HYDERABAD: Therapy is expensive, and only those who are privileged enough can afford to seek professional mental health. Those without that privilege usually are not even aware of conversations revolving around mental health, let alone being able to go for therapy.
Two 17-year-olds from the city, Ankitha Vontela and Rhea Thakkal, have been providing guidance on mental health to underprivileged children through their non-profit initiative, Vishwas. Founded in 2019, Vishwas aims to provide mental health support and impart life skills to underprivileged children.
With the help of a crowdfunding initiative by the organisation, the duo managed to donate Rs 14.9 lakh to the Akshaya Patra Foundation. The girls, students of Chirec International School, were selected to present their project in the 5th 1M1B Activate Impact Summit held at the UN Headquarters in New York.
“Vishwasa has now grown to a team of over 40 volunteers and is sending video modules on mental health guidance and life skills to around 250 children across Hyderabad. We aim to make sure our video modules reach every child in need,” says Ankitha.
They saw that although several private schools do work with children on life skills and mental health, government schools and orphanages do not. They then started interviewing children and teachers from different orphanages and schools, and partnered with the non-profit, Manojagriti, headed by Dr Geeta Challa. This helped them gain credibility with several schools.