Who Is She?


img_3534M.A., Ph D, DIA; DID: Elc., spl. Ed, USA

R.F.Awardee, 1975-76 (Teachers For The Handicapped, Rotary Foundation of Rotary International), USA

Intensive in-service Trainee, Lebenshilfe Germany (1978-79), In the Field of Mental Retardation

Honours & Awards:�

  • DISES INTERNATIONAL TEACHER OF THE YEAR 2009 (Division of International Spl. Education Services) USA
  • Dy Governor: ABIRA American Biographical Institute USA with a life long title


What is she?

  • President: Nippon Carefit Service Association (NCSA) India
  • Past President: Karuna International Visakhapatnam Dist. Kendra


  • Vice President: Roller Skating Federation Of India (R S F I ) India
  • Chairman:Andhra Pradesh Roller Skating Association
  • Trustee: A.P. Special Olympics Bharath & Vice President, Executive Committee Special Olympics Bharath (A.P.)

Member at International Organizations:

  • IASE (International Association for the special education) USA
  • IASSID (International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities) USA
  • CEC(Council for Exceptional Children) &DISES (Division of International Special Education & Services USA
  • Scientific Committee: European Journal Of Intellectual Disability(EJID) Switzerland.


  • District Cultural Affairs Council, Visakhapatnam. Govt. of A.P
  • District Alumni Association Rotary International RI Dist., 3020
  • Rotary Club Vizag Elite Visakhapatnam Dist.3020

Life member

  • Walkers Club, Visakhapatnam. & Sea Shore Walkers Club VSP
  • FWMR, New Delhi (Federation for the welfare of the Mentally Retarded)
  • APAWMR, Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh Association for the welfare of mentally handicapped.)
  • Junior Red Cross, Visakhapatnam Andhra Pradesh
  • YMCA, Visakhapatnam. Andhra Pradesh
  • ISKCON-VIZAG(International Krishna Consciousness)

Former Positions

  • Former President: Roller Skating Association Of Andhra Pradesh ( R S A A P)
  • Former Chairperson: Juvenile Welfare Board VSP for 3 revenue districts Govt. of A.P
  • Former Member: Child Welfare Committee Women & Child Welfare, Govt Of A.P
  • Former District Governor: Y�sMen International Central India region Dist. East II 1997-98
  • Former Region Chairperson:Lions Clubs International Dist.324 C1
  • Former Zone Chairperson: Polioplus Program of Rotary International R I Dist.3020

Academic Achievements:

  • Doctor Of Philosophy, Ph D ,Dept. of Education, Andhra University 2013
  • Teachers Credentials 1st Division (St.Theresa�s Convent, Eluru 1960-62)
  • Diploma in Acting (Two years course Andhra University 1962-64)
  • Diploma in Play Direction (Two years course Andhra University 1967-69)
  • Master�s Degree in Political Science (Andhra University 1970-72).
  • Special Education SC SC New Haven Connecticut USA 1975 � 76
  • Intensive Course in English (Washington D.C.USA), 1975
  • Intensive-in�service training in the field of mental retardation 1978�79 from Lebenshilfe, the then West Germany.
  • Education Therapeutics: University of Liverpool, U.K., (A quiet place), 2000


  • Diploma in Acting (Two years course Andhra University 1962-64)
  • Diploma in Play Direction (Two years course Andhra University 1967-69)
  • Masters Degree in Political Science (Andhra University 1970-72)
  • Intensive Course in English (Washington D.C.USA)
  • Special Education SC SC New Haven Connecticut USA 1975 � 76
  • Intensive- in �service training in the filed of mental retardation 1978�79 from lebenshilfe , the then West Germany
  • Education Therapeutics: University of Liverpool, U.K., (A Quiet Place)

Professional Experience

  • 50 years of teaching, training and Administrative services to physically and mentally challenged people and to the service providers till to date

Awards Received:

