During lunchtime, 38-year-old Shraddha Soparkar was waiting for her daughter, who was receiving therapy for cerebral palsy, in a hospital hallway. A person’s ability to move, balance, and maintain posture are all affected by the illness. As Soparkar looked around, she saw that her daughter and another woman’s child were both receiving therapy in the same room.
She saw the lady was only consuming buttermilk for lunch, which made Soparkar grow curious. Not being able to hold back, Soparkar asked the lady why she did not have lunch, to which she replied, “If I eat daily, how will I pay for my son’s therapy?” leaving Soparkar in dismay. “I was frozen for a moment on hearing it. Instantly, I decided to support the lady by paying for her son’s therapy,” Soparkar tells SocialStory. Starting with one child, Soparkar soon started offering financial support to many such children. When she was helping the tenth child, her family suggested she take this initiative on a large scale, and Madhuram Charitable Trust was born in 2019.
The Ahmedabad-based organisation offers physical treatment, occupational therapy, speech therapy, joint correction surgeries, botox procedures, hearing aids, and crutches to children with special needs. The trust launched a scheme called Stepathon in 2021 where it offers free prosthetic legs to those who are less fortunate.
Although Soparkar claims to have a law degree, she never worked as a lawyer. She was born into a business family and got married into one, and until she gave birth to her first child in 2018, her life was all about business. Shruti, a typical baby girl, was born to her. But after Shruti contracted an infection, a cerebral palsy diagnosis was made.
Due to her medical condition, Shruti faced significant challenges in performing basic activities, including walking, sitting, and talking, and she had to undergo four brain surgeries.
“Having a child is a huge responsibility, and when it comes to a specially abled kid, the parent’s role is even more demanding,” Soparkar says. In fact, taking care of a specially-abled kid significantly affects a person’s emotional health. Further, if financial problems are tagged along, the situation worsens.
To provide therapy and operations, Madhuram Charitable Trust has partnered with hospitals such as Sparsh Paediatric Rehabilitation Clinic and Hishu Child Development and Intervention Centre. In addition to helping kids with cerebral palsy, the trust also helps kids with mental health-related challenges like autism, mental retardation, hearing loss brought on by mental health problems, and more. It has so far covered the costs of 800 children’s treatment sessions and 10 children’s corrective surgeries for conditions like polio, vision correction, hearing impairment, and more.