Greetings to you from Sri Arunodayam!
I hope everything is well with you and your family. Our best wishes to you for the same.
I would like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to you for your continuous support to Sri Arunodayam. Your support has been making a huge impact in the lives of children with intellectual disabilities at Sri Arunodayam.
We are happy to get back in touch with you through GlobalGiving’s Youth Week campaign from 7th August 2017 to 12th August 2017. Culminating on the International Youth Day, this campaign has given us one more opportunity to reprioritise needs of children and youth.
Children and youth around the world are subjected to experiences of poverty, deprivation, displacement, abandonment, abuse, terminal diseases and many other challenges, incomprehensible for their age. The plight of abandoned children and youth is much worse as they do not have a voice or agency of their own. Unable to access/afford their basic entitlements, their struggle for survival lets them into hazardous lives, preventing them from living their childhood and transiting into adulthood with all opportunities. Further disturbing is the survival of abandoned children and youth, who are differently abled.
At Sri Arunodayam, we have consistently endeavoured to rewrite the lives of abandoned children and youth, with intellectual disabilities. Not being understood and often being labelled as ‘living in their imaginary world’, ignorance in the larger society has denied these children and youth their basic rights. They do not get an opportunity to understand or live childhood, which hampers their evolution into adults. Their learning and development also requires unlearning of habits introduced out of convenience for care takers. It continues to challenge their ability to function as independent individuals, capable of taking care of self and being productive. Resources, professional help as long as it is required and opportunities to realise their abilities is inevitable for their development. Your contributions and matching grants from GlobalGiving have helped us come very far with this vision.
Story that gives us hope for a better future!
Arul is a 14-year-old, spastic cerebral palsy child living in Sri Arunodayam since 2006. Arul was found abandoned at a crowded bus station in the city of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. He was only 3 years old then, who was left unattended with a bag beside him, containing his clothes. Completely unaware of who or where he was, Arul was just lying there. Sri Arunodayam rescued him from the bus station and diagnosed him with cerebral palsy and severe intellectual disability. He was completely bed ridden, incoherent and unable to use both his hands. Training to cohabit with other inmates helped him socialize and make friends. He grew comfortable with the surroundings at Sri Arunodayam in the company of kids like him. With social skills and personal habits coming in order, physiotherapy was gradually introduced.
With every child, it is a new story to be written by the child himself/herself and his/her care takers. Arul’s story too, like others’, had initial challenges. Helping the children open themselves to treatment is the challenging step in the rehabilitation of inmates. Once a trust threshold is established, specifically with the physiotherapist, it becomes easier to take them through the desired treatments.
Arul was very hesitant to treatment in the initial days. His spine showed mobile kyphoscoliosis posture. His lower limb presented with hip + knee flexor tightness and both leg club foot with tendon ancillary tightness. He also had an externally rotated hip joint leading to scissoring gait. Whining in pain, he found different excuses to stay away from treatment, especially the physiotherapy sessions. He began to over sleep or engage in study activities to avoid treatment. He was extremely scared of sitting with the therapists. After a few months, things began to change for the better. “On learning his interest in attending school, we motivated him by showing him the freedom which other children (who are mobile) enjoyed by going to park and school. This was used to stimulate positivity towards the sessions and soon after, he was very cooperative”, says Dr Kannan, Physiotherapist at Sri Arunodayam.
Now 14 years old, he is an active, oriented boy who obeys commands. He is able to move both his upper limbs actively, to full range of motion. There is still mild weakness on his right shoulder flexors and right-hand grip muscle. Significant reduction in flexor tightness of hip and knee joint was achieved through physiotherapy. With the help of knee extension splint, he is able to stand erect (though not fully) with very little hip flexion to 10 degrees, which was 40 degrees in the beginning of physiotherapy. Active knee extension improved from 90 degrees to 30 degrees. His shoulder flexor strength has also improved from muscle power 2+ to 3+. With knee extension splint, clubfoot correction foot and minimal passive hip satisfaction, he is able to walk with walker support.
“Not only mobility, Arul is now more confident in his tasks and feels encouraged to try new activities at the home. He is able to eat on his own and move around the home as required. Being able to move has brought in a sense of liberation in him, encouraging him to further cooperate for the treatment. I look forward to seeing him walk without a splint”, says Dr Kannan. With your support, we can help many more children like Arul and help them write their own stories.
We request you to spread this news with your friends and family. This is an exciting opportunity to double your happiness.
Here is a link to make your donation. https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/support-abandoned-mentally-challenged-children-1/