U&I

INTRODUCTION Our journey began in May 2009, when a few friends from a local youth group visited a home for mentally challenged boys in Bangalore. From a small group of friends, to becoming a movement that hundreds of people would get involved in and to eventually becoming an organisation that would have projects across the city of Bangalore - no one would have guessed that this was how things would eventually turn out. Even today, we're amazed at all that's happened in the last four years & are excited about all that is to come. Since our inception in January 2011, we have focused most of our activities towards the education of underprivileged and special needs children. We be...
May 9, 2016

Vishnu Smiles Back

Tejas has been volunteering with U&I at the Government Home for Special Needs Boys for two years now. For his latest assignment Tejas was specifically asked to interact with Vishnu, a young boy in the Home – one of the children with profound development needs.

“I found it difficult to interact with Vishnu as he didn’t respond to me at all,” admits Tejas. But gradually that changed. It took a while but, one day, after trying to work on some motor skills activities with Vishnu, Tejas was rewarded with a warm smile. That evening, when Tejas wrapped up his volunteer time and was set to leave, he felt a hand in his. Vishnu had reached out to shake Tejas’s hand for the first time.

“For others it might sound like a small thing, but for me it was a huge deal. I cannot explain how happy I felt that day,” says Tejas. The next time Tejas visited the Home, Vishnu knew why he was there. He greeted Tejas with a big smile every single time after that. The bond was unmistakable. For Vishnu, who has no interaction with anyone outside the Home, here was someone who came week after week simply to sit by him and play with him.

Vishnu is one of 92 boys at the Government Home abandoned by their families because of their special needs. U&I has worked with the Home for the last five years employing therapists, care givers and staff to ensure that each child has access to care and rehabilitation. Our volunteers interact with the children, developing their social skills and creating a mentoring relationship with them.

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May 6, 2016

The Best Birthday Gift

Adham first came to Annal Children's Home in Chennai with his 1-year-old brother, Gigikal. Being orphans, Adham took his role as big brother seriously. By the time his brother could walk, Adham was already 11 years old - and had never gone to school.

Adham's world revolved around dressing Gigikal in those little khakhi trousers, packing his school-bag and sending him to school. Even though he had been sending his brother to school daily, he never felt like he was missing out on something.

It was at this time in his life that U&I started teaching at Annal home.

For a boy who had never seen a classroom before, U&I was a whole new world. He would observe the class in progress from a distance every week. The sharing of greetings, the good things that had happened and the mutual affirmations drew him in.  For the first time in his life, he wanted to go to school. He wanted to be affirmed. He wanted to be something more.

That desire to go to school was all that was needed, everything else fell into place. He got admission in a school nearby and the week after, we took him into our U&I Teach program. It was his birthday that day and we asked him to share his good thing for this week. 

He said, "ENAKUM PADIKANUM NU AASAIYA IRINDIDI AANA ENNA YARUM SETHUKALA. IPO NAAN PADIKA PORAN. U&I KU THANKS!" (Even I want to be able to study. But nobody helped. Now I’m finally going to study. Thanks to U&I)

Support children like Adham by partnering with U&I at the World 10K Run in Bangalore on May 15, 2016. Your donation will give underprivilged children the right to an education. Together, we can be the change!

 

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May 5, 2016

Why Gopi Claps Today

If Gopi could speak using words you and I could understand, he would say, “Thank you.” This young man sat alone, week after week, at the Special Needs Home for Men. He was reluctant to communicate with anyone. He knew his spot in the Home and stayed there – no one thought it would make a difference to engage him in a conversation or game. He was brushed aside. At least till two of our volunteers decided to invest in Gopi’s life.

Rounak and Sunny decided to lend Gopi a hand. Literally. Every visit, the two determined volunteers would help Gopi to his feet, hold his arms and take him for a short walk. Every visit they saw a change in Gopi. A small change. But enough to give the volunteers hope to stick with it. They then decided to engage him through games. The young volunteers would roll the ball to him, expecting him to catch it. Gopi looked on listlessly, ignoring the ball. But, slowly, that changed too.

One day, as our volunteers rolled the ball to him, Gopi grabbed it. To their amazement, he effortlessly threw the ball back to them. It was a turning point for Gopi. He no longer sits alone in the corner. He knows the U&I volunteers and while he may not have words, he does have a beautiful smile and an enthusiastic clap. Your support makes it possible for us to continue to give Gopi the care he deserves at the Men’s Home. Gopi may not say thank you with his words. But he does smile and clap in his unique way to show his thanks.

 

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