All we need is an opportunity to show our potential.
4th July, 2013, Silver Jubilee.
The many faces of success.
The Anchorage Family
THE ANCHORAGE was started in 1988 by a group of five parents and a special educator. Children of all the founder- members were in Sadhana School, a well- established special school in South Mumbai. At the age of 18 they were expected to graduate from the school to make way for other children. Concern for what would happen next and a fear of their children’s regression drove the parents to look for options. They wanted to “do their best” for the child/adult and so with the help of a special educator, the idea to set up a workshop was born. The main purpose was to provide vocational training and arrange for appropriate job work. Over the years the workshop has grown to become a holistic life space.
AT A Glimpse
What People Say ...
When I opened the door, a little nervous on what to expect, I was greeted with a chorus of, “ HI! Good Morning!!”. That’s the kind of warm atmosphere at the workshop. Frankly, I was completely surprised at the joyful greeting I received when I first stepped in. Would you really expect a group of mentally challenged adults to welcome you, a perfect stranger, with all their hearts? No you wouldn’t. But that’s what sets Anchorage apart from the rest. This sheltered workshop is not a place to find adults with mental disabilities, it’s a place where you will find the happiest family of some of the most caring, compassionate and entertaining adults. I was a little apprehensive before I started working with them for the first time, but when I saw them all helping each other out with everything- may it be the screwing of a switch or packing medical packets- I knew that I couldn’t be happier in the midst of these remarkable people. Often, we refuse t find a little place in our hearts and lives for such people, but I can assure you, when you do, you’ll be a happier person. In fact, they won’t hesitate even for a second, to make you part of their special family. It isn’t true that such adults live in a mad world, they live in a perfect world with complete contentment and joyfulness, a world worth envying.
These days, schools for differently abled are heard of. And we all satisfy ourselves thinking that such people are being taken care of. But what happens to them after school? Do they sit at home whiling away the rest of their time? The Anchorage is a workshop for these ‘children’ who are now too big to still go to their special school. It gives them a chance to live like the rest of us – adults.
Before I started volunteering there, I expected the place to be gloomy, myriad with a general sense of pity for these adults. I had mentally prepared myself to wear a smile on their faces just for the sake of the adults who, I assumed, knew no happiness. Boy was I in for a surprise! I was greeted at the door with a hug from Nikita, one of the adults, and a chorus of hellos from the rest of them. The bollywood music and constant giggling ensured that the atmosphere was far from the gloom that I had been expecting. It was like they were more than happy to welcome me into their big family.
And I did learn one thing; you don’t go to the anchorage to make them happy. You do it to make yourself happy.