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...
Jul 28, 2016

A Proud Moment

Writing the letter A. Many would dismiss that as easy for a teenager. But for Basava and his U&I volunteer teacher Madhuri, it was a special, even groundbreaking, moment.

Basava a spunky, energetic teenager lives at the government-run Institute for Mentally Challenged Boys. He is one of 90 boys at the Home. Basava is known for his never-give-up attitude and his determination to try his hand at new things.

When U&I volunteer Madhuri was assigned to teach Basava she wasn’t sure where to begin. She tentatively gave him paper and pen and held his hand down on the paper. In true Basava style, he gave it his all and enjoyed scribbling on the paper. Over the next few weeks, Madhuri took the next step and guided his hand to write the letter A. They practiced a few times. Many of the As were lopsided and may not have passed muster with an exacting critic. But Basava kept going. He refused to give up till he could do it on his own. And he did. He beamed with pride looking up from a carefully crafted letter to his teacher who had worked patiently with him. 

Madhuri recalls another time when Basava felt this same sense of achievement. After one class Basava managed to put all the pencils back into the box without anyone’s help. It wasn’t an easy task for him – but he kept at it till every pencil was in the right place. 

It’s in these little moments where volunteers like Madhuri stand by the children and encourage them do take steps of their own. 

U&I volunteers invest their time and talent every week at the Home for special needs boys, many of whom have been abandoned by their families. U&I also employs full-time staff and therapists at the Home so children like Basava receive the help and resources to live to their full potential.

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Jun 21, 2016

When Helping Hands Get Help

Like most of the children in the Home for Mentally Challenged Boys, Pruthvi is unable to communicate through words. He was a child who kept to himself, sometimes appearing disinterested in interacting with others. But, U&I volunteers were amazed when, one day, Pruthvi ran up to a child who had fallen in the playground. Without being asked, Pruthvi helped the boy up, took him to the washroom, cleaned his wound, and gave him a glass a water.

In another instance, U&I volunteers were at the Home, preparing for an activity which involved blowing balloons and tying knots on them. Things were going slow and they weren’t having much success. It was then that Pruthvi stopped by. He blew the balloons, tied knots easily and slipped away quietly.

This young boy, who first ran away from U&I volunteers, was now helping them. That’s the level of trust his U&I big brothers and big sisters have built with him. U&I volunteers commit to helping children like Pruthvi every week at the Government Homes for the Mentally Challenged. They see beyond the unresponsiveness and silence. They see the heart of the child, and persist in helping them. And, every single time, they get back more than they give.

Thank you for partnering with us in educating and caring for children like Pruthvi. Your contribution helps us reach out to children who are otherwise neglected. Thank you for giving Pruthvi a chance. 

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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