The Story of Maharishi Dadhichi

Pathway believes in giving comprehensive rehabilitation and education to all the special children it serves, hence another dimension of holistic approach using theatre as a medium has been utilized. Pathway joins hands with a wonderful organisation known as RASA to allow our children to grow in this sphere. Two hundred children from various special schools were drawn together to perform a mega event, based on stories drawn from Hindu mythology, at Narada Gana Sabha under the banner of JAYA.

Children of all ages had practised their part for nearly three months. As the event day dawned there was hectic activity. As usual, the older kids took care of the younger ones and finally after all the checks and rechecks of their baggage and snacks they boarded the bus to the city’s main theatre hall. Food, which is always their highlight of a usual day, was given the least importance. They constantly chattered and smiled as our cast of 20 children made their way to the make-up room to finally don the beautiful costumes which would transform them into the various characters. It was amazing to watch their confidence in whatever they do. The fear of stage was missing.

As their part of the programme, the children of pathway depicted the goodness of a “rishi” known as Dadhichi.

The brilliant portrayal of Lord Indra was enacted by Prabhu.  Vrinda, also known as the demon or Saurav, was played by Prasanna. The forest creatures were played by Mariya and Devi as peacocks, Srinidhi, Divya, Priya and Anitha as deters, and Prathap and Harish as parrots. The befitting role of Lord Brahma was enacted by Mohammed and Godess Saraswathi’s role was portrayed by Vani. The peasants were staged by Tamizmani, Karthik, Manoj, Sudeep and Anand. The other court kings of Lord Indra were played by Saravanan, Bharath, Gopi, Vaidhyanathan and Joseph. Madhavan, Murugappan, Venkat and Deva shared the role of the asura Vritra. The main central character Dadhichi  was astoundingly enacted by Subramani.

The precision in their movements and complete synchronised act of all the cast members evoked thunderous applause. After the event was over they proudly posed for photographs.

Pathway Excellence Awards for 2015

Our founder had decided that every year some awards will be given in honor of donors who have so tirelessly worked to uplift the children and give them a new life. Three awards have been instituted in name of Judge William Sheffield for a boy child, ADSN Prasad for a girl child, and Sabin Foundation for a deserving child. All these awards are meant to honor children who come from very difficult backgrounds and still excel in their studies. Their grit in completing the course is something to be recognised by all.

Though we had decided to award these children in the month of November, we were hit by nature’s fury and the entire centres were challenged by floods for two months. Our energies were focused on getting back to normalcy. By January things started settling down and we re-organised ourselves to complete this event. Our mentor and friend Prof. M S Swaminathan very graciously agreed to meet the children and bless them. We are very thankful to this wonderful gentleman who has been acclaimed by TIME magazine as one of the twenty most influential Asians of the 20th century and one of only three from India, the other two being Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore. He has been described by the United Nations Environment Programme as “the Father of Economic Ecology” because of his leadership of the ever-green revolution movement in agriculture and by Javier Perez de Cuellar, Secretary General of the United Nations, as “a living legend who will go into the annals of history as a world scientist of rare distinction”.

The awardees were nervous and eager to meet this wonderful soul as we traveled three hours to Prof. M S Swaminathan’s cabin. As soon as he saw me he got up from his chair and without a word hugged me and softly spoke about Prasad and said how much he had meant to him. No words were necessary since his expression and the silent tear said all. My eyes were brimming with tears but the happiness of the event took over as he focused on the children and greeted each one of us with fatherly warmth. He remarked that he was blessed to be a part of Pathway, recalled the work that Prasad had done, and blessed us to carry on this wonderful work. We thank him for his kindness, humbleness, and love.

One of our staff, Linda, read out the awards. The first, given in the name of Dr. A D S N Prasad, was to a girl child Gomathi, and the Sabin award was given to Kaviyarasi. These two girls hail from very humble, poverty stricken background with only the mothers acting as angels in bringing up their children. In spite of having some medical discomfort in standing, the professor made us proud, acknowledging the parents of the children by honoring and underlining their sustained efforts in bringing them up facing all adversities.  The Judge William Sheffield award was given to Surya who was an orphan when he came to the farm in his pre-kindergarten school days. He always believed that Pathway was his family which will always be close to his heart. He has made us proud by following all the right paths and today has achieved a diploma in computers.

Each child was personally honoured with a shawl, a garland, a medal, a small gift, a cash prize of ten thousand rupees, and a certificate to their name which they proudly displayed in the group photos which were taken after the event.

Thanks to the Supporters of Pathway

Over the years, Pathway has gained many great supporters. Below are pictures and descriptions of those who have been so generous with their time and means in helping Pathway grow.

