Anandwan (Forest of Joy), India
School kids at Anandwan
Anandwan (literally Forest of Joy) is located near Warora in the Chandrapur District of the State of Maharashtra, India. It is an ashram, and a community rehabilitation centre for leprosy patients and the disabled from the most socially marginalised sections of Indian society. It was founded in 1948 by noted social activist, Baba Amte.
Baba Amte developed Anandwan to be a self-contained ashram. Residents are self-sufficient in terms of basic subsistence through agriculture. Land fertility in the region has been revived and is maintained by using organic farming techniques and micro-water management. In addition, the ashram has various home-based, small-scale industry units run by the residents that generate income to cover additional requirements.
When the number of Anandwan residents grew, and many more leprosy affected families arrived, the need for schools arose. By enabling the children of leprosy patients to get a quality education, their chances of a quality of life in the outside world dramatically increase. Currently, these children are still not admitted into mainstream local schools because of the stigma they suffer from being children of leprosy affected parents.
Since the founding of Anandwan, 3 primary schools have been started for children affected by leprosy and also specialist schools for visually impaired and hearing impaired children. Each school provides accommodation, healthy food and a loving, nurturing environment.
The Mandala Trust has supported the Anandwan schools with solar powered water heaters and water purifiers, mosquito nets and shoes and clothing for the students, and believe Anandwan to be a humbling example of love and service, with which we are proud to be associated.