NGO Life with Equality rescues, provides shelter to stray animals

Chennai: Day or night, Sowmya Sankaran does not worry if she gets a call to rescue stray animals or perform obsequies. Moved by the plight of homeless people and animals, the engineer-turned-writer and a resident of Ram Nagar founded ‘Life with Equality’, a social platform to help the needy, in 2014.

“With me being at the peak of my career, an out of the blue thought of giving back to society and a personal incident made me ponder over it. Soon after which I started the non-governmental organisation. I initially focused on managing the food waste by distributing to people and over time I expanded by including animals,” she told in an interview to News Today.

Starting with 10 people, Sowmya made it a point that they are fed and wanted to give them a shelter to live. “I created employment opportunity with support from several people. Later, I realised that there are benevolent volunteers to feed the humankind but not animals,” the 29-year-old social worker adds. Upon realising this, she shifted
the focus predominantly towards the stray animals that led her to adopt a village located 10-km from Madurantakam.

“I constructed an animal shelter that also provided an employment opportunity to people residing there. We treat injured animals and it is a place where creatures that are in their last stages of life are accommodated there. Dedicated families
from the villages lent their support to manage the haven,” Sowmya says who is also a media professional.

Members of ‘Life with Equality’ supporting for the cause of feeding everyone.

Taking cognisance that livelihood opportunities was the need of the hour she has been helping them since then.
“People over there were naturally farmers and hence I did not want to deviate from the occupation and came up with mushroom cultivation and areca nut plate production. It kicked off well and the employees are also monetarily benefited through it. It happened because it touches society and the quality of the value-added end products,” the social worker adds.

To bring in more families into the group, Sowmya is currently thinking of ways to expand the venture and also construct mini homes for inmates.

While this has been her contribution towards her fellow people in society, Sowmya does the burial service of stray animals. However, it was not easy. “Since the beginning, my parents were not happy with my going to graveyards at odd times. But after marriage, my husband has been with me through thick and thin.”

“We have spent many Deepavali mornings at the burial ground than at home,” Sowmya adds. She further says that finding a volunteer has been a challenge. “Either it is the distance or the odd timing that is a constraint for the volunteers. For activities taking place in the city, the volunteer base is quite bigger than the one at the village.”

Narrating about moving incidents, she says, “Many parents with autistic children visit the animal shelter to spend time and they personally witnessed their child changing and adopted animals like rabbits and guinea pigs.”

Asked about meeting the financial needs, she adds, “The activities happen through donation.” It does not end right here. Being a writer, Sowmya has penned a book ‘Voice of Voiceless’ in 8.43 hours that made her add World Record holder under her belt.

She can be reached at [email protected]

Bhavani Prabhakar