Mukti – Freedom From Disability

Mukti’s numerical track record is strikingly impressive. Within 35 years, the NGO has conducted over 400 local camps and held 11 international global workshops, to fit over 300,000 physically disabled beneficiaries with artificial limbs. 

Introduces Meena Dadha, Founder, Mukti Foundation, “Each one of us has the right to dream, the right to equal opportunity. But sometimes life throws challenges at you, some more difficult to cope with than others. A singular accident or situation can change life completely. Injured minds and battered bodies come to Mukti every day. Mukti provides them the freedom to dream – and live freely – once again.” 

Since the pandemic, work at Mukti had slowed down and simultaneously the long list of physically challenged people coming to us, kept growing. For them it was a ‘double lockdown’. This motivated Mukti to resume services with approval from Tamil Nadu Government’s Health and Welfare Department while following the safety guidelines stipulated by WHO. 

Left: Child with limb, Middle: Anil fitting a lady with an artificial limb, Right: Child with limb

“During Covid, overwhelming support has come from Ford India Ltd, CKPL Steels and Jiv Daya Foundation, among others. Significantly, over three decades, limbs sponsorship has principally come from the Rotary Club, Lions Club, Jaycees and individual supporters,” states Meena.

Presently, fabricating and fitting prosthesis and orthosis are done by taking adequate precautions such as staff wearing masks, gloves, and PPE kits, and regular sanitising of premises. Covid-19 fitness certificates are mandatory for patients prior to appointment, and one accompanying attendant permitted. Presently, only four limbs are fabricated daily, as against six to seven limbs during normal times. Donors interact with beneficiaries through telephone calls. 

Meena Dadha, Founder, Chairperson and Trustee, Mukti Foundation

The beginning: 
Meena was 18 years old when she married Mr. Mahendra Dadha belonging to a conservative Marwari family in Chennai. She soon decided she wanted to be more than just a homemaker and a caring mother to her daughter Shilpa and son Surendra. 

“The opportunity came when my husband, Mahendra, and I were invited to an artificial limb camp. There were over 500 people waiting – but only a hundred of them were given prosthesis,” recalls Meena.

This made Meena realise that there were a lacuna and an urgent need for artificial limbs. With support from Mahendra and the M.S. Dadha Foundation, Mukti was ‘born’ on 14 April 1986 in a garage in Chennai. Since then, there has been no looking back to the provision of free limbs to all ages of patients who come to Mukti. 

Being new to what she was doing, Meena visited Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS) in Jaipur, which had gained much demand for similar work. “Thirty-three years ago, my first technician Tulsi, now retired, was trained by BMVSS. Mukti has since trained technicians for similar centers all across India and abroad,” she says.

Meena vividly remembers her feelings when the first limb was fitted at Mukti. “Seeing the patient stand on both feet, and with our help take a few steps was the moment which made me feel the worth of living. Seeing tears roll down his cheeks, and of his family, the atmosphere was charged with emotion and I couldn’t control my tears. I also realised that the honour of tears doesn’t belong to women alone – it belongs to all humanity.”

Left : Modification of the mould by prosthetic technician Anil Sharma, Middle: Prepared limbs for various patients, Right: Shatabdi doing suction moulding

Mukti’s workshop in Meenambakkam’s constant inflow of patients daily is due to the word-of-mouth publicity as its main sustaining power. In addition, the media has supportively spread Mukti’s message far and wide.

In India, Mukti has set up camps from Kashmir to Kanyakumari with the help of local sponsors. These serve people who can’t reach Chennai. Lasting eight to 10 days each, about 80 to 100 patients are fitted with artificial limbs or calipers at each camp. 

In 1994 Mukti started providing lightweight polypropylene and PVC calipers to polio victims. The first caliper camp was conducted at Gwalior in 1997 in association with MALT (Mukti Artificial Limb Trust U.K, England).

Limbs are now made based on the latest HDPE (high-density polyethylene) technology. The Mukti Foot is flexible and sturdy, unlike most traditional artificial feet being made.

“Since 2000, at the suggestion of Dr. Sarada Menon from the Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF), Mukti started employing people with mental illnesses. This was a great step forward. Instead of having a bowl in their hands, they have now become bread earners for their families,” informs Meena.

Mukti’s in-house manufacturing of the core components for the fabrication of artificial limbs has two-fold benefits. Besides delivering superior quality artificial limbs, Mukti provides training to its team of physically and mentally challenged workforce who are now crafting the Mukti Foot. 

