Anandwan, the very first project and headquarters of MSS, is a world-renowned, presidential award-winning village. It was established by Baba Amte with six leprosy patients, 14 rupees in hand and unrelenting optimism in 1949. It is a co-operative village carved out from barren land by the crippled soldiers of MSS such as leprosy survivors, youth and children with different disabilities, orphans and destitutes. Anandwan is home to 2500 such people.These people, once rejected by society, are now socially independent, live off the land, and have set the world standard for rehabilitation and have coordinated some of the most daring social and ecological programs in India.
Spread over 464 acres of land, Anandwan has different kinds of activities including hospitals, an orphanage and homes for the aged, workshop for assistive devices, modern agriculture and agro-industries, productive units, formal and special academic institutions, vocational training centres etc. All of these are efficiently run by the inhabitants of Anandwan, most of who have some form of physical disability. Through a self-sustaining economy, Anandwan produces goods such as cloth, food grains, milk and household items worth 40 million rupees annually.
It is a miniature India where unity, peace and harmony reign supreme. For decades together, these people are working with a motivation, born out of a sense of belonging to a shared dream, which is very much their own, for which they are collectively responsible. Anandwan is not just a rehabilitation centre where thousands of leprosy afflicted and physically challenged find food and shelter, but it is also a school from where they learn lessons of self-help, self-respect and selfless service.