Welcome to the April 2011 issue of Udhayam e-newsletter from Sri Arunodayam Charitable Trust. This issue presents the events that happened in the months of January, February and March 2011 at Sri Arunodayam. Hope you have an interesting read. We look forward to your feedback which motivates us to progress and propels us ahead!
The new building at Madanankuppam will be ready for occupation in June. We take this opportunity to thank each one of you who have been instrumental in the progress of Sri Arunodayam.
- Iyyappan Subramanian (Founder & Managing Trustee)
Sri Arunodayam believes that family is the best environment for a child with special needs to grow and develop. Soon after a child is admitted into Sri Arunodayam, efforts are taken to trace and re-unite the child with the family. The photograph of the child is published in the local newspapers and the national television, to enable the family to reach us. So far, 60 children have been re-united with their families.
In the past nine years we have come across different stories of children. Some were abandoned by their parents, some children ran away from home, others got lost when they were traveling with their parents... not always is it a case of abandonment by the parents. If it is abandonment, upon tracing the parents we counsel them and extend support to bring up the child with special needs.
Three year old Vasuki hails from Thiruvellore, near Chennai. Her father brought her to Egmore Children’s Hospital. The child’s father was in an inebriated state. On their way back home the father carried Vasuki and got off the train at Villivakkam railway station. The railway police suspected that the man had abducted the child. They rescued and handed over Vasuki to the Child line. The Child Welfare Committee referred her to Sri Arunodayam. Vasuki’s mother got in touch with the railway police and submitted evidence that Vasuki was their child. She was directed to Sri Arunodayam and the Child Welfare Committee directed us to hand over Vasuki to her parents. Now, Vasuki lives happily with her family.
A few years ago, on a sunny morning, an eighteen month old baby was found on the doorsteps of Sri Arunodayam. After going through the legal procedures, we admitted the baby. A week later, an elderly gentleman came along as a visitor and seemed to show special concern to the newly admitted baby. In the next fortnight we observed that the gentleman came once in four days. Puzzled by the behaviour of the elderly gentleman we drew him into a conversation and said that the baby he was attracted to would be adopted by a family, far away from Chennai. The ruse worked! In less than an hour, a young woman from Bangalore called our office. Amidst wails she requested us not to proceed with the adoption. And the story came out... The woman who called from Bangalore was the mother of the baby. Since her husband could not accept a child with special needs, she had requested her father to ‘deposit’ the baby in a safe home where she need not reveal her identity. The grandfather did as he was asked to do and did the extra mile of caring for the child with his frequent visits. We asked the baby’s parents to come over to Sri Arunodayam. We showed them around the facility and made them understand that their child required their love and warmth more than anything else. This was followed by counseling sessions and finally they accepted the baby into their family. Thus the stories of reunions go on.
Sri Arunodayam was founded on 26th February 2002. Sri Arunodayam was registered as a Charitable Trust on this day. Every year we celebrate this day as the Founding Day. We distribute sweets and organize special lunch for the children and staff of Sri Arunodayam.
This year, Sri Arunodayam completes nine years. Looking back, we reminisce how the seed of goodness sown by the founder is being watered and cared for by many philanthropists. In the initial phase there was abundance of hard work and dreams to provide a better life for the intellectually challenged, abandoned children. The resources were zero and sources for resources were also non-existent.
Persistent efforts to knock the doors of individuals gave way to a trickle of support. Gradually, the number of people supporting the cause grew. Till date, a majority of Sri Arunodayam’s activities are run on community support. Sri Arunodayam has established that individual donors are a potential source of resource and has been harnessing this source very well.
Sri Arunodayam has also succeeded in motivating members of the society to understand and accept that mentally challenged children have equal rights to lead a dignified life. Stepping into the tenth year, Sri Arunodayam looks ahead on the path of progress which ultimately leads to perfection.
Rangoonwala Foundation India Trust annually conducts Pratibimp – an exhibition to showcase the products made by the beneficiaries of its partner organizations throughout India. Pratimp also serves as a platform for the partner organizations to create awareness about the cause they work for, share experiences, knowledge and learn from others. Pratimp was held from 8th to 12th March 2011 at Sunderbai Hall in Church Gate, Mumbai.
On behalf of Sri Arunodayam, Ms. Poongothai, Mr. Balasubramaniyan and Mr. Pandi attended the exhibition. We displayed and sold items like jute files, jute hand bags, purses, jute letter folders, cell phone wallets, travel kits, card holders and jute school bags. The sales amounted to Rs.33,000/-
The Pratimp experience helped us learn that we should have a better collection of products, source local venders for unique products and designs and study the trends and choice of the people. It has also set us thinking about the vocational training program at Sri Arunodayam.
We take this opportunity to thank our team members who are the building blocks of Sri Arunodayam.