Being evaluated abroad: 
The International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) based in Copenhagen, Denmark conducts performance tests on various components of artificial limbs and issues a performance certificate. Mukti contacted Dr. J. Steen Jensen, Honorary Treasurer of the Society, with a request to test and evaluate the Mukti Foot. Commendably, it was certified as matching International Quality Standard by ISPO Headquarters. 

“We were the first artificial limb manufacturers in India to take this technology abroad. I am grateful to BMVSS for training our technicians and providing technical assistance that enabled them to go to numerous countries and fabricate limbs. Many were in under-developed countries needing low cost yet highly efficient technology. Apart from Mukti’s own needs, the Mukti Foot is being supplied at subsidised rates to affiliates globally who, in turn, provide mobility aids free to patients,” affirms Meena. 

Requests for training and artificial limb camps have taken Mukti to Nepal, Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico, Moscow, Guatemala, West Indies, Malawi, Ghana and Nigeria.

Triumphs and achievements: 
One of the very many success stories close to Meena’s heart is that of Jagdish. “He came to us as a three-year-old with an amputated left leg. We fixed him with a limb and admitted him to Sishya School, Adyar, one of Chennai’s premium institutions. Over the years, Jagdish continued visiting Mukti regularly for new limbs fitted to size. Jagdish has excelled in art, sports, and music. After studying engineering at St. Joseph College, Sholinganallur, he is doing his post-graduation at Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai.” 

Mukti rehabilitates the physically challenged by providing vocational guidance and training camps to become contributing members of society. Awareness programs such as safe traffic rules, art workshops, cultural programs, and sports are conducted for Mukti’s beneficiaries who, equipped with their new limbs, work confidently towards normalcy.

Significantly, maximising normal schooling opportunities for physically challenged children is being done by integrating them into mainstream institutions. A plus point is the annual, four weeks’ internship at Mukti by five-six students from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK. 

Meena sums up, “They need our empathy, not our sympathy. I find many people with all abilities at times lack the special ability to embrace these people.” 

Art for Mukti
Prakrit Art Gallery in Chennai, founded in 2002 by Meena Dadha, was conceptualised not just as an outlet for Meena’s love for art, but also as a platform for physically challenged artists, and to generate funding for Mukti.

Mukti organises regular week-long art workshops where leading Indian artists interact with talented physically challenged artists. Prakriti sells their creations on their behalf. The renowned artists’ paintings created are gifted to Mukti to augment their financial resources.

Art collectors have the dual satisfaction of owning high caliber paintings, and simultaneously contributing towards Mukti and its artists. 

Besides India, Prakrit has held successful overseas exhibitions in London, New York, the Caribbean, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Nepal.

Top Pic : Differently-abled children attend the Prakrit Art Gallery workshop.
Bottom Pic: Meena Dadha speaking to one of the boys at the Prakrit Art Gallery workshop

Contact for Mukti:
Tel: +91-44-22346973
Email: [email protected]
Address: No.1 Station Road, Meenambakkam, Chennai – 600027 India
Sponsorship cost of limbs: 
Artificial leg with foot: Rs. 5000/— Artificial ankle and foot: Rs. 650/— Artificial arm including hand: Rs. 15,000/— Caliper: Rs. 3,500/-

Donation to Mukti is exempted from Income Tax u/s 80G of the I.T Act 1961. Exemption No: DTT(E) No: 2039(152)/97/98
The contribution for sponsorship does not cover the total cost of the artificial limb or caliper. The M.S Dadha Foundation will provide the balance.

MUKTI will send Donor an acknowledgement and also forward a receipt in due course. Kindly note that donations for charitable organisations as well as remittance formalities may be subject to taxation and other laws as prevailing in the country of residence of the donor. Donors are requested to inquire and conform to the local regulations as required.

Amita Sarwal
Amita Sarwal

After an erratic 10-year practice as a homeopathic doctor, Amita took to writing in 1973.  Her 45+ year career encompasses contributions to a very extensive gamut of magazines and newspapers- in India and abroad-on lifestyle, travel, architecture, personalities, book, and restaurant reviews, etc.  
During her 21 years based in Singapore, she was an Editor with the renowned publisher Editions Didier Millet and completed six pictorial encyclopedias on Indonesia and Malaysia among other coffee table books.  Her personal passion was writing ‘The spirit of SKV’- Chronicle of a Girls’ School to mark the Golden Jubliee (2006) of her alma mater Scindia Kanya Vidyalaya, Gwalior.
Now Amita has an increasingly strong focus on featuring Changemakers/Unsung heroes of India who are helping make a difference to society-“because the world needs to know about their exemplary work.”  Yoga, social work to help the underprivileged, reading and collecting forms of Lord Ganesh also keep her busy.

