Rajaram Shreedhar, Founder, Maithri Educational & Charitable Trust and Winner of Dr. Batra's Positive Health Awards 2010
When he was 18 months of age, he had a polio attack, which left his left hand and both his legs paralyzed. His parents tried every remedy to cure him and provided all the best possible treatments of all methods available in those days. They had always hoped, prayed and believed that some day Shreedhar would walk. But, Sreedhar was no ordinary man; wish his unparalleled courage he founded Maithri despite his physical limitations.
YourStory: Please tell us in brief about your venture
Rajaram: Whenever I would go out on my wheelchair pushed by volunteers in the streets, I would come across children loitering around in groups. One day I asked one of them why he was wasting his time? And he replied "We are the drop-outs from the school. No money to buy books, notebooks or pay school fees". I thought that the school education that was denied to me due to my extreme physical condition should not be denied to these children. That is when I started in a small way helping these children by paying fees, buying school books and notebooks. Efforts started taking shape and with some of my friends contributing funds, we were able to meet the needs of a few students for an entire year and Maithri took birth way back in 1983 but was christened in 1991, with a formal registration under the Trust Act.
Maithri has supported around 250 students to date, all their educational needs till they step out of school or finished their schooling. Maithri Educational And Charitable Trust currently has 120 children studying in schools and few in colleges as well.
YourStory: What are the challenges you seem to be facing?
Rajaram: Mobility and access to the important places of interest and worship.
YourStory: How does it feel to be the winner of Dr.Batra's Positive Health Award?
Rajaram: I feel this is the highest recognition I have ever received for my work.
YourStory: Do you think an Award like this makes a difference? Has it impacted you in some way?
Rajaram: Yes certainly such awards bring difference in a immeasurable ways and definitely boosts the self-confidence already burning inside.
Besides, Dr. Batra's Positive Health Awards 2010, in 2005, the Tamil Nadu government gave Shreedhar 'The Best Social Worker for the Disabled' award on the Independence Day. Helen Keller and Beethoven inspired him. He recalls; Helen Keller once said, "The world is moved along not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker." And that tiny push is Maithri
YourStory: Any message for the others?
Rajaram: Be positive, healthy and aware that you are the part of the society and community of your own. He recalls; Helen Keller once said, "The world is moved along not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker. And that tiny push is Maithri”