In January, the Department of Social Defence conducted a training program on the Juvenile Justice Act - Care & Protection and Conflict with Law. Mrs.Jeyachitra attended the program.
Mr. Elumalai was selected as the staff of the month for January. Mr. Elumalai is a residential male care giver and works at Sri Arunodayam for the past three years. He is very efficient, committed and pitches in to do all kinds of odd jobs at Sri Arunodayam. He is also good at electrical and plumbing works.
In February, Mr. Balamurugan was selected as the staff of the month. Mr. Balamurugan is a Special Educator with a Diploma in Special Education. He is in-charge of the Primary level. He is very active, sincere, hard working and result oriented. The children in his class have achieved all the goals set for them every quarter.
Mrs. Nirmala was selected the staff of the month in March. She is a residential care giver and a parent of a special child. She was given the best staff award for her excellent performance in care and feeding children in the early intervention unit. She has trained two children to eat independently.
Dear Friends and Well Wishers,
In months of October, November and December 2010, ten children were admitted into Sri Arunodayam. Three children were transferred to other homes two children were re-united with their families and six children passed away. Two children ran away. We managed to locate and rescue one child while the other one was not found.
October – For the newly admitted children, we conducted the assessment and set goals for them to achieve. All the children were given a neat haircut. Seven year old Shylu passed away. Monthly staff meeting was conducted. Social Work Students from Gujarat visited Sri Arunodayam.
November – Three children Latha, Satish and Priya were admitted in the hospital for treatment. Fifteen year old Selva and four year old Vijayavel passed away. Monthly staff meeting was conducted.
December – Sixteen year old Ramzani ran away from Sri Arunodayam. We traced him in Kerala and brought him back. Monthly staff meeting was conducted. Students from Loyola College, Good Shepherd Convent and Dhanalakshmi Engineering College visited Sri Arunodayam.
Food is the basic requirement of living beings. The children at Sri Arunodayam are those who have been neglected and abandoned by their biological families. Prior to their coming to Sri Arunodayam, most of these children would not have had square meals. It is evident at the time of admission in their physical, physiological conditions and their natural longing to have good food. Children are very happy during mealtimes and eat to their heart’s content.
Our cooks prepare three meals a day for 87 children/adult beneficiaries and 30 staff members. The menu is planned based on the recommendation of the Nutrition Department, Institute of Child Health, Egmore Children’s Hospital, Chennai. Periodically we review and change the menu. The latest addition to the menu is ragi malt which is prepared by our staff. Our children enjoy the drink.
The wholesome, healthy food that we provide enables the children grow and develop very well. Their resistance to infections and diseases has improved. The trauma caused by the deprival of love, care and warmth is mitigated to a large extent by providing good care and protection. With the secure feeling that Sri Arunodayam takes care of them, these children begin to develop socially, emotionally, try hard and overcome their intellectual limitations.
Of the 87 residents, 54 can eat their food independently while 33 require assistance. During mealtime, the care giver, special educator and the physiotherapist work with the children to help them achieve independence in meal time activity.
It is interesting to note that almost 98% of the meals are sponsored by individual donors. We have an excellent system where the donors call us and book the meals they would like to sponsor on specific dates. We invite the donors to serve food for the children and celebrate the special occasion. In the months of November, December and January devotees visit the famous Sabarimalai shrine. As part of the preparation for the pilgrimage they usually serve food for the needy (Annadhaanam). In November and December 2010, 75% of the meal bookings were done by Sabarimalai pilgrims.
We are happy to note the evolving healthy attitude of celebrating birthdays, wedding anniversaries, special occasions and observing remembrances by sponsoring food for abandoned mentally challenged children. Come! Join us to witness the happiness our children express during mealtimes. Add more meaning and contentment to your lives!
As the term early intervention denotes, providing rehabilitation training during the early years of life proves beneficial in improving the quality of life of the children with developmental delays and intellectual disabilities.
Presently there are 54 children in the Early Intervention group. Of them fourteen are trainable and forty are provided custodial care.
The Early Intervention training program at Sri Arunodayam is based on a module called Upanayan. This module is a systematic, structured programme for training children with developmental delays and intellectual disabilities. Each child is assessed for the level of disability. Based on the outcome of this assessment, goals are set for children in areas such as – Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Grooming, Receptive Language, Expressive Language, Reading, Writing, Number, Time and Money concepts. Apart from these, we have included Yoga and games.
In each of these areas, specific activities are designed. For instance, in money concept – the child is asked to identify coins from a group of similar metallic objects. Every day, the Special Educator trains the children from 10 am to 4 pm. The training includes group activities such as singing songs, rhymes, story-telling; individual activities for each child based on its unique needs – during this session the child is trained to achieve the set goals. The Special Educator also assists the child in meal times to eat food and drink water. When the children follow this specific structure daily, they are able to strengthen their abilities and mitigate the disability that prevents them from leading an independent routine life.
