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Jul 3, 2017

A big milestone for us

Srimathy, Shantha, Shobia & Narmatha
Srimathy, Shantha, Shobia & Narmatha

Dear Friends of Sri Arunodayam!

Greetings to you from the speical children of Sri Arunodayam!

On behalf of the children, staff and the board of trustees of Sri Arunodayam, we sincerely thank you for the support rendered to our organization in all these years. 

Your kindness has helped us continue providing better care and quality of life for intellectually disabled children abandoned by their parents. 

In this report, we are extremely glad to share how your support has impacted the lives of our children.  

Shantha

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 cerebro-spinal fluid within her brain, causing increased pressure inside her skull.

Unable to care for her on account of poverty, her parents surrendered her to an adoption agency. She could not be placed in adoption because she is intellectually disabled and was therefore sent to Sri Arunodayam.

We nurtured her and provided every possible support to help her overcome her limitations.

Shantha has learned many things at Sri Arunodayam, especially concepts relating to

  • Money
  • Time
  • Days of the Week
  • Addition and Subtraction, and
  • Writing and Scripting

She is also extremely passionate in fine arts such as drawing, painting and dancing. She shows keen interest in classical dance and is being trained by an eminent teacher.

Impact:

Shantha was included in a psychological test where we found her to be fit for mainstream education. Going forward, she will be part of inclusive learning at her school. Shantha has been enrolled in the 3rd grade at a Government school.

Shobia

Shobia is a 10 year old little girl who was abandoned on the streets near a temple. She was rescued by the Police and handed over to Sri Arunodayam because she is intellectually challenged.

Shobia has learned a couple of things, more specifically

  • Identification and recitation of numbers
  • Reading and writing skills

Impact:

Shobia is a keen learner, storyteller, and a dancer. Her transformation over the months entitles her to mainstream education. Shobia has been enrolled in the 3rd grade at a Government school.

Srimathy

Srimathy is a 7 year old little girl who was abandoned in the delivery ward of the hospital in which she was born.  She has a twin brother, Sridhar. The hospital authorities were unable to locate their parents, and as both were intellectually challenged, they were sent to us. Srimathy was diagnosed with mild developmental delay and cerebral palsy.

Impact:

Srimathy used to be a hyperactive child who cried incessantly. Individual attention and special education helped her evolve so beautifully that she spreads so much happiness and positivity among the other little girls at the home!

Narmatha

Narmatha is an 8 year old little girl. She was abandoned by a railway track in Madurai District. The Police found her and handed her over to ChildLine. She was later sent to an adoption agency but could not be placed for adoption as she is intellectually disabled. So, she was sent to us.

Narmatha has learned quite a lot at Sri Arunodayam, some of which includes

  • Number recitation
  • Writing skills
  • Poem recitation
  • Storytelling, and
  • Money and time concepts

Impact:

Narmatha committed herself to learning the home’s complete postal address and displays pratical intelligence, which we believe will definitely lead to bigger changes. We are very happy with her progress.

Naresh

Naresh is a 6 year old little boy. His parents surrendered him at the adoption agency in Vellore District because he is intellectually disabled. He came to us for care and rehabilitation and with special education, he  has become an idependent child today.

Impact:

Naresh was included in a psychological test where we found him to be fit for mainstream education. Going forward, he will be part of inclusive learning at his school. Naresh has been enrolled in the 1st  grade at a Government school.

Anubam

Anubam is an 8 year old little boy who was abandoned by his family. He was sent to an adoption agency, but being an intellectually disabled child, he was sent to us.

Anubam was placed in the early intervention program and was later provided with special education. 

Impact: Anubam was included in a psychological test where we found him to be fit for mainstream education. Going forward, he will be part of inclusive learning at his school. Anubam has been enrolled in the 1st  grade at a Government school.

Madavan

Madavan is a 7 year old little boy living with mild intellectual disability. He was abandoned by his parents near a Police Station. Post the legal formalities, he was admitted to an adoption agency but could not be put up for adoption due to his disability. He was later sent to us for rehabilitiaon.

Madhavan was placed in the early intervention program and provided special education. 

Impact:

Madavan was included in a psychological test where we found him to be fit for mainstream education. Going forward, he will be part of inclusive learning at his school. Madavan has been enrolled in the 1st  grade at a Government school.

Sridhar

Sridharis a 7 year old little boy who was abandoned in the delivery ward of the hospital in which he was born. He has a twin sister, Srimathy (whose story is given above). The hospital authorities were unable to locate their parents, and as both were intellectually disabled they were sent to Sri Arunodayam.

Sridhar was placed in the early intervention program and provided special education. 

Impact:

Sridhar was included in a psychological test where we found him to be fit for mainstream education. Going forward, he will be part of inclusive learning at his school. Sridhar has been enrolled in the 1st  grade at a Government school.

Ankeeth

Ankeeth is a 16 year old boy. He was abandoned by his parents when he was just 3, and being unable to express himself at that tender age, he was sent to us.

