How Preethi Srinivasan Started ‘SoulFree’ To Help People With Spinal Cord Injury. (Part 2)
16 May 2017
Later, in 2011, Preethi realised that there are no long-term rehabilitation centres at all that are equipped to house women with severe disability. Preethi found out that if at some point, her family became unable to care for her, there is nowhere for her to go, anywhere in India. So, her mother inspired her to be the change and that is how they started Soulfree.
‘Soulfree’ public charitable trust was registered in Tiruvannamalai on August 23, 2013, officially. The launch and press meet was held on 7 September 2013 in Chennai.
As long as her father was alive, he would take care of everything. She and her mother stayed within their bubble of safety, insulated and isolated. After his death on June 12, 2007, there was such a big void in her life that she started reaching out to the outside world.
As she slowly came out into the world and started meeting people, she began to be exposed to the terrible plight of those with severe disabilities in India. The government provides no support, and there are no resources in terms of medical care and rehabilitation
Preethi was helping in an unofficial way as much as she could, but she was shocked by the general indifference and apathy in society as well as from the government. When her mother became seriously ill and needed to undergo heart bypass surgery, she began to worry about what would happen to Preethi if she could not take care of her. They began to look for long-term care centres in India that were equipped to care for a person in her condition and were shocked to find out that there are no such centres all over India. Not even one centre from Kashmir to Kanyakumari! So, if the parents or family of a woman in her condition is not able to care for her, there’s nowhere to go. She can only go to the streets or commit suicide. This is the reality today.
Then, she started to hear of cases in which women with spinal-cord injury (SCI) were forced to commit suicide by their own families. The family members think of these people as a burden, as a shame, and refuse to even feed or care for them in any way. Preethi thinks this is murder and is totally wrong.
She felt that if these women had a place to go – a place where they could stay permanently, where they would be cared for by trained caregivers, where they would be able to live with dignity, where they would be trained in skills according to their capacity and provided with gainful employment, and then they would not have to commit suicide. Human life is precious. Human life is an invaluable gift to us from God; this is why Preethi started Soulfree. She wants to enable them to live, to be Soulfree!
By giving people with such severe disabilities and opportunity to live with dignity and purpose, Preethi wishes to set their souls free, to live with love, light, and laughter in their lives.
So far they have not received any assistance from the government. Soulfree will be funded through donations of those people who wish to support our cause.
Also, Soulfree will also be funded through the earnings that she makes by giving inspirational talks in schools, colleges and corporate houses. She feels that her life’s journey and her words can create a positive impact in the world and give people a unique perspective on how to be happy and self-fulfilled despite all external circumstances. Whatever these institutions wish to pay her, will be made as a donation to Soulfree, and these funds will be used to fuel Soulfree’s work.
There have been several key events in Preethi’s life that have all altered it dramatically, but if she must identify one event that has made the most impact, that would be the accident in and of itself. Everything that has happened since then is a repercussion of a single event that turned her life upside down.
Preethi wants to expand Soulfree – impacting lives. Establish short-term rehabilitation centre ‘Soulfree serenity Centre project’. Long-term rehabilitation centre ‘Soulfree symbiosis Centre project’
Personally, she wants to just be fully present in the here and now – surrender as completely as possible to the cosmic flow so that she can serve as an instrument of the divine, without resisting it with “her” limited intellect.
Her message to those with disabilities is,
“To get out there and open up to being vulnerable. Don’t feel afraid to ask for what you need. Don’t hesitate to go after your dreams and ambitions. So what if everything is hundred times more difficult for us? If we work hundred and one times harder, it is still possible to be better than everyone else, still possible to prove our self-worth again and again. Let’s work hard and not make excuses.
She further adds “I don’t know how many people will be open to this message, but if we can use our limitations to expand our internal universe, there is nothing better.”
She wants to convey a message to the readers,
“I urge you to support the Soulfree cause in any way you can – time, resources, expertise, and blessings. If you know anybody, especially women, who are paralysed and wheelchair-bound, please let me know. Soulfree will try to help them as much as possible”
Preethi is a Woman of Courage because she never considered her disability as a hurdle. She is a strong and independent woman who wants to secure life of others.
(Part 2 of 2)
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