All the children in the custodial care group endure multiple and profound disabilities. The rehabilitation program for them includes Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Sensory Integration Training.
In October we conducted a Behaviour Management Training program for our staff. Special Educators, Physiotherapists and five Care Givers attended the program which was facilitated by Ms.Smitha Ruckmani, Psychologist. Mrs.Sundari, assistant cook was selected best staff of the month.
Ms. Poongothai was selected the best staff of the month in November. She works as a therapist and nurse.
Mr.Ezhumalai was selected the best staff of the month in December. He works as a male Care Giver.
We shall come back to you soon about the annual sports and cultural meet!
Founder Managing Trustee - Sri Arunodayam Charitable Trust
In months of July, August and September 2010, eight children were admitted into Sri Arunodayam. Four children were transferred to other homes, two children were re-united with their families and two children passed away. Thankfully, no run away cases happened.
In July –Two children were admitted in the hospital for treatment. For the newly admitted children, we conducted the assessment and set goals for them to achieve. We located Dinesh’s parents and on 23rd July, it was a joyful re-union for him with his family.
In August – All the children were given a refreshing haircut. We conducted a master health check up and sought the opinion of Neurologist for the newly admitted children. Four children were admitted in the hospital. We documented the stories of all the children at Sri Arunodayam.
In September – We conducted a master health check up for the newly admitted children. Marimuthu, an adult resident of Sri Arunodayam was admitted in the hospital.
This is the most heart rending unit at Sri Arunodayam. Miniature beauties, formed a little different than the rest of us, they are such bundles of joy. Wonder how their parents had the heart to abandon these gifts from heaven. You must visit us to agree on this. Anyhow, here is a virtual tour into the Infant Care Unit. Infants from 0-3 years are provided care and shelter in this unit. They endure multiple conditions such as mental retardation, visual, multiple disability, limb deformation...
These infants are all placed in one room. Each infant is unique and so are its needs. Some like to be left alone while some cuddle close to the other infants or the care givers. Some cry, smile and respond while others lay still looking into the void. Presently, there are eighteen infants. Four caregivers are with the children round the clock. The infants are totally dependent, they are fragile, highly sensitive and the distress of abandonment lingers in them. Every hour, the care givers carry each infant for a few minutes and cuddle them warmly. These children are under constant paediatric supervision and we feed the infants based what the Paediatricians prescribe. We provide Physiotherapy for those children who require therapy to enable them achieve their developmental milestones.
At Sri Arunodayam, a care giver is more a mother than an employee. They are dedicated, involved, affectionate and emotionally attached to the children. When a child falls sick, they fret, sit up the whole night to attend on the child and do not rest till the child regains good health. Under the care of such warm hearted care givers, the infants do overcome the anguish of being separated from their biological parents.
When we decided to introduce Yoga for our children, we were not very sure about the benefits. Today, we see that Yoga has brought about a whole lot of difference in the lives of our children. Two trainers from Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, Chennai, visit our facility twice a week and train the children to perform yogasanas. During the other days in the week, the Special Educators train the children to practise the yogasanas. This is a comprehensive program is safe, gentle, therapeutic and designed to enhance the development of children with special needs. We have realised that it helps to improve the concentration and channelize the energies of children who are hyperactive. It has helped the children to strengthen their bodies and make them more flexible. Yoga program was initially for our Pre-primary and Primary children. Seeing their progress, we have now introduced it to children in the Early Intervention category as well.
We are happy that our children enjoy performing yogasanas. It enhances their growth and development and has turned out to be an important feature of our rehabilitation program.
Thanks for your time!
(Founder Managing Trustee - Sri Arunodayam Charitable Trust)
Dear Friends and Well wishers,
I would like to thank each one of you for the overwhelming response, suggestions and appreciation that you expressed on reading Udhayam April 2010 issue. It motivates us to work harder and better! This issue unfurls before you, the events that happened in the months of April, May and June at Sri Arunodayam.
Hope you have an interesting read. We look forward to your feedback which propels us ahead!
-Iyyappan Subramanian (Founder & Managing Trustee)
From the Admin desk -
In months of April, May and June 2010, ten children were admitted into Sri Arunodayam. Four children were transferred to other homes and one child passed away. Thankfully, no run away cases happened.
We submitted the strength report, death report, grant in aid details, retention letters and death expenditure reports were submitted to the Department of Social Defense on a monthly basis. Subhiksha was admitted in the Government Children’s Hospital for treatment from 24.05.10 to 03.06.10.
We conducted staff meetings regularly. On 15.06.10, Mrs.Radha from Gandhigram University, Dindugal conducted a Surya Namaskar and Meditation session for the employees of Sri Arunodayam.