Read more by Amita Sarwal


Picture Credit : Mukti – MS Dadha Foundation, Chennai

27 thoughts on “Mukti – Freedom From Disability”

  1. Mukti is doing years of commendable and an amazing job. Had been familiar and gave a small donation of a limb many years ago . I pray they continue with support of well wishers and able Doners
    All the very best 🙏

  2. How Blessed to be serving with heart and empowering people with limbs making them self-reliant. A beautifully written article that captures the tone and essence of this amazing service work. I will be happy to spread the word and connect individuals that will gain tremendously from this venture. I wish them the very best in their efforts and inspiration. Great article! Very informative and humbling. Thankyou you bringing these to light through your writings.

  3. What a wonderful article typical of Amita empathising with people who have been selflessly giving their services to the needy in society ….Mukhti is doing an amazing job of empowering people with limbs & making them reliant..
    & also helping people with mental illness procure jobs.
    I wish them all success in this great yeoman service they are doing to society.

  4. Great informative article Amita ji.Beautifully captured the initiative taken by Meena Dadha.Mukti is doing commendable job . Wish this venture the very best.

  5. Well written article Amita! Meena Dadha and the Mukti foundation have done a wonderful job in helping people in becoming self reliant. May they continue to successfully give hope and a reason to live to so many people.

  6. It’s amazing to read about the people at Mukti foundation who are truly serving humanity with so much dedication and care under the able guidance of Meena Dadha. Helping people with disability by mobilizing them to lead their lives optimally is Gods work . Wishing them the very best . Thank you Amita for a inspirational article.

    1. An informative, concise article that highlights the work Multi has done for several years. Good luck for the future!

  7. Meena Dadha has been doing this work in such a dedicated manner. I have personally visited Mukti and its amazing to see so many get relief with what Mukti is providing.I
    My best wishes Mukti and Meena Dadha to continue this philanthropic work.

  8. Thank you Mukti for the selfless work over decades. Truly doing commendable work.
    Many things were brought to light by Amita’s thoughtful article.

  9. I appreciate the writer who has expressed mukti so well and the work mukti is doing. She has put her heart and soul to show what mukti is and what mukti is doing. Heartfelt thanks to her.

  10. Hey Amita… went through the above article… very well written and quite articulate & informative! Keep up the good work.

  11. Brilliant article without which people would not have known about MUKTI and its creator.
    We are also proud of all the workers and for this article. God bless all

  12. This article truly sums up the wonderful work done by Mukti and the positive effects it has had on lakhs of people. It has helped them combat and given them a new life.

    Spearheaded by Meena Dadha for her selfless devotion and time.

  13. A great initiative of Mrs Dugar. A foundation which is 35 years young and has touched so many hearts during its journey. Hope the good work continues in future with the same enthusiasm

  14. Kudos to team Mukti and Mrs Meena Dadha for such commendable philanthropic work. Wishing them all the very best for future endeavors.

  15. Mukti under Mrs Meena Dhadha’s guidance is doing a commendable and amazing job of empowering disabled people. Giving them the confidence to live a respectful life. Wishing them all the very best for the future endeavors in making people self reliant.Keep up the great selfless work.

  16. Wonderful article..By reading this article one can really connect with Mukti and the selfless service. All the best to team Mukti for future..

  17. While familiar with Mukti and Mrs. Meena Dadha’s initiatives, this article has brought to light just how impactful Mukti has been, and how comprehensive their mission, process, and technology is in trying to help the disabled. So much respect for Mrs. Meena Dadha and her team for creating and growing Mukti and its standards, and to the author of this article for capturing the breadth of the organization’s work.

  18. This article captures the significance and accomplishment of Mukti’s work and Mrs. Meena Dadha’s vision and drive to make Mukti an institution of world stature. Congratulations to her and her team.

  19. Such a beautiful article about Mukti which
    will help differently abled people without any
    Expectation. Our heartful wishes and thanks
    to everyone who supported MUKTI.

  20. A mesmerizing article Amita ma’am. Each sentences are so powerful that everyone can connect with Mukti and the cause “Freedom from crutches” by reading this article.
    I have my heartfull gratitude for the beautiful soul who is behind Mukti is one and only Meena Dadha ma’am..

  21. Fantastic article on Mukti’s work and Mrs. Dadha’s vision and perseverance. Congratulations to Mukti and Meena Dadha!

  22. Wonderful article in mukti’ s work. This kind of service need for those people who is amputee, and mukti is doing a great work for our society.I hope this kind of work will continue in future also.

  23. Lovely article Amita ji. While reading this article one can really connect with the selfless service providing by Mukti and the team. Kudos to the team.

  24. Very nice,informative,heart touching article. All the best to team Mukti. A very long way to go..

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