Called to Serve
In 1975, Dr. ADSN Prasad, a promising 22 year-old speech pathologist and audiologist, was administering to a patient in Madras (now Chennai), India. While performing his routine tasks, he discovered that this client and many others were sacrificing daily comforts for his services. In fact, many refrained from meals and other basic necessities of life in exchange to pay for his services. It was at that moment when he realized that he needed to take action on this injustice. From that day forward, Dr. Prasad dedicated himself to charity for the poor and destitute and Pathway India was born.
Pathway India’s initial years of operation were filled with difficulties. Prasad served destitute children while in the most humble of circumstances himself, providing free services to patients from his small dirt-floored rented house in the slums. At times, food was even scarce for Prasad himself. One day while providing his complimentary services, a mother brought a child to him for medical treatment and never returned. Prasad did what he says “any upstanding person would do” and took the child in as his own and began to care for him. It wasn’t long after when another child was stranded in his possession. Again, Prasad took the child in. A pattern ensued and word spread. Within 3 months, Prasad had over 20 orphaned and mentally challenged children under his care.
Building An Organization
In 1983, Chandra a brilliant girl from business community chose to marry Prasad, joining in his mission to serve the poor and needy. They sacrificed much in their early years of marriage and spent years praying for a better future. Their prayers were answered when, in 1989, William Sheffield (American judge and philanthropist) visited Pathway. An instant bond developed between Prasad and Judge Sheffield and a partnership was forged. In 1992, Judge Sheffield enlisted the support of American donors to fund Pathway’s flagship center, the Center for Rehabilitation & Education of Mentally Disabled.
Help From Key Supporters
Over time, Pathway gained certifications and credibility amongst the Chennai community and abroad. Many prominent supporters from all over the world joined hands to support Pathway. Individuals and organizations nourished the growth of the organization and helped serve hundreds of needy children over the years – most notably Pamela and Alex Martinez, Barbara and William Benac Sr, Stephen B.Oveson, Jean Luc and Carole Butel, Jennifer Peery and The Peery Foundation, Gary and Valerie Sabin, Eric Ottesen, Sabin Children’s Foundation, the Japanese SSGA, the Sasakawa Foundation, and the Children’s Care Emmaus. One final key supporter to note is the highly committed and compassionate Sudha Subramaniam. In 2004, Sudha gave up a lucrative career to join Pathway to serve the needy full-time.
Over the last two decades, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been a great supporter of Pathway (Click here for a Mormon Channel exclusive interview with the Prasads). Church leaders have promised a generous dollar-for-dollar match for all donations to the Pathway Endowment Fund. They plan to match each donation up to a total of $1 million. The Prasad’s and other leaders at Pathway have been very gracious for this generous donation.
Supporters from the LDS Church have promised a dollar-for-dollar match (up to $1 million) for donations to the Pathway endowment fund.
The Prasads with supporters from the LDS Church.
Times of Growth
Increased fundraising allowed expansion to offer free medical and dental services to the neighborhood and after-school tutoring for children. In 2001, Pathway blossomed thanks to a generous donation that funded the establishment of The Pamela Martinez Matriculation School and Home for Children. This school and home are located on a 26 hectare (65 acre) AgroFarm located about 90 km (60 miles) south of Chennai. This facility houses, feeds, clothes, and educates over 200 physically and mentally able but economically disadvantaged orphans and children from destitute families. More donations in 2009, allowed the construction of The Sabin Centre for Education and Rehabilitation of the Disabled, a program that assists teaching vocational skills to disabled adults.
Pamela and Alex Martinez visiting the School.
Over 30,000 Individual Lives Changed
From its humble beginnings in 1975, Pathway has grown into a large institution with two campuses currently serving over 300 disabled and 250 normal children and adults every day. Besides serving the target group of disabled individuals, Pathway has opened its door in offering free medical, psychiatric, pediatric, and dental care to over 4200 patients every month from the poor neighborhoods surrounding its facilities. In total, Pathway has helped over 30,000 children and adults since Prasad began his mission.