by Rohini Vemuganti
Founder Mukul has won a Padmashree for his work at Ashadeep
Bamunigaon is located around 60 kms from Guwahati. I entered this huge complex and was greeted by the head nurse on campus who later took me around the centre. This was Navchetna, a rehab centre for women suffering from mental illnesses. Navchetna, which translates to “A new hope”, is a centre where women are shifted to, after they recover from a severe stage of mental illness. Most of these women suffer from schizophrenia and bipolar diseases. These women are rescued from the streets or brought in by the police. They go through a medical check-up and are then admitted in transit care, which is located in Guwahati city. These women are given medicines and are also given vocational training during their stay in transit care. “Most of the women here are in a manic stage. It is very difficult to handle them since they are not aware of what they are doing,” adds Chandana, the program director of Ashadeep.
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How it all began
Mukul Goswami, the founder of Ashadeep was a bank manager at Guwahati. He is from Shillong. “We were a happy family until my younger sister got affected by Schizophrenia. Initially, we thought it might be temporary and would pass. We never took it that seriously because we were not aware of mental illness,” says Mukul.
He started observing his sister’s behaviour when she was 14 and saw that she wasn’t ‘normal’. He then took her to a neurologist who said it was not his work. After which he had to take her to a psychologist who gave her some medicines. “With those medicines, her condition stabilized. Her symptoms decreased and she started to go back to the school. We thought she had recovered and discontinued the medicines,” he adds.