Started as a home for destitute women (Athani) and a day-care centre for the mentally ill, Abhaya has expanded to care for drug addicts at ‘Bodhi’, house discarded children of socially rejected women at ‘Abhaya Bala’, and provide free accommodation at ‘Mitra’, where women who have once again found their feet live, paying just expenses. It’s become a commune that encloses the complexities and accommodates the ugly dregs of society—an attempt to replace the ugliness with compassion and hope.
I too am a refugee. Let this land be a refuge for the homeless and unfortunate," the Dalai Lama had said while laying the foundation stone for Abhayagramam in Thiruvananthapuram in 1992. It did become a refuge, for the destitute, the mentally ill, the drug addicts and the children of social outcasts. The organisation has been nurtured since its formation in the ’80s by poet-activist Sugathakumari.