Ankeeth was given physiotherapy and special education regularly, which brought about a complete transformation in him.  Today, he helps around our office and can even operate the computer with ease!

Impact:

Ankeeth is very intelligent, so we enrolled him in a one-year Diploma Course at the Vocational Rehabilitaion Centre (VRC) where he is learning computer hardware and operations. Ankeeth is highy independent and he travels to College on his own. He has learnt to use the public transportation system. 

Mukesh

Mukesh was found begging with his mother at a traffic signal, and was resuced by ChildLine. He is blind and his mother is mentally ill. Apparently, his mother was sent to a rehabilitation home but we could not locate her. Mukesh was sent to us. With special education, and orientation and mobility training, he shows tremendous improvement. We later realized that Mukesh has no disability other than being blind.  

Impact:

We placed Mukesh in a special school for the blind and now he is in the 9th grade. He is highly independent and wants to become an Advocate. Mukesh is very passionate about music and is learning music at the school, which is also very famous for its orchestra of blind students. Mukesh scores high marks in the exams and appears to have a bright future ahead. He is also a mature and well behaved boy.

A Special Note of Thanks

It gives us immense pleasure to let you know that these children have commenced regular schooling. They are becoming part of mainstream society.

It is an overwhelming moment for us, watching them move into the next phase of life. To think about the changes that they will make as individuals gives us great joy and motivates us to work for more children who are neglected by society.

We are extremely proud to say that these children were part of our special education training and were uplifted by our core team of special educators with your support. 

Anubam, Naresh, Madavan & Sridhar
Anubam, Naresh, Madavan & Sridhar
Ankeeth
Ankeeth
Mukesh
Mukesh
May 24, 2017

It's only in the black of night you see the stars!

Stars of the Event - 15 incredible Special Moms
Stars of the Event - 15 incredible Special Moms

15 incredible mothers of ‘special’ children were honored with a cash prize of INR 15,000/- each and a Special Lifetime Pass to free services from Sri Arunodayam.This event commemorates our 15th year of service to abandoned intellectually disabled children.

Celebrating Mother’s Day - May 14, 2017 in a unique way, Sri Arunodayam honored 15 mothers of ‘special’ children for their incredible courage and for not taking the easy way out by abandoning their children. The mothers received a cash award and a special lifetime pass to free services from Sri Arunodayam, in a ceremony held at New Woodlands Hotel, Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore, Chennai.

The Director of Karur Vysya Bank - our Guest of Honor, and an eminent Gynaecologist and President of the Tamil Nadu Woman Doctors Association together with Sri Arunodayam’s benefactors gave away the award and a host of other prizes to the 15 finalists.

Before the event, the doctor conducted a closed-door workshop for the 15 special moms who were very happy for the opportunity to connect with such eminent faculty and freely discuss their personal health issues. More workshops and sessions on new caregiving techniques, mental health, stress control, special education, and other hot topics are being scheduled by Sri Arunodayam for the finalists, in the coming months.

The mothers, their special children and around 150 of their family members enjoyed a wonderful evening together with Sri Arunodayam staff and children, donors, benefactors and a large crowd of well-wishers. The program commenced with 5 ladies lighting the lamp – the doctor, the oldest Special Mom, our special girl child, our long-standing lady donor & well-wisher), and the lady Executive Producer of First Copy Productions, who helped choreograph the event).

Each mother’s story, captured on film and presented at the time of the awards, moved the audience to tears as everyone present witnessed the true essence of motherhood brought to life through hardship. The struggles and the achievements of both the mothers and their children clearly showed them to be people of incredible strength and positivity.

Some of the mothers spoke of how people encouraged them to kill off or abandon their special children – a dark and disturbing trend that came to light, especially in a society perceived to be educated, God-fearing, and culturally and morally sound.

During the event, Sri Arunodayam’s special children gave an exhilarating dance performance which left the audience awe-struck, and a well-known dance team performed on the most trending song of “Baahubali” to entertain the audience. An exciting entertainment program followed in which all the special children participated and danced with gusto – clearly enjoying themselves! Typical Chennai South Indian meals followed for dinner, which was a gastronomical delight and much appreciated by all. 

The Special Mom event will be an annual one as we quest applicants from across the country to pick the 15 most deserving mothers to honor for steadfast commitment to their ‘special’ children.

Sri Arunodayam received over 100 applications from mothers across South India and a group of eminent panelists screened every application carefully to arrive at the 15 finalists for 2017. More information on the Special Moms and their stories are available at: https://sriarunodayam.org/special-mom-post-page/

TESTIMONIALS:

Thilagavathy D, Mother of 2 special children, and one of the 15 Special Mom Finalists

"I never imagined that I would be recognized for my role as mother to a 'special' child.  Who would even think of doing this? I am humbled and so grateful that Sri Arunodayam helped me see my own worth. My family is deeply touched by the warmth, affection and honor we received. It's something I can’t describe. We were worried about the future of our special children but after this wonderful program, our fears have been laid to rest because we know that Sri Arunodayam will honor its word. I'm so happy to be part of the Sri Arunodayam family!"

