U&I

INTRODUCTION Our journey began in May 2009, when a few friends from a local youth group visited a home for mentally challenged boys in Bangalore. From a small group of friends, to becoming a movement that hundreds of people would get involved in and to eventually becoming an organisation that would have projects across the city of Bangalore - no one would have guessed that this was how things would eventually turn out. Even today, we're amazed at all that's happened in the last two years & are excited about all that is to come. Since our inception in January 2011, we have focused most of our activities towards the education of underprivileged and special needs children. We have worked ...
Jan 28, 2015

World 10K Run - Quarterly Report

Prajwal’s mental age is between 3-6. Prajwal has weak legs and cannot stand or walk for prolonged periods of time, but this has never stopped him from trying. The Government Home for the Mentally Challenged Boys has a strict routine. Through the week they have physiotherapists working with them and on Sundays, the volunteers visit them. Their Sunday routine consists of an hour of curriculum, a 20 minutes dance session and finally snack time. During classes, Prajwal prefers to take a back seat until its time to dance. He is ecstatic and gives you his hands in order to be ferried out to the corridor where the other boys are dancing. Since Prajwal’s legs are quite weak he cannot stand for a very long time so he prefers to sit and listen to the music and shake his hands, if he’s feeling extra bubbly, he usually gives you his palms and expects you to dance with him while he sits and shakes in excitement. One of our most dedicated volunteers who spends time with Prajwal every Sunday was excited to share her experience, “Prajwal has the most contagious laugh you’ll ever hear, I believe it’s the one time he is truly happy. I can confidently say that I’m at my happiest when I’m learning from the boys because we, as volunteers, can only give them so much but they in turn teach us humility and help us serve humanity.”                     

As we inch closer to the end of the academic year, U&I is extremely proud of our 350 dedicated volunteers and the work that they have been able to accomplish. We realize that we have been able to create niches of change because of our volunteers, our children and people like you. With about eight weeks of academics ahead of us, we are looking forward to a strong finish. Your belief in the children and your constant support will allow these children to successfully finish another academic year. 

Thank you again for everything that you have done for U&I. We appreciate it and will keep you posted about the children's progress.

 

Jan 6, 2015

Teach Report: October-December 2014

Kavya, Auxilia, Netra and Sneha are 10th grade girls from one of U&I’s Learning Centers. They are at a crucial stage of their lives because of the academic pressure kids face in India during the 10th grade. Amidst the fear and anticipations they say they are having fun in 10th grade. Auxilia said “Homework and projects have multiplied this year compared to 9th grade, but the feeling of being seniors, in the highest class of our school is lovely.” Their common problem is with Hindi. Sneha said, “We are just focused on graduating. Hindi brings us nightmares, if we can’t understand simple words, then how can we write essay type answers?”. When asked how they are managing, Netra said “The countdown has already begun in our school- 8 months more, 6 months more... fast moving days worry us”. The year is almost wrapping up for these girls and their reasons for graduating the10th grade was eloquently put across by Kavya, “I am desperate to just pass this exam in order to get a degree. I only want to work and support my family and nothing else.” 

 

Along with children our teaching volunteers are equally anxious.The children share a strong and genuine bond with the volunteers. The volunteers are especially able to empathize with the children who are about to graduate the tenth grade since they have been there themselves.

The past three months have been challenging as well as incredibly inspiring. The U&I teach program is ever-expanding. U&I is up and running in four other Indian cities- Mumbai, Mysore, Coimbatore and Chennai. We are currently teaching over 458 women, children and men. We have recruited over 650 volunteers who are teaching over 5000 hours in 8 weeks.

As the year comes to an end and we reflect upon the past year, team U&I is grateful for the support that we have received. It is because you that children like Sneha are able to make their dreams a reality. We want to say a huge thank you for believing in the work that we do and positively impacting the lives of these children. With your continuous support, we are certain that these children will become pillars of success in their communities. Your support fills us with gratitude. Thank you, again.

 

Dec 11, 2014

The Institute for Mentally Handicapped Children

Naveen
Naveen

The Institute for Mentally handicapped children (IMHC) currently houses 85 boys with special needs who have been abandoned by their families or lost and brought to the Institute. Working with the boys in a State run Home is bound to be challenging with everyday bringing us new issues, experiences and situations. Thank you so much for supporting our work at the Institute and believing in the work we do for these amazing boys.

Some of the main highlights and challenges are:

  • Health & Hygiene - 20 severe and profoundly challenged boys are given a bath and brushed every morning by the assistant carers. Grooming with nail care has been going on every week to ensure all boys have clean cut nails. A new government doctor has been appointed to ensure good health of the boys on a regular basis. Due to weather changes a few boys have been down with fever and common colds.
  • Therapy & Activities - The boys have been doing paper art and slowly increasing the difficulty level with their fine motor skills. They have also started making Christmas decorations to bring in some Christmas cheer at the Institute. They are making snowflakes, candy canes and Christmas trees. The boys who are profoundly challenged are given toys and engaged throughout the day in play school by the assistant carers. Yoga for 10 boys is being done every day in the morning before breakfast. The boys have learnt 10 asanas and end with meditation.
  • Physiotherapy – 10 boys have been undergoing physiotherapy every day for 20 minutes each. A majority of the boys have improved balance and gait through vigorous physiotherapy.
  • Volunteering at the Institute – The volunteers have been doing curriculum with the boys on a 1:3 ratio. Some of the boys were reassessed and progress was noted. A few new skill based activities for fine motor skills were designed.
  • Events at the Institute – A Christmas carnival is being planned for the boys in December. The boys will have rides, popcorn, cotton candy, Christmas carols and Santa with Christmas gifts!

Story of the month:

A lot of our boys are sent to the Men’s Complex once they are 21 years. One boy who was sent recently was Naveen. Naveen was a part of the special needs classes that were conducted every day by the teachers hired by U&I. He was a great learner and always had a smile on his face. He is a soft spoken boy so the teachers had to train their ears to hear him in class. One of Naveen’s favourite things to do was sing nursery rhymes. He was the happiest and most active during these sessions.

After Naveen got shifted to the Men’s complex, the teachers did not get to see him for nearly a month. One day, the teachers decided to visit the complex and meet with all the boys. When they entered the room where the boys were seated, Naveen quickly got up, ran up to the teachers and started doing the actions for the rhyme “chubby cheeks”! The teachers were both surprised and extremely happy to see that he still remembered his rhymes and was excited about them as well.

It was truly an inspiring moment for our teachers. Teaching the boys the same rhymes, numbers and alphabets every day requires a lot of patience. On most days, they are unsure if what they teach is actually being grasped by all the boys. On such days, they now remember Naveen and know that even a small rhyme is a happy memory in the lives of our boys. It is truly humbling to know we are the reason the boys smile with fond memories of days they have spent with us in learning.

Plans for the next few months include starting basic speech therapy for a few boys by the special needs teachers, buying new equipment for physiotherapy and hiring more assistant carers.

We are continuously striving to make the lives of the boys a little bit better every day. On the challenging days we take a moment to remember and witness the smile on their faces and that is always enough reason to continue to make a difference in every way we can!

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