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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Banyan

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: The Banyan: Changing the face of mental health care in India. The Banyan provides accessible services to those with mental illness who would otherwise fall through the State care cracks. It does this with health centres in communities that ensure access to social and medical care for the client and their family. With this philosophy of inclusive care for all at its heart, The Banyan also strives to raise awareness and dispell the myths that surround mental illness in order to sensitise families, communities and government, and instigate a real change in the profile and direction of the sector as a whole.

Geographic areas served: Tamil Nadu

Community Stories

27 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization is unique and it is creating a huge impact on mental illness in India. I volunteered here and saw first hand the amazing care provided to the residents of The Banyan.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I remember half way through my placement thinking, this is not what I came to do. However, it could not have turned out better. The Banyan not only brought me together with a lot of different people, but also gave me a great experience and insight into the challgenges that an NGO (especially one that works in the health field has to face.) I am a medical student, so I was expecting to have a bit more contact with the patients, itself and that did not really happen. However I think that was also partly my fault as I maybe had a bit too much expectations. I was working in the main office instead helping to set up a shop. It was something that I have never done in my life before and probably will never do, so it was good for me to see things from another perspective. All in all I loved my stay at banyan.

12

Volunteer

Rating: 4

It was such a privilege to serve the Banyan this summer. This charity is doing amazing things. The medical treatment, as well as the indepence and pracitcal skills the women at Adaikalam are receiving and learning is fantastic. The staff are committed and hard working. This charity is forward thinking as well as constantly trying to encourage the government into using its money better for the sake of their nation. But there are still so many untouched mentally'ill persons in Chennai and across India, but it needs the funds for the work to grow.

12

Donor

Rating: 4

I don't have any direct experience with The Banyan but from what I hear, they're doing a swell job. From a questionnaire that I helped translate for them, I could infer that they're doing some amazing work.

12

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned for 10 weeks at The Banyan from May-July 2009. I created an employee satisfaction survey and connected The Banyan's vocational training unit with a U.S. fair trade wholesaler. I was very impressed with The Banyan's commitment to serving the homeless women of Chennai who struggle with mental illness. They work tirelessly to provide direct services and to advocate on behalf of the mentally ill in the city .

12

Donor

Rating: 5

A brilliant organisation doing some groundbreaking work. The Banyan is a young organisation and are working with a very unpopular cause. Women are bought from all across the city and given the support they need over a period of time to regain their life and identity. This includes everything from the basics of food, shelter and company to counselling, medication, vocational therapy and finally rehabilitation to their family wherever possible. The Banyan believes that mental illness can be tackled, allowing sufferers to lead a productive life. The Banyan also has a strong and supportive trustee board and a unique vibrancy. We have previously funded some staff costs and some research to help us understand the impact of their approach. In short they really dserve wider recogntion of their acheievments which will enable them to expand their reach across southern India and beyond.

5

Donor

Rating: 5

Great & dedicated team of people put together. Have seen a part of their journey from being led by involved founders to a core group of committed professionals.

4

Client Served

Rating: 3

Great people who share a common purpose. An organisation with dedicated and loving people whom you feel delighted to be with. Hardworking and always on the go to serve for others, I would surely like to be a part of the organisation anytime i can.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My stint as a volunteer at The Banyan was an extremely enriching experience and the organization's commitment towards the rehabilitation of mentally destitute women was very moving.

4

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first got involved with the Banyan soon after they started - it was around 1996. I visited their service most days for six months or so, and spent time with the service users when I was doing some volunteer work elsewhere in Chennai. Since then I have watched them develop and it has been awe inspiring. They have blossomed into something wonderful that has changed so many peoples lives forever. Their starting point of respect for each individual as a human being has in my opinion been fundamental to this success. The moto of "I exist, therefore I am" runs through every aspect of their services. There is no organisation that I respect more than this one for its' committment to people with mental health problems, and to increasing public awareness of this long taboo subject.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with the Banyan from May-June 2009. As an American citizen I was so impressed to see how well organized The Banyan is and how well used and needed the funds are. I am proud to say that I was a volunteer at The Banyan and would come back to volunteer anytime.

6

Former Volunteer

Rating: 4

Awesome experience. I found i can do a lot to help the cause of banyan. It is very close to my heart now ...

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Banyan has an amazing energy and sticking power in fulfilling the task of spreading awareness of mental health problems in India. My collegues impressed me deeply in their determination to enlarge the services for their clients and their political activity and advocacy. I would always work again for the Banyan!!!

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A brave NGO which does a lot of work (and less of talking). Their fundraisers not only help them in getting their much needed funds, but also raise awareness about various social issues.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

i have been a part in translating the documents which contain the feed back from the care giveres and the re- integrated client about the disability allownce they are getting through THE BANYAN, under this a study has been conducted named Impact of Banyan’s Monetary Allowance (DA) on Individual beneficiaries and their families in and around Chennai

6

Volunteer

Rating: 4

It has been rewarding to see "The Banyan" grow over the years and expand their objectives and initiatives for the mentally challenged women. Vandana, Vaishnavi and the Banyan Team-as Anuradha, Maslyne.. down the years certainly inspired us on the concept of synergy and that of.." we will create... from nothing"! Wish them all continuing success and God bless in all their future projects. Dr Deepa and Mrs Parvati-- Menons Chennai

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Accompanied the staff and its members on a social cause. awesome staff , ensured that every inmate was taken care and they equally had fun. wish we had more like u guys do !!!

6

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Banyan does not remain content with treating, housing & rehabilitating several hundreds of mentally ill homeless women . Its been working towards spreading awareness , developing skills to tackle the issue, sensitising & ennabling communities to deal with the issue & tying up with other NGOs to replicate such endevours across the country.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been with them. They treat the people just as normal ones in talking/making fun and the mentally challenged just forget that what are they.

6

Former staff

Rating: 5

I worked for The Banyan from 2007-2008 and was astounded by their forward thinking and inclusive way of working; The Banyan is fighting against taboo and stigma regarding mental illness in India, and is fighting for better treatment and recovery opportunity for sufferers. They are promoting basic human rights for a forgotten section of society in India as well as quite literally saving the lives of thousands of mentally ill homeless women. They are holistic and respectful, they work in partenrship[ with psychiatrists, governement organisations as well as faith healers. In this way they can promote positive change for sufferers of mental illness with long term results.