Anu Silas

Founder and Director, Vanitashray; Loom International YWAM; Foster Care India

Anu is the founder and director of Vanitashray, an NGO in India committed to bring forth the best child care practices, family preservation, adoption, and caring for the destitute, widows, and young girls. Anu has a Bachelor of Arts, Masters in Social Work, and post graduation in Human Rights.
Anu also serves with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) and partners with World without Orphans, Foster Care India, and Loom International YWAM. She served three year terms as Executive Director for Maharashtra State by All India Council of Human Rights, Liberties and Social Justice. In this role she advocated for young girls and stood against child prostitution and child marriages in India.

Although placed in an orphanage at ten months old by her biological mother, Anu consider herself fortunate. Many unwanted girls in India are killed or thrown in the trash. Growing up in an orphanage was not a pleasant experience as I longed for a family. I felt lost, miserable, and lonely. There was a sense of shame growing up as an orphan and not belonging to anyone. 

Yet at a very early age I was aware of a spiritual realm and became desperate to see and hear God. I gave my life to Jesus at eight years old and committed to serve Him all the days of my life. God spoke to me, “You would be a mother to many.”’  It didn’t make sense as I was young and needed a mother myself. Yet God had placed a seed in my heart. It was cultivated over time through many challenges, pain, and loss. 

I was led to YWAM by a friend and have been serving with them for 28 years. Through YWAM 
I met my late husband, Rev. Silas. Together we shared the passion to care for orphans and widows; thus, the NGO – Vanitashray was birthed. Unfortunately, shortly after the start of the ministry, Anu lost her husband when suffered a stroke in 2001.  She felt devastation, humiliation, and shame for being left as a young widow with two very young daughters. God encouraged her to her through Isaiah 54:10; and, by His amazing grace and mercy she began to live ‘one day at a time’ trusting and depending on Him completely.

For over 20 years, Vanitashray continues to care for orphans, destitute women, and widows in India. Through the residential program, Anu has raised 52 girls since 2014. The organization runs preschools and community centres; provides skill training and micro financing for single mothers, widows and destitute women; and empowers and gives dignity to the vulnerable. Vanitashray helps to rescue minors from brothels in partnership with special police teams locally and other parts of Maharashtra. They also feed daily the elderly and ailing commercial sex workers with midday meals in the Red Light District. The group serves as a light in dark places and influences society.