  • Plaque of Honor:1981 from Lebenshilfe Germany; Outstanding Services 1981. Outstanding Young Person Award Waltair Jaycees 1981
  • Outstanding Social Worker: Jaycees International State Award 1982 �NAARI SIROMANI�,Natanalaya, Visakhapanam 1982
  • Uttarandhra Mother Theresa Award: Coastal Andhra Districts 1985
  • Master M.N.Award: The world Teacher Trust 1992, great humanitarian services
  • Andhra Mother Theresa: District Youth Congress Visakhapatnam, A.P.
  • Best Zonal Coordinator: National recognition from Polioplus Committee, New Delhi, 1994
  • Adhyatmika Ratna Award:Maha Kameswari Peetham, 1995
  • School of Theatre Arts Naari Siromani 1996
  • Bharath Excellence Award: from FFI, New Delhi As an outstanding social worker 1999
  • VISAKHA MAHILA RATNALU, City Cable Visakhapatnam, 2001
  • SEVA PURASKARAM Sai Sirisha Foundation, 30. 6. 2002
  • BEST SERVICE AWARD: Dr B R Ambedkar Birth Day Celebrations, 20 April 2003
  • ‘Visakha Ratna�, Visakha Ratna Kala Parishath 2003
  • �Ugadi Natya Ravali Puraskar�, Natya Ravali Music & Dance Academy 2004
  • World life time achievement award ABI USA for outstanding services to humanity
  • Janmabhoomi Award:Govt of A.P: Mentally Handicapped Welfare
  • International Book of Honor ABI USA for Outstanding Achievements
  • Samaikhya Bharath Gaurav Satkar, Madras Telugu Academy Chennai 2005
  • Women Of the Year 2005: Welfare Group of Companies
  • Guardians of Goodwill Award 2006 Chaitanya art Theatres Hyderabad 2006
  • Samaikya Bharath Swarna Puraskar:Bharath Cultural Integration Committee:Chennai, 2006
  • Dharmapuri Spiritual Award, International Center for Indian Culture Hyd, 2006
  • UGADI PU RASKAR: Visakha Samacharam Daily News Paper, 2007
  • SANKRANTI SEVA PURASKARAM Swati Vasanti Cultural Academy, 2007
  • International teacher of the year 2009. Awards from DISES 3.4.2009 & CEC,(Council for Exceptional children) USA 4.4.2009 received at Seattle, Sheraton, USA.



  • Andhra Mother Theresa: City Youth Congress Welfare Association 2010
  • SEVA KALA SAMRAT, PACT Visakhapatnam 5.9.2010
  • NAVARATNALU 2010 World Women�s Day AWARD 2010
  • Visistha Puraskaram; Help to Help Foundation, London
  • Ugadi Puraskaram: Maha Kameswari Peetham Samsthan 4 April 2011
  • Seetharamaiah Sangeetha Seva Trust: Honour with felicitation for out standing services to the Theatre field as an artist and for mentally handicapped in the field of mental retardation as a social worker
  • Best Outstanding Service Award RAGA 9.10.2012
  • SEVA TAPASWI Dr Korada Narasimharao Memorial Award 2013
  • Best Voluntary Service Project IASE AWARD 2013, Vancouver, Canada
  • Excellence In Vocational Service: Rotary Club Visakha Port City 2014
  • Visakha Fine Arts & Cultural Academy � MAHA MAHILA � 21-3-2015
  • Felicitation:Vizag Dist. Rollar Skating Coaches Association: National Roller Skating Awards winners Celebration. 30 April 2016
  • Swamy Vivekananda & Sister Margaret Award 2016 Kolkata, West Bengal

Initiatives drawing International attention.

  • Tiger dance therapy: Converted Tiger Dance, a folk form of art of Andhra Pradesh into a therapy, translating the irregular movements of mentally retarded into useful gestures. Papers presented in 6 International Congresses have drawn the global attention generating a sense of interest in this therapy.
  • Snoezelen, Dutch Therapy: Introduced for the first time in India at Lebenshilfe to train the Severely Mentally Handicapped, Stimulating five Sensory Organs.
  • HUG THEM TIGHT a 4-year research collaboration project between University Hospitals of Geneva, Switzerland (HUG) and LEBENSHILFE, Visakhapatnam with Dr. GIULIANA GALLI CARMINATI as its guide.
  • Organized a two-Day Symposium Sensory problems and Sensitizing Families and one Day Workshop Opening Vocational Doors with Dr. RYO TAKAHASHI, Japan.
  • Organized an International Roundtable on Sexo- Pedagogie with 12 Overseas delegates from 7 countries 2005 at Lebenshilfe
  • Month-long Workshop on Theatre 2005 Marion
  • Art Therapy Workshop by Art Therapists of France
  • Workshop on Rhythm:2008 by Eve Neu haus,USA
  • Workshop on Tiger Dance Therapy 2008 by Dr Roxanne USA
  • Academic Workshop :2009 by Dr. Matthew P. Janaicki of IASSID, USA
  • Art Therapy Workshop2009: By Aizawa Rutsuko, Japan
  • RAGA THERAPY,A 3-day Workshop by Dr. T.V.Sairam Chairman NADA Centre, Chennai

