Jun 4, 2019

Refreshing the Mind...

It was a glorious moment for Anupriya – as she completed her first ever work of Mural Painting, guided by her favourite teacher, Ms Usha.  She, like all children at ATMA Gurukulam, had an amazing summer vacation, with a host of activities specially planned to refresh and rejuvenate the young minds.

The holiday season kicked off in April, with a movie in one of the plush theatres nearby. This was followed by a trip to the circus, and a special buffet dinner arranged for them at a good restaurant. The children also had their first experience of Live theatre, when they were taken to watch the famous Malayalam play ‘Kadamattathu Kathanar’ by the renowned Theatre group ‘Kalanilayam’ , which was being performed in a specially prepared arena in Thrissur town.

The children were also given ample opportunities to explore their creativity – with sessions in fabric painting, mural painting and creative writing, under the guidance of expert teachers.

In April, the children were taken on a 5-day trip to Puttapparthi, to attend a youth camp. The trip involved overnight train journeys to and fro – for many children, it was their first train journey! The children enjoyed every moment of the long travel- partly by train and partly by bus – singing and dancing, sharing snacks, stopping by way-side tea shops for refreshments, waiting in the railway platform, playing games... it was exciting beyond words!

Soon after, it was election time in Kerala! 5 of our ‘children’ have already grown up into responsible voters – and proudly cast their first vote at Sree Ramakrishna School polling booth at Puranattukara. The run up to the voting day was marked by an avid interest in newspapers, followed by heated discussions on social and political issues. It really was a joy to watch – our little ones grown up now, fully set on the path to responsible citizenship!

In May, the children were given the opportunity to participate in another Individual Development Camp at Saraswathi Vidyanikethan School, Chengamanadu. The camp helped them to introspect, gain new insights on Life, focus on their blessings, and set SMART goals to achieve what they want in life. The camp also had active games sessions, where the children made full use of the large school ground and its sports facilities.

The summer vacation concluded with the announcement of results of all those who had appeared for board/university exams. The children had put up a good show – with excellent performances in their favourite subjects.

With this, ATMA Gurukulam has also reached another milestone – our first college graduate! Amrutha U A has completed her undergraduate programme – getting her degree in Family and Community Science from Vimala College, Thrissur, with an A Grade. She is preparing for the entrance test to do her Masters in Nutrition, and has also joined an internship programme with the Dietitics Department of Daya Hospital, Thrissur.

A special get together was organised at ATMA Gurukulam to felicitate the achievers, and also to inspire the others to put forth their best performance in the coming school year.

On the whole, summer at ATMA Gurukulam has been a season of Joy, Creativity and New Hope – as we look forward to our children growing up into young adults – forging their own paths to success, happiness and service!

Getting Creative with Mural Painting
Getting Creative with Mural Painting
Lunch at Sobha Mall, Thrissur
Lunch at Sobha Mall, Thrissur
Performing Yoga at Youth Camp
Performing Yoga at Youth Camp
May 13, 2019

Support for a Better Life

“I have never seen my son sit so patiently in his wheelchair for such a long time. This chair is so comfortable for him”. Suresh’s happiness was very perceptible as he learnt how to move his son around on the new CP chair. The family had lost most of their possessions in the flood, along with the wheelchair of their 10 year old son who has cerebral palsy. Attending the ATMA Mobility Aids Assessment and Distribution camp proved to be boon for them, as the child was given a new custom-made CP chair, and the required orthotics support, to enable him to attend school with even greater comfort than earlier.

The 3rd phase of the ATMA Mobility Project was organised in March – April 2019. The assessment camp was conducted on March 21st & 22nd. 31 flood victims, who required mobility support and had lost their equipments, were assessed by the expert team from Mobility India, Bangalore. The fitting and training camp was organised from 25th – 27th April. A temporary workshop was set up at the ATMA office campus, for the orthotics & prosthetics team to work. 48 devices were provided to the 29 persons who came for the fitting – 15 wheelchairs, 4 KAFO, 9 AFO, one prosthetic limb, 1 partial foot prosthesis, 5 twin device, 2 walker, 6 knee gaiters, 2 toilet chair, 1 soft neck collar, 1 foot orthosis and 1 elbow crutch .The devices were either custom-made for each person or customised at the camp. The team also gave training to the users and their bystanders in the proper use and maintenance of the device. This ensures that each device is 100% suitable to the person’s needs, and will actually help him/her become more mobile.

