SHED and Lanu A Aimol

AFNA has been supporting Society for Health and Educational Development. The following is a profile of founder Mr. Lanu Aimol  by Ms. Nazneen Hussain

For most of us, dealing with anyone who is characterised as physically or mentally challenged represents a daunting task. A task that few of us would venture to address and contribute towards making life a little more easier for those who are less


lanu_shed_garvin_brown_Octogenarian Gandhian Garvin Brown of Australia being welcomed by the students and staff of SHED, on the left of Mr. Garvin is Mr. Lanu A. Aimol, Director SHED and on the right is Mr. Jayanta Barman fortunate. But for Lanu A Aimol, who works in the Composite Regional Centre for Persons with Disabilities in the Guwahati Medical College campus, life charted out an exceptional course -- a course that has brought him a deep sense of satisfaction in his heart. Aimol, who runs an NGO called Society for Health and Educational Development (SHED)—a residential rehabilitation center for underprivileged children in Bhetapara, Guwahati, exemplifies the fact that even a small step can initiate immense changes. SHED has been making significant progress in the development of the children, some of whom are autistic. Their amazing progress after spending some time in SHED has paved the way for their transition into a normal school. This is an achievement which is extremely encouraging for all sections of society, and has indeed brought some cheer to the parents of these children. Running this centre primarily with his own salary and from a rented accommodation, Aimol’s story stands testimony to the fact that if there is a will, there indeed is a way.

The beginning

Having run away from Carmel Residential School in 1990, he went home to Manipur, and was fortunate enough to secure admission in another school in Imphal. Life wasn’t easy for Aimol as he lost his mother while in school, and his father remarried. He felt his mother’s absence immensely and being at an impressionable age, he got distracted. And then, in the first flush of youth, he got married in 1997, with no job in hand. But Aimol believes that everything that has happened to him has been God’s plan of guiding him towards a definite path. A path that would finally lead him to work for the underprivileged. “Yes, I was very young, married and without a job. I had no idea what I would do but I knew that I would do something. You see, having been brought up in a boarding school, I was unfit for working in the fields. I had no experience in agriculture and I couldn’t visualize earning my livelihood as a farmer in Manipur. I wanted to go somewhere else, and told my wife to have faith in me and give me four years to prove myself. I asked her to choose between sufferings for four years or to suffer for a lifetime. She expressed her faith in me, and so one fine day, I left home and went to Hyderabad” reveals Aimol.

The change

Armed with a red belt in kung fu and a little skill in playing the guitar, Aimol was seeking a way out when luck favoured him.

His firm belief and faith in God led him to a certain individual who played a key role in shaping his direction. Omar Khan ran a centre for underprivileged children in Hyderabad, and after enquiring about Aimol’s qualification, he employed him to look after the accounts in his organisation and also help in imparting physical education to the children. This was his first encounter with differently able children—an encounter that was to shape his life in the days to come.

Recollects Aimol with an enthusiasm and a sense of gratitude that is palpable: “I began working for Khan’s centre on a salary of Rs 1000 per month. The first day that I received my pay, I felt I was on top of the world! Out of that amount, I sent Rs 500 to my wife back home, and survived on the rest of the amount. It was such an empowering feeling, that finally I was being able to do something.” But soon, he had to think of


Sister Jocelyn Kunnath,  Lanu Aimal, Wahid Saleh and Mrs. Ranjeeta Aimol

other avenues as his family was growing. His friend Divakar urged him to consider studying for his graduation in Mental Retardation. After much deliberation, he applied for the course, with financial help pouring in from Divakar and another warm hearted lady.

The vision

Three years later, by the time he graduated, he realized that this was what he wanted to do-- to work for the physically and mentally challenged. Thereafter, he left Hyderabad, and after working for a short while in Dimapur, he came to Guwahati, having got placement at the centre, under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. And after a lot of thought, he started SHED in 2008, with a bank loan, with the aim of providing a rehabilitation centre for such children. It hasn’t been an easy task for Aimol. Offering selfless service requires tremendous dedication and patience. And a lot of financial support too. Has he received any kind of help? “Well, Wahid Saleh of Netherlands has extended financial help, while the Assam Foundation of North America is also supporting my work. Our biggest problem is that while we are looking to increase the teachers’ salary, we are unable to do so due to constraints. The staff has been extremely co-operative and is also serving these children, but I feel bad. Of course, we would appreciate help from people” says Aimol.

Aimol’s attempt to contribute towards a better life for such children also witnessed the inauguration of a vocational training centre at SHED on March 20, 2010 through the assistance of Saleh. “The idea behind this centre which has a screen printing machine is that it’ll help to do repetitive jobs and generate extra income for SHED” explains Aimol.

As he takes me around SHED and introduces the inmates, I’m struck with the innocence reflected in the eyes of the children. And Aimol’s effort towards helping them is a touching gesture, as much as it is a success story in its own way. A gesture that is sure to leave impressions on anyone for whom service to society still continues to hold some meaning. Truly, it is an inspiring gesture worth emulating…

Nazneen Hussain

I'm a journalist working for the past 18 years in Guwahati, Assam. I write on topics concerning gender, children, as well as general issues. My interests include reading, writing, listening to music, meeting people, travelling, etc. I love nature and am an incurable romantic.