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Jan 9, 2018

Sai Lakshmi - cause of much joy!

Sai Lakshmi - pretty in pink!
Sai Lakshmi - pretty in pink!

Sai Lakshmi turned 5 on December 7, 2017. Of course this isn’t her real birth-day. She was abandoned at a temple in Villupuram, South India, so we have no official records of her actual birth-date. But every abandoned child has the right to celebrate his or her birthday like other children, so we fixed Sai’s date of arrival into our home as her birthday. And that’s how she got to celebrate it last month amidst much rejoicing and fanfare!

When Sai was discovered, the District Collector ordered that she be sent to the Cradle Baby center at Villupuram. After a while the Child Welfare Committee (Vellore, South India) sent her to us as she is intellectually challenged.

Sai lives with Cerebral Palsy (CP) – a condition marked by impaired muscle coordination (spastic paralysis) and other disabilities, typically caused by damage to the brain which could have been caused by brain injury or abnormal brain development before, during or immediately after birth. CP affected Sai’s muscle control, coordination and tone, reflex, posture and balance. It had seriously impacted her fine and gross motor skills to the extent that she felt confined to bed in the early stages of her development. Sai could not speak, interact or do anything on her own. She virtually lived in a world of her own where none could penetrate. To compound her situation, Sai has genu recurvatum (a deformity in the knee joint, so that the knee bends backwards), and she suffers bouts of fits.

Quite a dismal prognosis for any child but Sai is a winner! She is slowly and steadily transforming herself as she works with her teachers, caregivers and physiotherapist to become as normal as she possibly can be. She’s shown remarkable improvement in the past 6 months and has become quite the talker! She is able to eat on her own, dress up, sway to music, solve complex jigsaw puzzles and socialize so well that it’s hard to recognize this child lives with CP. We believe she’s well on her way to becoming independent by her 6th birthday!

Children are a priceless gift. They aren’t given to us because we are special or entitled, but because they can make our lives special as we choose to receive and love them. If you are interested in making a difference in the life of a child like Sai, please call our office and schedule a visit. There are 114 children like her whose lives can be transformed with a little help!

 

Kissing the Teddy she was gifted on her birthday
Kissing the Teddy she was gifted on her birthday
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
 
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