Apply to Join
Dec 7, 2017

Shantha's Story

Shantha enchants the crowd!
Shantha enchants the crowd!

Shantha is an 11 year old little girl with mild intellectual disability. She also lives with hydrocephalus – a condition in which there is an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in her brain causing increased pressure inside her skull. Unable to care for her on account of poverty, her parents had surrendered her to the Government Cradle Baby Center in Dharmapuri District, Tamil Nadu State, when she was a little child. She came to our home when she was 4 years old.

Sustained special education and physiotherapy brought Shantha up to speed over the years, but more especially in the past year where her progress has been simply phenomenal! The role of the speech therapist was very critical in helping her express herself coherently. Around 6 months ago, Shantha passed a psychological evaluation that found her fit for mainstream education and she was enrolled in the 3rd grade at a Government school under the ‘inclusive learning’ program. Apparently, Shantha has a lot of hidden potential which needed some tapping into! In the past year she took up drawing, making small pieces of jewelry and painting colorful clay lamps.

As if this wasn't achievement enough, Shantha began to excel at classical Indian Bharatanatyam dance (which can be quite challenging for ‘normal’ children too!). We had introduced dance classes at the home less than a year ago and at first it didn’t appear that she would stick with it because of hyperactivity and body imbalance issues. But Shantha took us by surprise! Not only has she overcome her challenges but she is able to remember long and complex dance sequences and lyrics, and is well on her way to becoming a wonderful classical dancer who has made 6 public appearances already!

This is very exciting for us! A child written off by society but with a fighting chance to make it big one day! Thanks to her special educators, speech and physiotherapists, she is reaching her fullest potential today!

  • Watch her dance at: https://www.facebook.com/deepakraj.sethuraman/videos/vb.100001987497694/124421941232 0963/?type=3&theater
  • Shantha also performed at our Special Mom Award ceremony on May 14, 2017. You’ll find pictures of her and the rest of the troupe under the “Picture Gallery” (Welcome Dance by our Children) section at: https://sriarunodayam.org/special-mom-post-page/ 
Nov 1, 2017

Diwali: Rejoicing in the light!

Lighting the Diwali lamps
Lighting the Diwali lamps

“Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it’s what gives life its deepest significance.” - Roy T. Bennett

Diwali is always a fun time for kids, especially ours! It’s a festival they wait for all year round. The new clothes, the crackers, the fun and games, chatting with visitors, sumptuous food and so much more! Our children had a blast! The deeper significance of this festival of course being the victory of good over evil, and light over darkness.

The day started early at 5.30 am with the customary ritual of the children getting an oil massage and a warm bath. They had a healthy breakfast, thanks to the generosity of a kind donor who sponsors breakfast on Diwali day for more than 10 years! Around 10 am they excitedly changed into their new clothes – thanks to the kind generosity of another donor who sponsored clothes for both the children and the staff. The children proudly showed off their new garments and started a morning cracker session followed by a sumptuous lunch of chicken biriyani and traditional sweets, lovingly prepared by another wonderful donor and his family.

In the afternoon, they watched a movie we screened for them and then we had photo sessions and games. So, that kept us all busy until tea time. The highlight of the day soon followed with a lovely cracker show from 5 to 7 pm.  (The crackers were also donated by kind benefactors). Tired after a hectic day of fun and frolic, the children retired to bed after a lovely dinner of rawa kichadi, sambar, chutney, and sweets, sponsored by kind donors.

We had a lovely day because of the generosity of  these wonderful people who make it a point to commit themselves to the welfare of these children year-on-year. They helped make Diwali a wonderful experience for the children!

And that’s how Diwali was celebrated here. The children are exposed to all the festivals, which helps them enjoy multiculturalism with the deepest respect.

Dressed for the occasion
Dressed for the occasion
Dressed for the occasion
Dressed for the occasion
Oct 10, 2017

All it takes is a little Love!

Sudharshan with his physiotherapist
Sudharshan with his physiotherapist

At Sri Arunodayam, each child has a story to tell, and this is Sudharshan’s.

Abandoned by his parents in 2014, Sudarshan was found on the streets of Trichy, a metropolitan city in the state of Tamil Nadu in South India. He was only 9 months old at the time.

Sudharshan’s uniqueness

Sudharshan was rescued by ChildLine volunteers who contacted several organizations, but none would accept him.  He finally came to Sri Arunodayam in great need of medical care. A psychological evaluation revealed that he lived with intellectual disability.  But Sudarshan also has a unique problem. He is a hermaphrodite – more commonly known as an intersex person, because he has both male and female genitalia. This condition occurs approximately once in every 4,500 births where a baby seems to have a mixture of both female and male parts.

The causes of ambiguous genitalia include genetic variations, and hormonal imbalances and malformations of the fetal tissues that are supposed to evolve into genitals.

Taking up the challenge

To be honest, we were perplexed because we had never faced a challenge of this kind. But after consulting some of the best medical minds in the city, we learnt to deal with the situation and Sudarshan has happily settled in with his caregivers.

Sudharshan was completely immobile at the time of admission. He was bedridden for a good while but we slowly coaxed him into an early intervention program which involved regular physiotherapy, special education and sensory integration exercises. Today, Sudarshan can walk with assistance and loves doing his exercises. We are particularly thrilled because he is beginning to communicate – although, in monosyllables. He mingles with the other children and his progress is very promising.

Sudarshan is one of 110 children at Sri Arunodayam where 16% are mildly challenged, 23% are moderately challenged, 38% are severely challenged, 19% are profoundly challenged, 2% are spastic, and 2% are visually challenged.

Sri Arunodayam is a secular organization with zero tolerance for discrimination against children, whether on the basis of religion, caste, status, or gender orientation. 

Founder - Iyyappan carrying Sudharshan
Founder - Iyyappan carrying Sudharshan
Sudharshan attending class
Sudharshan attending class
 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.