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As a child, Mr. Sridhar was deprived of education and other facilities due to his immobility. But now, Maithri, a charitable trust focusing on the education of rural poor children, is run by this remarkable man: Sridhar, a polio victim. This dynamic man has achieved from his wheel chair far more than any average person. With the urge in him to help those of his kind, to give them the education he was deprived of, Shridhar and a few friends started Maithri Educational & Charitable Trust.
Formed in the year 1991, the objective of the Trust is to provide educational assistance to meritorious poor students, who would otherwise be forced into child labour. The beneficiaries are academically strong students from poor families. So far, more than 250 have benefited through Maithri, 10 of whom are Engineers, well settled in the US & the Middle East. Sridhar says: “Education is a liberating force and it’s also a democratizing force cutting across the barriers of caste, creed & class, smoothing inequalities imposed by birth and other circumstances”
Maithri’s vision states “The salient feature of our future project includes setting up a model school for the poor & the disabled. Apart from providing a high standard of education, we intend on providing an infrastructure without architectural barriers for the handicapped as well as a well connected transport facility & integrate the disabled into the mainstream life right from start.”
The major funding for education and other projects as listed below comes from Mr. Sridhar’s earnings as an accomplished Astrologer. The rest is covered by individual donations. HCI has been funding the education of 20 to 25 children since 2002. All projects are offered free of cost to the beneficiaries. Maithiri’s activities are as follows:
- School & Medical:
- Expenses per month for elementary school – Rs 500.00
- Expenses per month for higher education – Rs.650.00
- Computer education per month -Rs. 400.00
- Medicines for a mentally retarded child per month – Rs 350.00
- Aids & appliances for the disabled
- Maithri maintains a free audio cassette library that contains the University Syllabus from various Universities in Tamil Nadu, India. This library is maintained especially for the visually impaired students.
- Maithri also rehabilitates victims of natural calamities like earthquake, cyclones etc. They rush their volunteers for the relief operations with groceries, medicines, clothes, utensils etc to be distributed to the hapless victims. Volunteers return only after life is restored to normalcy.
Other projects include a computer centre (100 beneficiaries); a tailoring institute (300 beneficiaries); providing aids and appliances to the disabled, hearing impaired, blind etc. (300 beneficiaries); health camps (1000 beneficiaries), and cataract surgeries (100 beneficiaries).
You may assist by purchasing tools for individuals enroilled in Maithri including callipers (Rs.1000.00 or CDN $33 each), hearing aids (Rs.800.00 or CDN $27), wheel chairs (Rs.1800.00 or CDN $60), hand cycles (Rs.2000.00 or CDN $67), spectacles (Rs.500.00 or CDN $17), or tailoring machines (Rs.3,600.00 or CDN $20).
You can also donate in the form of clothes, note books, medicines, braille books, braille typewriter, braille slates etc. Maithri’s contact information is as follows:
Maithri Educational & Charitable Trust
17/2, Nathamuni Street,
T.Nagar, Chennai – 600 017.
Phone: 91 – 044 – 2815 6880