, agricultural farming, carpentry, cloth weaving, mat weaving, embroidery, tailoring, printing, composing, book binding and file making.
Early Intervention training to Spl. Child is offered. Counselling for mothers, and vocational training are given in the two village community centes We motivate talent development among children with special needs by conducting various competitions. The Family Intervention program has been conducted during weekends and our students offer technical guidance to parents and siblings in caring for the disabled person in “Basic Skill Development for Independent Living”. Mostly the cases selected are those who are severe and cannot go to special institutions.
For national level bodies (RCI, BHOJ) we conduct Special trainings and help in drafting the syllabus. We assist the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) and National Human Rights Commission (NHRD) in the preparation of human resource developmentl in Special Education. We conduct workshops for young lecturers and help on Institutional Assessments and developing Computer Assisted Instructional Materials . We participate on Teleconferencing interviews. Through Continuing Education programme we help educating Spl. educators, Physiotherapists, nurses, social workers and parents on early intervention, Physiotherapy and Speech Therapy.
Principal, S.B.T College,
Dr. M.A. Thangaraj compound, DRO. Colony, Madurai 625007. South India
Phone: +91-452-253-9040 +91-452-260-1605 (India)
Donations to Anbagam can be send to ICICI-Tallakulam,India.
Account No:- 600601161197
Secretary, Anbagam Institution for the Mentally Retarded,
Race Course Road, Madurai 625002. South India
Mr. Arun J. Thangaraj
Phone: +1-732-291-7824 (USA)