Shriya Saran is someone who cares. Her newly-opened spa in Mumbai is run by the visually-challenged

The feeling of contentment cannot be easily defined; it can only be experienced. That's what actor Shriya Saran is experiencing now that her long-cherished dream has been fulfilled. Shriya has opened a special spa — SHREE SPA — run by the visually-challenged. Launched a fortnight ago, in conjunction with an NGO called Shreespandana, the spa has been attracting a lot of attention for its noble cause.

“I have employed visually-challenged people. They are educated, yet nobody wants to employ them. Except for making candles, we can't seem to think of any other form of employment for them,” says Shriya, her passion for the cause reflecting in her tone.

Located at 216, 2nd Floor, Kamdhenu Building No. 1, Ist Cross Lane, Lokhandwala Complex in Andheri, Mumbai, (Shree Spa, ph: 022 26324007/9820640824/ email: shree.spa@gmail.com) the spa offers various therapies, including full body massages (oil and dry), foot massage and back massage. Of the five people that form her staff, two are completely sightless while three have partial sight. But Shriya reiterates, “The visually-challenged are blessed with a keen sense of touch and healing. The sad part is that we, in India, and in many cases internationally, don't view disability normally. We aren't encouraged to study with children with special abilities in school; we can't accept them like other members of the workforce. It is a question of trust,” says Shriya, adding that lack of facilities in India makes it difficult for such persons to function like others. “Look at the signals, for instance. A visually-challenged person can't even do a simple task such as crossing a road without help simply because someone thought that traffic signals should have only lights. If there was some buzzing sound with it, it would be of immense help to the visually-challenged,” she says.

Shriya recalls visiting a school for the visually-challenged opposite her school, DPS, Mathura Road in New Delhi. “I was a regular visitor there. I would watch them go about their activities quite like us. They would play cricket and the best part was their Diwali mela (fair). Since then I had thought if I could do something for them, I would,” says Shriya about her dream.

The spa is, at present, managed by her mother Neerja Saran and Shriya keeps coming in to take care of the requirements. “I would request everyone to visit the spa. It would boost the employees' confidence. Your trust can work wonders,” she says.