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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Pune’s special home built with passion and determination

Mechanical engineer Vasant Thakar started Savali, a home for mentally challenged children in 1992. This came after this daughter Vaidehi, 48, was denied admission into schools 26 years ago

pune Updated: Oct 28, 2018 15:38 IST
Anjali Anand Shetty
Anjali Anand Shetty
Hindustan Times, Pune
Vasant Thakkar (left) shares light moment with his daughter Vaidehi Vasant Thakar (48)  at Savali association in Kothrud.
Vasant Thakkar (left) shares light moment with his daughter Vaidehi Vasant Thakar (48) at Savali association in Kothrud.(Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)

81 year old Vasant Thakar is just as passionate and determined in making this world a better place and changing the lives of the specially abled as he was 26 years ago. Savali, a home for the mentally challenged and those affected with cerebral palsy was born when Thakar’s daughter Vaidehi was denied admission into schools and special schools in the city. Thakar a mechanical engineer by profession who was then working in a reputed company in the city, quit his job and decide to set up Savali with his own finances.

Savali association centre in Kothrud.
Savali association centre in Kothrud. ( Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo )

Today, Savali has 50 occupants and 35 staff members who reside on campus, looking after the occupants every need. Savali, is a charitable trust, that houses mentally challenged and cerebral palsy affected adults and children.“No school was ready to admit my daughter, because she is specially abled and not toilet-trained.This is a home that I started for my daughter and today for the last 26 years we have been serving those who need us,” says Thakar. 

Dr Sharad Hardikar a visiting doctor said, “I am very impressed with the set-up, its functioning, the dedication of the staff and the devotion reflected by Vasant Thakar himself.”

The Trust runs on donations received from companies through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, donors, and sometimes from parents. “Unfortunately, most parents do not want anything to do with their children after they leave them with us.They don’t even bother to send in money. It is saddening and upsetting, but I do not let that affect my morale” says Thakar.

He adds, “I am 81 now, I do not know for how long I will be able to single handedly continue this. I have been approaching authorities from every possible channel but am yet to receive concrete funds, allocated for people with special needs. The government needs to look into this seriously and take required action. We cannot just ignore this section of society.”

 Activities at Savali association centre in Kothrud.
Activities at Savali association centre in Kothrud. ( Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo )

Sadly, this scenario has led to Thakar reducing the number of intakes every year. He shares that the expense for each member runs between ₹15,000 to ₹20,000 every month. Apart from this there are staff expenses, building maintenance, lights bills etc. “Also, you no longer find devoted and dedicated staff. They need special care and most importantly patience and love. I hope more people come up to extend their support.”


Savali is set-up on a 8,500 sq ft plot in Kothrud

It houses 50 people (a mix of men and women)

They are looked after a staff of 35 people

Youngest member: 2 years 

Oldest member 60 plus


Vasant Thakar background

Vasant Thakar is currently taking it slow owing to age and health reasons.

However, he has been working towards handing the operations to the next generation and spends time training them for it.

He is also the founder member of Parivaar (National Federation of Parents Association for persons with Mental disability) since 1995; Member of Local Level Committee National Trust, Dist Pune and Member of National Handicap Finance Development Corporation, Loan Committee, Maharashtra State

Activities at Savali

Special School and Day Care Facility

Vocational Training

Special Teachers Training

Awareness Programme

Residential Care

First Published: Oct 28, 2018 15:37 IST