The heart and soul behind Light of Life Trust is Mrs. Villy Doctor. Born and brought up in Bombay by Parsi (Zorastrian) parents, Villy grew up with strong spiritual values. A brilliant student, she graduated from the city’s St. Xavier’s College, went on to attain a Master’s degree in Psychology and followed it up with doctoral work on ‘Psycho-biological changes through meditation’. Post her studies, she joined St. Xavier’s College as a senior lecturer; and was invited by Nirmala Niketan a women’s college, as a visiting professor to teach post graduate students ‘Personality theory and Development’.
Villy was appointed as Head of the Department of Psychology at the Sophia College, Mumbai, at the young age of 23 years. She helped young people to overcome their problems of drug addiction, alcoholism and personal emotional problems. In the course of her interaction with such individuals, she became increasingly aware of the positive dimensions of Meditation. Simultaneously, her interest was captured by the state of the mind in meditation and she studied the various schools of thought on meditation as a ‘Science in the Methodology of Personal Development’.
Always keen on studying human behavior, her studies made her empathize with people all the more so. She saw the myriads of problems people lived their lives with, and deduced that poverty and illiteracy were two of the biggest problems that plagued people. According to her, poverty was the bigger culprit of the two. Combined with social norms and a rigid mentality to stay away from change, it made poor people’s lives a vicious circle. She thus set up a counseling centre through which she started to reach out to people.
This went on for a decade after which Villy got married and along with her husband plunged headlong into a market research business ‘Ormax’ – ranked amongst the 3rd best in the country.
So how did someone inclined towards helping the poor get into market research? That’s a common question that people ask of her. But the answer is obvious – market research involves understanding consumer behavior, which is closely linked to Human Psychology.
After 10 years of market research, came the next phase of her life. He delved deeply into meditation and used it as a therapy, a cure-all for the various problems people encountered in their lives. She says, “Meditation brings about so many positive changes.” After studying the subject thoroughly, her knowledge of the various techniques put her in a good position to help others. She thus started a healing center from her own home and this again continued for another decade which saw three healing centers spring up – at Worli, Napeansea Road and at Chowpatty.
It was in 2002 that the Light of Life Trust was set up to realize the untapped potential of rural India. According to Mrs. Villy, “We believe in a natural and holistic solution to life and we focus on three main areas of social improvement through our projects Anando, Jagruti and Aangan.” Thus was born LOLT and its 3 main programmes.
While the organisation’s first batch graduated in 2012-2013, the Trust’s and Mrs. Villy’s work continues. Future plans include taking Project Anando to the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh too. Mrs. Villy has a grand vision of bettering lives of the poor not only in India but also abroad. According to her, there are 4.6 crore children in rural India that need Anando’s intervention and she hopes to reach out to them through the Trust.
She says, “The success of Anando will go a long way in putting numerous rural children across the country on the road to self reliance”. And she is determined to ensure that happens.