Chennai philanthropist Savithri Vaithi, who founded Vishranthi Old Age Home, passed away on October 10. The 90-year-old had reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest in the early hours of Saturday. Vishranthi Charitable Trust, which is based out of Chennai, has been providing shelter for women aged above 60, who have been abandoned by their families, since 1978. Located in Palavakkam, the home presently has about 175 residents.
The home, in addition to providing shelter to elderly women, takes care of their last rites, and Savithri used to perform them herself, as long as she was physically able to do so.
Savithri, who came from a family of judges, began social work early, at the age of 16. In 1974, she founded the Monday Charity Club and subsequently the home, four years later in 1978, as part of the Charity Club. The home was made possible with help from AV Meiappa Chettiyar and HelpAge India. While the former donated an acre of land in Palavakkam, the latter raised funds for the construction of the building.
In an interview with The Hindu, Sundari Selvam, the present administrative officer of Vishranthi, notes that the Monday Charity Club started with a subscription of Rs 2. Women would meet between 11 am and 3 pm every day to hone their culinary skills. The proceeds from the sessions would be distributed to the needy.
A report in The Better India notes that Savithri began social work in the slums of Choolai. As part of a social group called Barefoot Walkers, she would attend to basic health needs and education of the residents of the settlements.
The Monday Charity Club recently celebrated its golden jubilee this year and on the occasion, a postage stamp of its founder Savithri Vaithi was released by Minister for Tamil Official Language and Tamil Culture K Pandiarajan.
Many mourned the demise of Savithri Vaithi on Twitter.