Attended and presented papers in 36 International Congresses, Workshops, Seminars and Symposia, Roundtables, at several countries like Austria, Australia, Germany, United States, U.K., Kenya, Rome, Holland, Switzerland, France, Hong Kong, Warsaw,2005 Poland, Finland, Spain, Turkey, Canada, Namibia, Conference on Music Therapy, NADA CENTRE CHENNAI, 6th World Conference of Music Therapy New Delhi, Organized by Nada Center, Chennai, IASE Intl. Conference held in Vancouver, Canada.2013, Wroclaw, Poland,2015, and the recent such one was World Cultural Dance Conference Magdalena-Montpellier 2015 held at Montpellier France,Sept.2015


  • Mr. Chester Bowls USA (2 times Ambassador to India)
  • Mr. .J. N Bhatt, Consulate General (New York, USA)
  • Rotary International USA & Rtn. Jr. PER KLYKKIN USA.1976
  • Honble A P J Abdul Kalam, former president of India
  • A place and a page in LUMINARIES OF VISAKHAPATNAM 1990
  • A place and page in International Book of Honor.


Dr T.Saraswathi Devi (Sarah), M.A, PhD, R.F. Awardee with Chester Bowls, US Ambassador    Former President of India Hon’ble Abdul Kalam

Documentary Film on Lebenshilfe ‘A Journey Into Life directed by Desi Raju and produced by Vijay Kumar Kurra, 2013: http://youtu.be/ivI_SOiB2-M

About this Documentary Film:

This documentary film was presented at International Conference held @ Vancouver, Canada during my power point presentation which was appreciated by several delegates resulted broadcasting at IOWA on public television.Later it was placed on YouTube by a German well-wisher and now being viewed at Germany, Holland, Switzerland and many other countries of the globe.

I am sure you will appreciate the work being done here for the mentally handicapped at Lebenshilfe.

Documentary film by directed and produced by Dr. Roxanne, 2005: https://youtu.be/uWN95YPuO6M

Contct: tsarahdevi@yahoo.com/tsarahdevi@gmail.com

“Who says what?” about Founder

Roxanne Gupta, Yogini

Saraswathi Devi is a force in the field of developmental education. She is creative, hardworking, dedicated and focused fully on her goal of providing an excellent education to mentally and physically challenged students from all economic back backgrounds. She created her school on a donated abandoned lot in Vizag, South India when as a young woman everyone told her she was crazy to dream of such a project. Today students and educators come from all over the world to see how she uses Indian arts and traditions as both therapy and a way to integrate her students into the society. These therapies not only give them a sense of self-worth, they provide entertainment and education to the community at large. She is backed by a tremendous staff of workers most of whom she has personally trained. I highly recommend her as one of India’s greatest educators.

April 23, 2013, Roxanne reported to Dr. Saraswathi Devi at Lebenshilfe (regd.) Visakhapatnam

From News Paper Clippings

The Times of India : Women of Substance. Domain: Social Service
Magazine :Special issue focusing Women April 2004

Working for Humanity:

Lebenshilfe for the Mentally Challenged, – 1980, in the service of 12 mentally challenged children, Lebenshilfe for the Mentally Challenged’ – 2004, in the service of 454 mentally challenged. The woman behind this – Saraswathi Devi Tallapragada. She is a woman who has spent her life for the under privileged that generally affect the poor children. After her Masters in Political Science with two diplomas in theatre arts from Andhra University, Saraswathi Devi obtained special education and did intensive study in-service training in the field of mental retardation from USA and Germany. Her academic life was followed by the founding of ‘Lebenshilfe for the Mentally Challenged’ where the children are given round the clock care by 120 most committed and dedicated staff. She developed tiger dance, an old form of art of Andhra Pradesh into a therapy to control aggressiveness in the challenged children. “Hug Them Tight”, a 4 year research project with university hospitals of Geneva. “Snoezelen”, a Dutch therapy some of the other initiatives by her to provide mental as well as physical comfort to severely mentally challenged with various behavior disorders. Saraswathi’s second love is art and her commitment towards it led her to form Movement for Audience Awareness (MAA). MAA produced a play “Soodimandu” that was 6 revenue districts of Andhra Pradesh. It raised awareness among masses about the six deadly diseases that generally affect poor children. Saraswathi Devi is an outstanding speaker too, her oratory power can be seen from the facts that she has presented papers in 20 international conventions every time on invitation and she has been invited to Montpellier, France to submit two papers during the 12th IASSID World Congress in June, 2004. As globe trotter she has traveled extensively and addressed many associations like the Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs to name two. There is a lot that Saraswathi Devi has in her. She is the woman who has harnessed her abundance of talent to provide relief to those who have not been fortunate and lead a debilitated existence. In this world where one’s pain others gain, she is a difference.