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Prasads with Michael Farine, Drawings and Sponsorships EMMAUS, Berne, Switzerland. Has been helping Pathway generously for over 25 year, till date. DS EMMAUS assists organization in many countries of the world serving the poorest of the poor.

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With Representatives of Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Geneva. LWF has assisted Pathway generously to serve the children with special needs ” Picture: Barbara Knowles of LWF

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Prasad with Ruby Ponniah and S Santiago, India representative of BH Misereor ev. Aachen, Germany a Roman Catholic Organization, supported Pathway to build its vocational training and residential centre at Koothavakkam.

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Government and people of Japan assisted Pathway with sizable support to equip and furnish the new building for the disabled at Chennai. Photographs of grant ceremony, present (left to right)
The council General of Japan, Prasad, Vice Counsel General of Japan: Eri Kitagawa, Ruby Ponniah and Chandra Prasad

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The Lutheran World Federation and the United Evangelical Lutheran Churches of India supported Pathway with generous assistance along with LWF, Geneva. Present: Dr K Rajarathnam, General Secretary UELCI and professor at Madras University.

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Along with representatives of BH Misereor ev. Aachen, Germany a Roman Catholic Organization, supported Pathway to build its vocational training and residential centre at Koothavakkam. Present grant ceremony: Archbishop of Madras – Mylapore Dr Casamir Gnanadikam,SJ, with Prasad, Chandra Prasad and Ruby Ponniah

Sugumar

Sugumar is one of Pathway’s recent graduates. A pleasant, good-looking youth with a shy smile and large, striking eyes, Sugumar entered Pathway as a small child. His father left before his birth and his mother has worked long hours for years at a hotel in Chennai, saving whatever rupees she could to help with her son’s future education. Though he excels at math and is a hard worker, Sugumar feels that a career in catering would be both practical and obtainable.  He expresses his gratitude to Pathway for kindness and generosity shown him.

Physical, Mental, and Financial Stimuli

It was a great sight to witness as children of all ages were thrilled to see the arrival of brand new colourful play equipment at the Pamela Martinez school and Children’s Home. Thanks to the continued generosity of the State Bank of India for donating this play equipment which would bring great happiness in the hearts of hundreds of children.

Through this munificent support the organization procured the following play equipment: Rocking Chair, See-Saw four seater, a six seater Merry-Go-Round, Duck Merry-Go-Round with four seats, Horse Merry-Go-Round with four seats, 12 feet Roller Slide, Millipede, Flying Butterfly, Twister, Walker, four seater See-Saw, Hang N Rotor. In addition to these physical playthings, Pathway also procured several specialized teaching and demonstration models, experimental sets, and equipment in various branches of science to stimulate the gray matter of the children.

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State Bank of India, touted to be the largest bank in the world (with network of largest number of branches), has been a constant and continuous supporter of Pathway. Previously the bank has donated funds to procure kitchen equipment, bakery equipment, an ambulance to offer community based rehabilitation in various villages, etc. A cheque was handed over to Prasad in a simple function by Mr Vidya Sagar, Regional Manager, State Bank of India, in the presence of Chandra Prasad, Sudha Subramaniam, M A Ramar, Dhuli Patnaiak, Dr Ravindranath and a host of officers from the Bank.

“Back to School”

Shilpa today is a young women of 23 years, bubbling, beautiful and confident, ready to face the world, willing to change lives of others, willing to meet challenges!! What brought this great transformation, what brought this drastic change from a shy, fidgeting, insecure and an introvert girl who joined Pathway in 2002? Shilpa is now eager to share with everybody this miracle.

She says “I was born in Kerala. My mother’s name is Mini and father is Padmakumar. I was told that my father abandoned the family when I was born, and we were in great poverty because of this. My mother was working as a nursing assistant and was in no position to take care of the family. My mother heard from one of her friends about Pathway. During a bright April morning, we visited Pathway at Chennai and met the director and director madam ( Prasads ). We immediately liked them and the place, as they showed great love, warmth and kindness. Soon my mother took me and admitted me in the Pamela Martinez School and Children’s Home at village Agili”.

“I was depressed and sad to be away from my mother, but soon I was embraced with open arms by many friends who showed great love, by the teachers at school, and by the warden and house mothers who readily shared their warm love. I now started enjoying living at Pathway and was admitted in third grade directly. Living in dorms at this wonderful place taught me many great things, it taught me discipline, humility, love, and above all love for God. Living here also helped me to learn to speak in English without fear or shyness. The chance to partake in extra-curricular activities changed my life for ever.

