Magsaysay Award winner Dr Bharat Vatwani and his wife, Dr Smitha, built Shraddha Rehabilitation Home in Karjat where 120 “wanderers” stay at any given time. “Although we have helped around 7,000 people so far, we have proper records only since 2006 when our Karjat centre came up,” he said. Since 2006, they have treated and reunited 5,489 patients. “This year so far, we have managed to reunite 485 people,’’ he added.
Vatwani said he was ecstatic at the “international recognition” for his work. “I only hope this will bring the focus on the wandering mentally ill people on our roads.” Schizophrenia, a mental disorder characterized by delusions and hallucinations and “hearing of voices”, affects roughly one million Indians every year.