Shanthigramam – literally “village of peace” – is a haven for aged, destitute persons who once had leprosy. Many of these people continue to suffer due to inadequate attention during the active phase of the disease and are left with permanent deformities. They are unable to earn a living due to the physical deformities, and are rejected by their families due to the social stigma of the disease and their visible deformities. Shanthigramam provides them a home to live and a place where they can die in dignity.
A Registered Trust
Shantigramam is registered under the Societies Act, (Reg. No 104 of 1980) with its own Governing Body and the Director of SIH-R&LC as its President. The Executive Committee meets quarterly and reviews the day to day functioning. Support comes solely through voluntary donations, contributions from the staff of SIHR&LC, Karigiri and well-wishers.
The home grew out of concern for these old, disfigured, rejected Leprosy patients, by Mrs. Manorama Fritschi and Dr. Ernest Fritschi, the founders, who understood their desperate need for shelter, care and, above all, love and compassion.
The concept crystallized and 18 simple cottages (now increased to 20 cottages) were built on a lovely, tree-filled 4.5 acre plot bordering SIH-R&LC, Karigiri, and the first residents moved in to their new found place of refuge in November 1980.
Care And Help
Shanthigramam has a full time warden, a cook, a daily helper and a nurse. Less disabled residents help to maintain a kitchen garden, and graze cattle and sheep. Staff, students doing various courses at SIHR& LC, and well-wishers visit here from time to time.
Every resident of Shanthi Gramam has a story to tell. Read two of such stories below:
Peace at Last…
Pattu was diagnosed with Leprosy at a young age. The disease left her physically deformed and blind. A short-lived marriage and an infant on hand left her destitute. Her meager earning came by begging outside places of worship.
She was treated at Schieffelin Institute of Health – Research & Leprosy Centre, Karigiri. Though she was cured of her disease, her physical deformities and blindness left her helpless. Her son was schooled and put through Technical Training with financial help from SIH-R&LC, and is now employed. Her helpless state made Pattu an eligible candidate for admission at Shanthigramam.
Now, at 70, Pattu is enjoying a peaceful life, with all her psychological, physical and spiritual needs being taken care of. Shanthigramam has helped Pattu and several others like her find “peace at last”.
Relief and Rest…
Muniamma does remember a time when she really was happy. She was married and had two children. Life had meaning and purpose.
Things changed when she developed leprosy. Her husband and daughter died. Her son married, but she was ill-treated by her daughter-in.law.
“There was no one to take care of me” she said.
The disease took its toll and her fingers were badly damaged. In addition she had a hearing impairment. Her problems progressed; she was affected both physically and psychologically. She could no longer work and support herself.
Fortunately, she was considered for admission to Shanthi Gramam and was given a cottage.
Now, at 76 years, she is content; her needs are met. She has a caring environment, amongst others in similar circumstances.
With your help, many more persons like Pattu and Muniamma can also hope to find peace at last…
A Meaningful Prayer
“Lord support us all the days
of this troubled life,
Until the shadows lengthen
and the evening comes
and the busy world is hushed;
until the fever of life is o’er
And our work is done.
Then, Lord, in Thy mercy,
Grant us a safe lodging, holy rest,
and peace at the last”
You too can support Shanthigramam!
Pray for the residents
Visit whenever you can
Celebrate the special days in your family – Birthdays, Anniversaries – with a visit and a contribution – share your joy with them
Contribute in kind – food, provisions & clothes
Become a member of the Shanthi Gramam society by contributing just Rs. 300/- per annum
Sponsor costs of caring for one resident for a year – Rs. 66,000/-
Donate for infrastructure
Donate for a special outing/picnics
Donate at times of special celebrations
Contribute towards an endowment
Contribute towards medical expenses.
The Secretary, Shanthigramam, SLRS Post, Vellore District, Tamil Nadu – 632 106, India.