“After graduating from Pathway I attended a different school and a leading college, obtained my university graduation degree in zoology and biotechnology. and also certification from Institute of Airlines and Travel Agency (IATA). Now I am independent!!!”

Shilpa was thrilled when she received an invitation to volunteer at Pathway. She says “I am grateful to Pathway family and its directors (to whom she fondly refers as Mom & Dad, particularly to Sudha Subramaniam who has been a pillar of strength!!!) for giving me good education, health care, and everything. Now I see the children enjoying school, the play ground, the large library, the well equipped computer lab, etc. I take it on myself to explain to the children how blessed they are! I also tell them how the outside world is’. She adds “I believe Pathway is like a banyan tree and we are under this tree safe and secure. I am thankful for this golden opportunity to get back to my school to serve.”

“Back to School”

Shilpa today is a young women of 23 years, bubbling, beautiful and confident, ready to face the world, willing to change lives of others, willing to meet challenges!! What brought this great transformation, what brought this drastic change from a shy, fidgeting, insecure and an introvert girl who joined Pathway in 2002? Shilpa is now eager to share with everybody this miracle.

She says “I was born in Kerala. My mother’s name is Mini and father is Padmakumar. I was told that my father abandoned the family when I was born, and we were in great poverty because of this. My mother was working as a nursing assistant and was in no position to take care of the family. My mother heard from one of her friends about Pathway. During a bright April morning, we visited Pathway at Chennai and met the director and director madam ( Prasads ). We immediately liked them and the place, as they showed great love, warmth and kindness. Soon my mother took me and admitted me in the Pamela Martinez School and Children’s Home at village Agili”.

“I was depressed and sad to be away from my mother, but soon I was embraced with open arms by many friends who showed great love, by the teachers at school, and by the warden and house mothers who readily shared their warm love. I now started enjoying living at Pathway and was admitted in third grade directly. Living in dorms at this wonderful place taught me many great things, it taught me discipline, humility, love, and above all love for God. Living here also helped me to learn to speak in English without fear or shyness. The chance to partake in extra-curricular activities changed my life for ever.

“After graduating from Pathway I attended a different school and a leading college, obtained my university graduation degree in zoology and biotechnology. and also certification from Institute of Airlines and Travel Agency (IATA). Now I am independent!!!”

Shilpa was thrilled when she received an invitation to volunteer at Pathway. She says “I am grateful to Pathway family and its directors (to whom she fondly refers as Mom & Dad, particularly to Sudha Subramaniam who has been a pillar of strength!!!) for giving me good education, health care, and everything. Now I see the children enjoying school, the play ground, the large library, the well equipped computer lab, etc. I take it on myself to explain to the children how blessed they are! I also tell them how the outside world is’. She adds “I believe Pathway is like a banyan tree and we are under this tree safe and secure. I am thankful for this golden opportunity to get back to my school to serve.”

Honoring C R Ranganayaki

With anguish and with a heavy heart we announce the passing away of Mrs C.R. RANGANAYAKI at age 99 years. She was absolutely healthy and active until very recently. Hailing from one of the prominent families of Chennai, she retired as a professor in physical education from a leading government college. She served Pathway for over 20 years as president, vice president, and most recently as trustee of the Dr Dathu Rao Memorial Charitable Trust, which is the Indian tax-exempt non-profit which holds Pathway’s funds. She was highly supportive of the work and mission of the organization, and loved the services rendered for the disabled and poor.

In the year 1990 Prasad and the dear late Ruby Ponniah met this lady in her beautiful old stately bungalow near the famous Marina beach in Chennai. Those were the days of struggle, as Pathway was run in a rented premises in Adyar, and Prasad was feverishly trying to get hold of a piece of land to construct their own building. She joined them in a series of meetings with Manda Krishnamurthy a very well known ‘social worker’ who was in charge of the largest and oldest orphanage for girls in Chennai, the Avvai Home, and whose husband, Dr. Krishnamurthy, eminent oncological surgeon and chairman of the famous Cancer Institute, was the son of Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy, Free India’s first woman doctor. These meetings paved way for them to contribute the piece of land where the current Chennai building was built with fabulous support from Judge William Sheffield.

We greatly miss your kindness, benign presence and wise counselling. Thank you for your grand life and wonderful contribution!!!.

May = Summer Break

In addition to being the hottest month of the year, May is the time for Graduation and Summer Break when the students at the Pamela Martinez School visit their relatives. Dr. Prasad and Chandra took this opportunity to travel to the U.S. and meet in person with some of Pathway’s supporters.

