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The Banyan Charity Profile
Battered, bruised, brutally abused, both physically and sexually, ignored by everybody, eating out of garbage bins and with no place to call home. This was the situation of Chennaiís homeless women with mental illness even just a decade ago. They were an invisible minority, and would have stayed invisible had it not been for two young women who put them firmly back on Chennaiís social agenda.
Vandana Gopikumar, then still a Masterís student of Social Work, came across a half-naked, mentally ill homeless woman in absolute distress on the road in front of her college. Nobody else seemed even to notice her. With the help of a close friend, Vaishnavi Jayakumar, she tried to find shelter for the woman. Mental health institutions and NGOs were reluctant to admit the woman in desperate need of medical and psychiatric attention. Several more such encounters over the next few months left the idealistic duo disillusioned and the idea was born that they should do something about the problem themselves.
The Banyan Volunteer Information
As we are a dynamic and growing organization, we are always on the lookout for volunteer support. Our previous volunteers have included people from all walks of life, anyone from school students to autorikshaw drivers , qualified doctors, and film stars. You can offer your special skills or simply donate some time and interact with our residents. By volunteering with The Banyan, you can gain valuable work experience and memories that will last for a lifetime.
Or simply donate some time - come and spend time with our residents or organise some informal entertainment for them.The possibilities are as endless as your creativity and generosity.