What the Special Educator says -
Special Educator Valli tells us about five-year-old Anu. Little Anu is in the Early Intervention group. The goals we had set for her were to wear her dress, identify vegetables, draw vertical and horizontal lines, count objects and in money concept – to identify coins from other similar metallic objects. I am so happy to say that she has achieved all the goals. Only in drawing, she confuses horizontal and vertical, however, am sure she will overcome this very soon. Anu sings very well and is an enthusiastic student in my class.
From the Therapy Centre -
Physiotherapist Jamuna shares the story of three year old Niveda. She endures Cerebral Palsy and there was no milestone development, her back was arched, she twisted her body to one side, there was no neck control and severe spasticity in the trunk. We set goals for Niveda to turn over on her stomach, roll over, reduce the spasticity and bring about neck control. With regular therapy, she can turn over on her stomach and roll over. Neck control has been achieved and spasticity is reduced to a great extent.
A note on Iyyappan’s visit to the US -
The U.S. Embassy / Consulates in India conduct several professional exchange programs through which they invite young professionals and upcoming leaders from various fields to visit the United States for 3-4 weeks to meet and interact with counterparts and peers.
This year Iyyappan Subramanian was nominated for this exchange program. He recounts on the three week visit. The visit covered Washington DC, Portland, Oregon, Cleveland and Rochester. We were a team of six people working in different domains in the non-profit sector.
Since my core area of work is disability, they had organized visits to institutions that work in the field of mental
disability. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet and interact with people, know about them and talk to them about Sri Arunodayam. All the organizations I visited, shared research documents, the care giving guides they had prepared and numerous other resources. It was a good opportunity to network with individuals and organizations in the other side of the universe. I learned that in the US, abandonment is very low, institutional care is very less prevalent and the concept of Group Homes thrives best for mentally challenged individuals. Group Homes are financially support by the US Government and run by NGOs. I have brought back a treasure of knowledge which will enable me to serve our children better.
Other Activities -
We evaluate the children for their progress in Special Education, Physiotherapy and Occupational therapy. The fourth quarter evaluation was performed in June 2010. Thirty children were assessed for their response to Physiotherapy; Eighteen children were assessed for their response to Occupational therapy.
The assessment of Special Education Training were done for, twelve children in the early intervention category, nine children in the Pre-primary level 1, eight children in Pre-primary level 2 and ten children in the Primary category.
The Indian Overseas Bank celebrated their 60th annual day when they donated Rs. 5.4 lakhs to Sri Arunodayam.
Rangoonwala Foundation funds the salaries for the rehabilitation and care giving employees. As part of their funding process, they conducted the annual audit.
We conducted the Master Heath Check up for the newly admitted children
In a bid to provide better employee care, we have provided medical insurance cover for all the employees of Sri Arunodayam
Trustees of Diksha Foundation visited Sri Arundoayam and interacted with the children.
Team members of Bhoomika Trust visited the home and interacted with the children.
We have started Yoga training for the Early Intervention group as well.
The new building at Madanankuppam is progressing well. It is a 5500 square feet building in 1.5 grounds. We intend to have the Special Education and Therapy in the ground floor and the first floor will be living spaces for the children.
Our Team -
There is very little work at Sri Arunodayam that can be mechanized. Human intervention is crucial. We are a family that cares for children who have been deprived of their biological families. Sri Arunodayam employs well qualified, experienced and dedicated people, as our growth and success depends upon the team’s efficiency. Our team consists of one Administrator, two Physiotherapists, one Occupational Therapist, six Special Educators, thirteen Care Givers, one Nurse, two Drivers and three Security personnel.
In June we initiated employee of the month – whereby, every month we would select an employee and honor her / him. There would be a pin up on the notice board about the employee and their achievements.
How you can help us -
Sponsor meals for the children on special days in your life
Sponsor medicines, grocery, clothes and other materials
Donate online through
Give India - http://www.giveindia.org/m-859-sri-arunodayam.aspx
Global Giving - http://www.globalgiving.com/projects/support-abandoned-mentally-challenged-children/
Udhayam – the quarterly e-newsletter will parade the various happenings, and activities at Sri Arunodayam.
The number of children who seek our care and protection is always on the increase. As the years pass by, we aspire to improve the quality of services we provide for the children. This impels us to constantly mobilize resources.
In the past one year, we have mainstreamed three children into regular schools. These children will come to Sri Arunodayam during weekends and for vacation. We deem it a good achievement to have admitted these destitute children in regular schools and continue to be their guardian.
Fund raising show, festival celebrations, annual day – a lot is happening at Sri Arunodayam for the mentally challenged destitute children.
Read Udhayam to know more about our children and the dedicated team who work to improve the children’s lives.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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