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 ...
Sep 6, 2013

U&I Care Report Jun-Aug 2013

Hello Friends of U&I - Here is a report about our work in the State Home for Mentally Challenged Boys during the months June to August 2013.

The Institute for Mentally Handicapped Children (IMHC) currently houses 83 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 wonderful children.

Some of the main highlights and challenges are:
• Health & Hygiene - Mumps was one of the battles that was fought and won over the month. Apart from that, U&I has hired 3 assistant carers who take care of bathing, brushing and grooming of the boys every day. They also ensure all the clothes are washed and sorted and the boys do not wear any wet clothes. The corridors, bathroom and dorms are also cleaned regularly which has resulted in improved hygiene conditions at the Home.
• Therapy & Activities - Activities started at the Home include computer training for a few of the older boys. They enjoy working on Paint where they draw squares and fill them with various colours. They are also learning to type alphabets and numbers with Microsoft Word. In vocational activities the boys are learning to string beads to make pretty chains and bracelets. They have also made bookmarks that were handed out to the State staff.
• Physiotherapy - The physiotherapist has been working with 10 boys with cerebral palsy and other equilibrium problems. The boys are closer to achieving independency in motor movement after the intensive therapy of last few months.
• Trip to the Zoo - The boys were taken on a one day trip to a local National park where they learnt about different animals and birds. They especially loved the elephants and the monkeys!
• Volunteering at the Institute - Every Sunday about 40 volunteers visit the institute and engage the boys in different activities. They follow a special needs curriculum designed for the different levels of mental retardation. They also spend time cleaning and gardening at the Institute and help provide a better environment for all the boys.

Story of the month :

A part of the usual guidelines given to all the people who enter the Institute includes warning them of a few boys who one needs to watch out for. The first on this list was a boy called Nalla Raja. He is a 16 year old boy with autism that is characterized by a lot of stereotypical behaviour like rocking his head, flapping his hands, squinting, biting his hand and his knee. Nalla was notorious for walking up to people and spanking them hard when you least 
expected it. And on special days he would end up biting a volunteer or two as well!
This interesting characteristic of Nalla got my attention as I started working at the Institute on a daily basis. An expert in the field had worked with him before and explained how he liked being tapped gently on the cheek as a reward for sitting quietly. Being wary of trying this by myself, I let an old volunteer go ahead and do it the first time. After observing that Nalla was neither agitated nor out to bite the volunteer, I decided to try this on a regular basis myself. What started out as a cautious challenge soon turned into something I looked forward to every day. Nalla had slowly become one of my favourite boys at the Institute. I wanted to shower him with my attention and affection every time I was around the boys.
The changes were slow and went unnoticed, until one day I went up to the boys to greet them and was pleasantly surprised to see Nalla let out a screech and come running towards me with a smile on his face. There was no hitting or biting and he just put his hand out to be touched. After gently holding my hand he pulled away and went and sat down again. Soon we noticed Nalla had stopped biting and rarely hit people who were around him. We were amazed at the results of how a little care and attention can go a long way to bring such positive change in a child!

Plans for the next few months include:

  • Training for all staff at the Home
  • Conducting a specialised health camp
  • Assessments and diagnosis of the boys to help form short and long term goals
  • A Big Birthday Bash for all the boys.

Every day at the Institute we learn something new. Every day they give us a reason to smile because they manage to accomplish something, no matter how small. All the challenges and struggles become worth it when we see the change in the boys and know that today, we made them a little bit happier.  

Aug 20, 2013

U&I Teach Report Mar - Jun 2013

Dear Friend of U&I!!

We've had an amazing few months from March to June this year, these are the highlights of our work:

  • Our volunteers helping the children in their preparation for year-end examinations - Over 90% students passed their examinations.
  • The Summer Camps that were held during the holidays at the 8 Learning Centres that we run - This year's Summer Camp was called 'Dazzle' and was themed around Personality Development to build character and virtues amongst our students.

Its been very exciting as we have been able to start 2 new Learning Centres at Muslim Orphanage where we now teach English to 230 children. In this academic year we've grown in our operations as we now run 10 Learning Centres, reaching out to 650 under-privileged women and children. Attached is the report of these 3 months, please enjoy the read.

Thank you for your continuing support of the work we do!


Attachments:
Jul 10, 2013

U&I Report - April to June

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Dear Friend of U&I,

It's been a crazy summer at U&I this year, with 7 summer camps for the U&I Teach students (400 lesser privileged kids) in the months of April & May. The month of June flags off a new acedemic year and the team has been busy setting up 10 learning centers, recruiting volunteers and assessing the 500+ kids, who are enrolled for this acedemic year. For this report instead of us sending you a write up about what we've been upto over the last 3 months here is a newspaper article the appreared in on the Times of India, June 3rd  2013.

Harbingers of change: College students turn mentors for underprivileged kids

It's a summer afternoon. The quiet surroundings of Karunalaya, a home for children in Kacharakanahalli, don't betray the hustle and bustle inside. In the hall, children in the age group of 8-16 years are getting trained in arts, crafts, personality development and having fun through games. Training them is an enthusiastic gang of students from city colleges.

The youngsters have chosen not to join their counterparts at their favourite hangouts. For, they are more concerned about striving to be the change they want to see by teaching underprivileged children, engaging them in games, and training them in life skills.

Providing these college students an opportunity is U&I, a volunteer-driven organization, committed to partnering with social organizations to work towards positive changes in the field of education, anti-trafficking, children and women welfare, and mental health.

U&I recruits 40-50 college students in the age group of 18-24 years for an internship programme every year. About 20% of them are volunteers who work with the underprivileged throughout the year while the rest are recruited for summer camps. "We had about 250 active volunteers last year. They pitch in after college and on weekends. Their passion drives them to work seven days a week, even during their summer vacations," says Suchita Isaac, media head, U&I. "They want to bring about a change in the place where they live and they believe they can change it for the better," she adds.

Talk to one of the youngsters and you know it's true. "This is my third summer camp with U&I. I have learnt many things here... like even the smallest things that we take for granted are a luxury to these children," says Ektha YP, an MSc counselling student at Christ College. Ektha teaches lifeskills, English and also counsels children.

The young interns spend time at orphanages, destitute homes and mental health care homes, involving the inmates in arts and crafts as well as other fun activities. "Two or three interns take part in these activities to fulfill their academic needs. For the rest, which is the majority, this is voluntary work. In fact, even those who do it for academic purposes stick around even after their college requirement is over," Saahas Patil, centre manager, U&I.

Regular volunteers with U&I work throughout the year and take tuitions for underprivileged children at their learning centres located in orphanages, state homes and slums.

Ebby Johnson and Ronald Smith, who finished PU from St Joseph's and Christ College, respectively, say, "While working with these children we realize how privileged we are. Their touching gestures make us want to do more for them."

The beneficiaries also enjoy it to the maximum. "We had lot of fun during the summer camps. The volunteers are very thoughtful. They taught us how to use our skills and made us play games," says Krishnappa K of Karunalaya. "They taught us to make paper bags too," adds Anitha S, flashing her flowery bag with a smile.

"I have learned more from them than they have from me. The feeling that I'm making a change in someone's life is amazing," says Saira Saldanha, III year student at Mount Carmel College. "I once read that this world is not inherited from our ancestors, but borrowed from our children. I want my children to live in a better world," she signs off.             -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Link to the article-  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/Harbingers-of-change-College-students-turn-mentors-for-underprivileged-kids/articleshow/20402117.cms

Hope you enjoyed that article. Fell free to mail me if you need any more info.

Thanks and Regards,

Ajit Sivaram.

ajit@uandi.org.in

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