Dr. Sumithra Shanmugham, President of the Tamil Nadu Woman Doctors Association; Recipient of the Best Woman Doctor, and Lifetime Achievement Awards from Dr. MGR Medical University, Chennai, India

"I thank the Sri Arunodayam team for giving me this rare opportunity of sharing my views with the Special Moms who are stressed and really need mental support. I am very pleased at the way this program is arranged with a view to enlighten them on the need to take care of their own health in order to support their special children. I wish that Sri Arunodayam organizes more such interactive sessions. I wish the team all success!"

Nanda Kumar Nagarajan, a software professional for over two decades, and one of Sri Arunodayam’s Trustees

"Brilliant! Kudos to the team that worked behind the scenes for months to mark a special day for the Special Moms and a special event for Sri Arunodayam! How I miss bringing every one of my friends and relatives to this wonderful event. Iyyappan, Jayachitra and the team continue to amaze me with their relentless pursuit of excellence in everything they do – and doing it all with a smile. I take a bow!"

Marie Mills, an Australian Senior Medical Professional in Disability & Rehabilitation

"No mother wants to relinquish the child she has given birth to. Poverty, lack of knowledge, guilt, judgements, discrimination - all impact on mothers to relinquish their differently-abled children. Disability remains a misunderstood issue.  By providing advocacy for mothers of special children, Sri Arunodayam has brought about a cultural alteration. In order to support a child living with a disability, society must first support the mother. The best carer for any child, irrespective of capacity is the mother. This is an astute long-ranging initiative from the Sri Arunodayam team. The organization serves in congruence with its core values - working towards the well-being of differently abled children. This Sri Arunodayam Charitable Trust (SACT) concept has the potential to influence thinking, nationally and internationally. Congratulations SACT!"

Niranjan Arcot, Creative Consultant & Documentary Film Producer

When a person's life gets entwined in an unresolvable situation, it takes a lifetime of coping - all by oneself. The mother of a special child gets little or no support; on the contrary she faces severe ostracism from friends and family. Somewhere deep inside her crippled spirit, she finds the courage and conviction to dedicate her entire life for the child. She becomes not just mother but God to the child. For without her, the child cannot survive.

"For almost two decades I have been associated with several organizations involved in caring for the intellectually disabled. My life has been immeasurably enriched simply by getting to know many such special mothers. Isolated and with no frame of reference, they must often go through moments of extreme doubt on whether they are doing the right thing. But for Special Moms at the awards evening, all their doubts would have been vanquished forever. Because, they themselves would never have realized the magnitude of the nobility they have achieved so silently and selflessly. I pray that this event becomes the frame of reference for all such mothers. An infinite pool of strength and support in their moment of need. I commit myself to this cause heart and soul.  Iyyappan.... such an honour to know you!"

[100% of this event was funded by a group of kind benefactors including corporate houses and individual donors. Sri Arunodayam is ever so grateful to GlobalGiving donors who specifically donated to this program. Thank you for helping us begin the cultural alteration that is so necessary in a country like ours.]

May 8, 2017

They entered our home and our hearts!

Marie Mills ministering to the boys at our home
Marie Mills ministering to the boys at our home

In a story that rocked the neighborhood, three brothers became orphans a few days ago when their parents committed suicide. The boys - approximately between 18 to 22 years of age (and whose names have been withheld from this report) had been living with their parents in a village called Moongildurai in Villupuram District in Tamil Nadu, India.

In deep despair, their parents committed suicide by hanging on May 2nd but the father was rescued and admitted to a hospital for treatment. However, on his release on the 3rd, and still suffering from depression, he made a second attempt which proved fatal.

The media brought the story to light and the Chief Justice of Chennai immediately took up the matter. The court ordered District Administration to find a suitable Government recognized institution that the boys could call, home.

And so it was that the boys became a part of our home, on the 4th morning at 1.00 am.

Nothing much is known about their parents or about their normal elder brother who is married with a family of his own. But what we do know is that there are thousands of parents out there, just like this couple, suffering in silence. Society can ill afford to remain indifferent or ignorant. While we may not all be medical experts, we can certainly help connect such families with the right organizations and bring them hope and comfort. It’s worth remembering that “disability is not an illness; ignorance is”.

Wilson’s Disease

In addition to intellectual disability, the boys are living with Wilson’s disease – also known as hepatolenticular degeneration and progressive lenticular degeneration – a rare genetic disorder that causes copper poisoning in the body. It affects about 1 in 30,000 people worldwide.

In a healthy body, the liver filters out excess copper and releases it through urine. With Wilson’s disease, the liver cannot remove the extra copper properly. This then builds up in organs such as the brain, liver, and eyes. Early diagnosis is crucial for stopping the progression of this disease. Treatment may involve taking medication or getting a liver transplant. Delaying or not receiving treatment can cause liver failure, brain damage, or other life-threatening conditions.(Source: Healthline.com)

 
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