“I am a Thanekar since 1939. I remember, earlier on Ram Maruti road, where I stay, everyone knew each other. Elders even had the right to scold young ones if they were wrong, and no one felt bad.
Today, things are different. People live in their own silos. No one knows who stays next door. Somewhere we have lost the human touch. I used to work in a bank. We knew almost every customer by name. But in the time of digitisation even that touch is lost.
I feel, somewhere this loss of human touch was the seed of Vishwas.
There was a boy in our family, who was a special child. His parents never used to go anywhere because of that. Me and my wife realised that there must be lot of parents like that. So in 1990 we started Vishwas. The idea was to take care of special children for few hours in a day so their parents get some relief.
When we met Dr Shubha Thatte. She said these kids will physically grow but mentally they are frozen. We realised this is a big challenge than just housing them for a few hours. Dr. Thatte also told us to give them some exercise. Like cleaning vegetables, peeling garlic or onions, sorting pulses etc. so they become useful to their household and not a burden.
I was also a part of theatre group called ‘Mitra Sahayog’. So few friends suggested why don’t we get something done from these children. These kids had natural liking for dance and acting. So we started to do theatrical activities.
Government of Maharashtra used to have inter school theatre competition for special children and we won 1st prize every year.
In 2005, I lost my wife to cancer. And since then I am looking after Vishwas. But the love I have been receiving from these kids is beyond words. Somehow, they know what’s unconditional love.
Today, we have 25 children in Vishwas and many volunteers. Our children are making a lot of handicraft for all the festivities. This year .. thanks to social media we distributed 800 big and 3000 small kandils all over. All made by children of Vishwas.”