Chennaiites run HEAL Foundation to impart social-emotional skills

Co-founders of HEAL Foundation Chaitali Shroff, retired Captain Lekshmy Natarajan

Chennai: At a time when matters of mind and mental health are brushed under the carpet, here is our Nanganallur resident, a retired Army Captain, Lekshmy Natarajan and her friend Chaitali Shroff from Besant Nagar, run HEAL (Holistic Education and Adaptive Learning) Foundation that imparts social-emotional skills among parents, children and teachers. Through this the duo work towards nation building through children and help people become aware of their own emotions.

The founders speak to News Today about their programmes and dreams.

The one-year old not-for-profit organisation has been conducting several sessions and one among them is emotional hygiene in the institutions that the foundation works with.

Emotional hygiene is conducted separately for children, teachers and parents to make schools and homes conducive and happy place.

Elucidating about it, Lekshmy says, “Parenting is being considered an arduous task of late and picking a fight with children is common. However, little do we realise that the kids are the parents’ mirror image and they imitate the same actions. We educate parents on positive parenting and anger management through ‘Partake parenting’ under emotional hygiene programme. Ideally, parents should reflect, revive and rejoice.”

Similarly, it is taken to the children through ‘Be a better you’ initiative to understand the young minds. “We go to the

‘Joy of teaching’ workshop for teachers conducted by HEAL Foundation at a government school in the neighbourhood.

schools twice a week to address the students and let them open about their core feelings and fears,” Chaitali adds.

The takeaways are discussed with parents and the foundation helps with creating a solution. “Majority of the parents do not realise that they need help and it is totally okay to seek help,” Lekshmy tells.

The organisation conducts ‘Joy of teaching’ for teachers where they are taught about emotional hygiene integration in the classroom and practices to promote the same.

Besides this, they also organise need-based initiatives and remedial education in government schools. Within a year of operation Chaitali shares that they are working with five State-owned schools (three in Nanganallur and two in Thiruvanmiyur). With 15 voluteers under their belt, they have completed 500 hours of volunteering.

Asked about the foundation’s inception, Lekshmy tells, “I was working as a mentor for passion project and Chaitali as a consultant in a private school. We realised that we share similar thoughts and dreams and decided to extend the service to children from underprivileged background.”

To contribute and be a part of the foundation, contact 9600021204 (volunteering) and 9840012468 (workshops).

Bhavani Prabhakar