Prasad met with a group of U.S. volunteers to answer questions and give instructions. Pictured (from left to right) Zaid Malhees, Social Media Team; Abby Wells, Social Media Team; Erica Morey, Volunteer Program Team; Richard Flores, Social Media Team; Scott Christensen, leader of Social Media and Website Teams; Ben Ehlert, Endowment Team; Dr. David Bryce of the Marriott School of Business at Brigham Young University, leader of the Endowment Team and member of the Pathway Advisory Committee; Karen and Jim Dosdall, newsletter editors; (not pictured) Kyle Tuft, Social Media Team; Dr. Gordon Gibb, Special Education Dept., BYU.

Of course, the most important person of the Prasads’ visit was their newborn first grandchild, Wyatt Rohan Prasad, born in April, this year, to Chetan and Tessa Prasad in Provo, Utah.

Congratulations to the 2015 Graduates

The year 2014-15 has been a great year for the children of Pamela Martinez/Pathway Matriculation School, climaxed by the fantastic news that all the students had passed the 10th standard examinations. It was delightful to hear the laughter and see the smiles of children. Soorya and Charles, who had caused some concern, had also passed. It certainly called for celebrations. A colourful event to celebrate the occasion was held at Pamela Martinez Matriculation School.

It was interesting to see that girls had performed considerably better than the boys, as with the previous years’ rankings. Among the girls, Jyothilakshmi received 92.3% for Pathway’s highest marks, with centrum in science and social studies, while Karan scored 82% to lead the boys.

All the children did well, receiving excellent support from the teachers. The students had the opportunity to tackle several practice exams before the final government tests. This experience was spearheaded by Sudha Subramaniam, who devised methods to make lessons interesting and to improve scores, introducing novel techniques and designs, being ably assisted by Principal Annadurai. The efforts of the teachers need to be praised as each one of them took upon themselves the responsibility to guide and goad each child to study and perform. Teachers Gunasundari, Subhashini, and Dhanasekaran, along with Principal Annadurai, were honored during the occasion.

It was really wonderful to see the performance of Jyothilakshmi, who had scored 92.31% in aggregate, topping the area, with centum or full 100% score in science as well as in social studies. Pathway salutes this girl and has selected her to receive the Pathway Excellence Award, comprised of a cash award and a citation, that will be presented at a later date. This quiet, unassuming girl, hailing from a very poor and dysfunctional background, without a mother, was described as extremely studious and focused by Sudha Subramaniam who had groomed this girl as well as other children in the class.
Jyothilakshmi in her speech thanked Pathway for everything. She described her 12 year stay at the Children’s Home as a fabulous experience. She conveyed her grateful thanks to teachers, warden and caretakers for caring for her. She had words of advice to her juniors, She asked them to be obedient, listen to the teachers and elders, and study hard. When asked what she intended to study in college, Jyothilakshmi said that she was dreaming to become a doctor.

This was a special time of jubilation as the students arrived one by one. It was touching to see the exchanges between the teachers and students, as all celebrated the success of their efforts. There were tears, both of happiness and sadness, as the children said their farewells and prepared to leave their Pathway home and felt both anxiety and excitement about the next steps they should take.

Sudha Subramaniam addressed the children and the teachers and urged them to do well in their lives. She said that Pathway’s doors will always be open to them for any help they may need. She urged the children to utilize this resource and benefit in every aspect in their lives. She reminded students how Pathway and the school had greatly influenced their lives, as there has been sea change not only in their appearance, growth, and development, but also in their total achievement and potential.

Founder-Director of Pathway, A D S N Prasad congratulated the children and the teachers for this wonderful result. He counseled the children on the values of life that are much more important than just scholastic performance, that it is important to gain all-round excellence in life so that they can be great people of character first and then great citizens of India. He called on each one to follow a righteous path. He asked the children to be grateful and follow the teaching of our Lord, outlining stories of very poor children who had succeeded in life, not only by studying hard but also by contributing to the welfare of the family and of society. Since all the children at the Pamela Martinez /Pathway School were the first in their family to attend school, he said that it was very important that they did well since they would be models to be emulated by generations to come. They need to be grateful to their alma mater and their teachers at all times. Dr. Prasad stressed that young Pathway graduates should excel in English as they proceed higher as it would be the passport for their future.

Chandra Prasad congratulated all the children and teachers and said that she was very proud of their performance and looked forward for their continued achievements in life and welcomed every one of them to contact Pathway at any time. Dhuli Patnaiak congratulated the children. Principal Annadurai and teachers addressed the audience. All the outgoing children were presented with tasty snacks, and a cell phone so they can keep in touch.