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The Beginning




Having been afflicted with a disability or any kind of mental disorder in one's life is not that the person is in that stage or condition by choice. We are not even sure whom to blame for this. Is it destiny that is playing with the person's life? With 26.8 million people suffering from disabilities in India, making up 2.21 percent of the total population, it is a matter of great concern what is lying ahead regarding their future. How many of us are really aware of the challenges that they are facing everyday? How much empathy do we show toward them? Are we sure that we do not discriminate against them?


Having associated with these categories of people for over 26 years of my life, I’ve seen their sufferings from a very close range. With an unsound mind, and having no control over their thoughts, they become a completely different person not known to their dear ones. Those who get the clinical intervention at the right time are the fortunate ones. The rest are either dejected or in extreme cases, leave their home, get lost, and loiter around on the streets.


As a co-founder of Ashadeep, a mental health society, established in the year 1996, I feel fortunate to be a part of their lives in helping them to get back their original life with proper dignity. By providing a place for more than 1500 such homeless people with mental disorders rescued from the streets, and re-integrate them with their families, as they recover after clinical intervention along with psycho-social rehabilitation process, it is truly a great achievement for Ashadeep.


I felt an urge to record the stories of their lives which is going to be a testimony of their existence in this world. After getting them admitted to Ashadeep’s rehabilitation homes, going through the various therapies leading to recovery and getting a clue of the address of their homes, and finally, reintegration with their families is a long and challenging process. But at the end of the day, it gives me the pleasure and satisfaction that puts me in a good sleep.


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Dr. Anjana Goswami, the founder-director of Ashadeep has extensively covered various aspects of Mental Health in her publications. She has authored two Assamese books on the first-hand experience of working with homeless individuals with mental illness and their transformational stories. Dr. Goswami’s association with Special Olympics Bharat also gives her an insight into the importance of sports for individuals with disabilities, which is often reflected in her writings.

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