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.
Originally housed in a garage, The Anchorage grew with time, moving first to a 200sq.ft.room in a member’s home and then in 2001, thanks to a large donation from the Government of Japan, individual parent contributions and other generous donors, The Anchorage moved to an office premise in a reputed corporate building at E. Moses Road. In 2008, Unit 2 was set up, again in a prestigious location in Colaba, South Mumbai, which was donated by the family of one of the trustees. Today The Anchorage provides holistic services to 30 differently-abled members.
The aims have evolved over the years with increased numbers, improved facilities and available manpower, staff and volunteers. They are now as follows:
- Dignity and self-esteem through work
- Holistic care
- Community-building – parents, siblings and volunteers
- To reach out to as many differently abled adults as possible directly or indirectly
- Zero discrimination- economic, social or ability-based
- Primary focus on well-being and holistic care e.g. physical, mental, social, psychological etc
- Stress on communication and relationships based on mutual respect and affection between caregivers and members
- Work organization mainly through training & job work contracts
- Additional training and stimulation in the form of life skills education, math, yoga and recreational activities such as pottery, music, dance and games
- Encouraging exposure to society at large through participation in exhibitions and outings
- Multi-disciplinary staff working as a team and learning from continuous observation and experience of what works and what does not. Ongoing review practices
- Intensive involvement of parents and dedicated volunteers
- Commitment to networking, cross-learning and sharing
The Anchorage is a Parents’ Co-operative registered under the Charitable Trust and Societies Act. It has 80G certification under the Income Tax Act and FCRA permission for soliciting donations from abroad and providing tax exemptions.
The persons responsible for running The Anchorage are:
- Board of Trustees: This is the Governing Board and comprises of founder parents and professionals (eight members in all). The Board meets at least twice a year and is responsible for finance, planning and progress review.
- Core Group Committee: The committee is a group of eight parents/siblings. They meet with the Director at least once in two months, provide overall guidance and help with the workshop and finance management.
- The Director: The director together with the staff is responsible for planning and implementation of all workshop activities.
- Staff: Apart from the Director, the staff is appointed in the ratio of 1:7 members. Minimum qualifications are a graduate degree in the field of education (special or general), social work, psychology, or medicine. In addition, there are three helpers for cleaning, work delivery and teacher-assistance. Accounts are managed through the services of an accountant in liaison with the Auditor.
- Volunteers: The Anchorage has thrived on volunteer spirit and dedication. Volunteers come from different backgrounds, bringing their skills and commitment to enrich The Anchorage programme. Volunteers have a fixed-time involvement: typically half a day a week, on a fixed day, similar to what is mandatory for parents/siblings of members.
There are three categories of volunteers:
- General- volunteers who help with job work supervision and quality control
- Teaching resources -volunteers who conduct training & recreation activities.
- Students – who volunteer for project work
- Ms. Deanna Jejeebhoy
- Mr. Jayraj Sheth, CA, Partner with TLC
- Mrs. Deepa Watsa, Ex-Chief, Human Resources, Tata Sky
- Mrs. Vilur Shapoorjee
- Mrs. Swarupa Modi
- Mrs. Yesmina Shah
- Mrs. Nirupa Bhangar
- Mr. Bharat Dafftary, Managing Director, Bharat Serums and Vaccines
The Anchorage Team
- Anita Kumbhani – Director
- Aban Mirza – Co-ordinator (Unit I)
- Shalini Vakil – Co-ordinator (Unit II)
- Alka Baghdadi – Staff Member
- Bina Chhag – Staff Member
- Miloni Vyas – Staff Member
- Mohammed Ismail Khan – Staff Member
- Jasmina Solanki – Staff Member
- Mina Sondherva – Staff Member
- Minal Vanel – Staff Member
- Lalita Gavas – Staff Member