Deccan Chronicle: a largely circulated national news paper


Crusader T. Saraswathi Devi works for the mentally challenged children. Looking after Mentally Challenged children is the most challenging jobs one can think of. And T. Saraswathi Devi is doing an admirable job of it. She doesn’t require any introduction in the city as her selfless service to the Mentally Challenged children is well renowned. After undergoing special training in the U S she started the Lebenshilfe society. Looking after 442 Mentally Challenged children she sees that every child is encouraged to compete in different areas. Her aim is to bring these children into the mainstream of life. Her tiger dance therapy, pre-vocational training and many other techniques which she has evolved and uses have made these special children stand tall . She works towards making the children confident and self-assured and no different from other children.

Rotarian Counselor’s report (1976) to Educational Awards of the Rotary Foundation, Rotary International, 1600 Ridge Avenue, Evanston, Illinois, 60201 USA

Awardee’s Name: Tallapragada Saraswathi Devi

Awardee’s effectiveness in fulfilling the purpose of the award: ‘Out standing’

Mrs T. Saraswathi Devi is in possession of all the characteristics that make for an excellent Rotary Foundation Fellow for both the academic and Rotary’s point of view. She has an excellent personality. She is an outstanding speaker. She has the proper attitude towards the Rotary Foundation program. She was an instant success at all the affairs that she attended both within and without Rotary. She was a good ambassador for Rotary and India and she served to fulfill the fourth objective of Rotary in a most excellent manner.

Rotarian Per Klykken Jr. Rotarian Counselor: Rotary International (RI) District 798 USA

Deccan Chronicle 27 August 1985: by Hipsy Chase: to quote a few sentences from her article.

Commitment – Prescription for Social Service

The quality of ministry women have brought, are bringing and will continue to bring the less privileged, in the society, is among the glories of history. We need no examples to mention, for every generation has produced woman who sought no fame, but whose daily existence, is itself a testimony of warmth, congeniality and service. We have T. Saraswathi devi this week. There is something breathless about her. In a way, she has got an excited kid in her. Her energy amazes you.

THE TIMES OF INDIA: Hyderabad Friday, April 4, 2003 ‘STREE SHAKTI’

She developed new therapies to help mentally challenged

By N. Ramachandra Rao : Times News Network

Visakhapatnam: Tallapragada Saraswathi Devi is a veritable goddess for many mentally-challenged persons in Andhra Pradesh and its neighboring states. 59 – year old Saraswathi takes care of the 442 mentally-retarded persons at Lebenshilfe, a unit of the German-based service organization she started about two decades ago. Lebenshilfe, which means ‘life help’ in German, offers more than a dozen therapies to treat mentally retarded children, among which saraswathi’s Tiger Dance therapy has gained popularity worldwide. Saraswathi seems to have somehow been drawn to the life of the physically and mentally retarded people. She started her career as a teacher in the K.D.P. Municipal High School in Visakhapatnam in the early 1970s. Later, she was selected for a district-level scholarship offered by Rotary International to work as a teacher for the handicapped in Rani Chandramani Devi Hospital. Subsequently, she became one of the 50 women selected for a course in Special Education concerning the handicapped in the US in 1973-74. A few handicapped persons maintaining a canteen in the US inspired me to do something for the physically challenged in my country. I supported a few physically challenged men in RCD Hospital after I returned from the US and they were all happy with their employment,” Saraswathi said. Her life took a major turn at the third Asian Conference on Mental Retardation, held in Bangalore in 1977. Saraswathi had set up a tiny stall in the exhibition showcasing her innovative ideas for treating the mentally-challenged. A Dutch man., Tom Mutters, Lebenshilfe’s founder in Germany, and his counterparts in England and other countries noticed it and awarded the first prize to her stall. All the 14 member countries were astonished by the decision. “The seven teaching aids I developed for the mentally-handicapped were widely appreciated” she said. She visited Germany on Tom Mutters’s, invitation where she underwent training in 1978-79. Saraswathi started Lebenhilfe’s India branch in Visakhapatnam with 12 children in 1980, which then funded her for five years. Impressed by her service, the group then extended aid for another two years.