Mananthavady (Wayanad): Destitute boys find shelter at the Pazhassi Balamandiram at Thonichal, near here. For over three decades of its existence, the facility has been a mentor, parent and teacher all rolled into one for many who grew up here.
Started off on the Vijayadashami day of October in 1985, the shelter home harbours destitute and orphaned boys who are deprived of a decent living environment, for no fault of theirs.
Pazhassi Balamandiram, registered under Vivekananda Cultural Society, has been giving the unprotected boys lodging and education from kindergarten to degree level. In its 33 years of service, the institute has opened avenues of better livelihood to more than 180 boys.
The whole idea of a boys' home would not have taken shape but for the largesse of S V Sumangaladevi, then a professor of Ernakulam Maharaja's College. The Palakkad native had donated her 7 acres of land free of cost to set up the charity institute. Seventeen years later, a school called Pazhassi Vidya Mandiram was set up under Bharatiya Vidyaniketan to impart education to the inmates of the home.
But today as many as 80 students, including those from outside the shelter home, study in classes from kindergarten to Class 7. The institute has a staff strength of 11, including nine teachers.
A 11-member committee headed by N Balachandran and U Lalithambika looks into the day-to-day affairs of the boys' home. The authorities have kept options open for philanthropists to financially aid their next project - a girls' shelter home to protect the poor girls in the district. An old age home for the destitute and aged women on the streets, a computer centre and library are also on the cards.