The fitting camp was a touching experience. So much joy and hope were shared there.. So much love and gratitude...The joy of a parent who realises that his child can sit longer in school.. The hope of a middle aged father who is able to move on his own with the custom-made wheelchair, and, for the first time in 8 years, feels confident that he could work and earn again.. The excitement of two-year -olds when they bang on the lap-boards of their twin-device, their heads protected by its soft cushion..

For people who were already fighting the wrath of fate in the form of a long-borne disability, the flood had caused an additional burden. With the ATMA Mobility Project, we could ease this burden by one little bit, lend our shoulder for a little while, help them take a little break in their constant fight.. and our reward was there in the well-concealed tears of joy, the cautious smiles of hope, and the carefully controlled outbursts of excitement that we could glimpse in some precious moments!

And our gratitude goes out to all those anonymous, unknown donors on GlobalGiving – who, across nations, across boundaries, came out in one massive wave of support, to lend a hand to a struggling people. To you, we dedicate the ATMA Mobility Project. Every smile it brings is a gift to you alone.  

Mar 6, 2019

Celebrating Art.. Pursuing Growth..

Children enjoyed 'Kathakali' for the first time
Children enjoyed 'Kathakali' for the first time

“I never imagined that I would ever be able to understand Kathakali, let alone enjoy it!” A very excited Indraja was commenting to us, after watching a live performance of the traditional Kerala art form for 2 ½ hours straight!

The children of ATMA Gurukulam had an exciting and energising retreat at the ATMA Youth Camp, ‘Turning Point’, for 4 days during the December holidays. The camp was organised from 26th – 30th December 2018 at the Saraswathi Vidya Nikethan School at Chengamanadu, a flood-affected village, and was primarily aimed at supporting young students in flood-hit areas to overcome their trauma and build resilience. A 3-day dance festival was also organised during these days at the venue, to help the local people to relax and ease back into normal life.

The children of ATMA Gurukulam were given the opportunity to participate in the camp and the dance festival. There were sessions by expert trainers in areas like leadership, self-empowerment, goal setting and relationship building. The children also had Yoga training, games and group discussions.

The best part of the camp were the art workshops and performances. The children had the opportunity to interact with Dr Rajashree Warrier, eminent Bharatanatyam artiste, singer and writer. After watching her performance the previous day, with the accompaniment of live orchestra, the children were very excited to learn from her about the various nuances of the art form, and also about her personal journey as an artiste.

The same day, the children were also given an elaborate lecture- demonstration on Kathakali by a group of eminent artistes. For most of them, it was their first experience of this traditional art form of Kerala. That evening, the artistes gave a live full-fledged performance of Kathakali. The children were enthralled with the grace and beauty of the art, the exquisite music and the elaborate expressions. Being able to understand and enjoy something that they always thought was beyond their grasp – this gave the children a sense of great achievement and euphoria. They also greatly enjoyed the last day’s performance by Bharatnatyam artiste Ms Uma Govind.

The camp was a source of great joy and relaxation for the children – especially as many of them would go back to school in January right into the fray of board exam preparations.

On the one hand, the camp offered them great insights into self-development and achievement. On the other hand, it gave them a first-hand experience of Classical Art – its beauty, its elegance, and its ability to lift one’s soul into a realm of peace. It was their first experience of mature appreciation – a quality that will definitely help them evolve into sensitive and creative individuals.

Interaction with an eminent artiste
Interaction with an eminent artiste
'Kathakali' Lecture-Demonstration
'Kathakali' Lecture-Demonstration
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