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...
Jun 11, 2015

Home of the Mentally Challenged Boys

Vaikunt
Vaikunt

Vaikunt has been volunteering at the Government Home for the Mentally Challenged Boys for two and half years. Little did he know that his faith in a better tomorrow would be rekindled after his interaction with the boys at the home. He was surprised that the boys barely showed any signs of being “special”. They danced with so much joy and showed unconditional love to every volunteer. Greeting them with a smile, hug and a handshake. “Being my first time at the home, I was more curious than nervous the entire day before I gradually settled down. It was time to give the kids snacks and while 84 boys were drooling over the biscuits that were being served, there was one child who refused to eat. The staff and few volunteers said he never eats snacks and we should not force feed him. Apparently he ate only when he was hungry. At college, I had just learnt about observational learning as a part of my child psychology syllabus and being the curious guy that I am, I placed a few biscuits on a plate in front of the boy and left it there. As we all started to wave goodbye to our kids, I saw this boy slowly eating the biscuits that were placed in front of him. Thats when I knew that I was exactly where I wanted to be. I don’t remember the boy or his name. But he changed my life forever”.

The Institute for Mentally handicapped children (IMHC) currently houses 87 boys with special needs who have been abandoned by their families or lost and brought to the Institute. There are 17 severe and profoundly challenged boys who are cared for everyday by the assistant carers. They are taught -weekdays, months, numbers, colors, animals, vegetables, fruits, body parts and alphabets. The boys also watch animated movies once in a while. Play school boys are engaged by assistant carers who provide care and attention to them through out the day. The Special needs teachers are following a standard assessment procedure to complete assessment for the boys undergoing speech therapy. Two boys who are currently undergoing basic speech therapy have already shown interest and enthusiasm in interacting and communicating better.The physiotherapist has been working on intensive therapy for a few boys.The boys are more active due to the different activities they are engaged in every Sunday. Progress in terms of social interaction, behavior, and ability to follow instructions have greatly improved in the last few months. The boys are also learning to form friendships and bonds with the regular volunteers and the other boys in their group.

It is not always us changing the lives of the children we work with. More often than not, they are changing us too – making us better people, friends, caregivers and leaders. They give us hope for a better tomorrow and keep us motivated to achieve our dreams and most importantly, they teach us to believe that change is possible. Working with the boys in a State run Home is bound to be challenging. Everyday brings us new issues, experiences and situations. Thank you so much for supporting our work at the Institute and believing in the work we do for these amazing boys.

 

May 31, 2015

World 10K Run Report

2014 Summer Camp
2014 Summer Camp

It’s finally summer vacation and all the kids from U&I know that it’s time for Summer Camps. Last year, Jebamani had an unforgettable camp. She made a friend for life. Aishwarya, a dedicated U&I volunteer had written her a note at the end of camp. Jebamani promised to keep the note forever and never forget Aishwarya. A year later, when Aishwarya visited the center, she remembered Aishwarya and showed her the note. Summer Camps are able to establish an indescribable bond between the volunteers and children.


Every year in the month of May and June, U&I conducts 2 or 3 day summer camps at each of our learning centers. The summer camps are non academic and include activities like personality development, career counseling, arts and crafts, music and games. This year, the summer camp is going to be called “Touch the Sky”. We hope to focus on developing our students’ personalities and finding their interests and talents. In Bangalore, we have recruited 34 interns to conduct summer camps at 8 centers. In Chennai, summer camp will be conducted in 3 centers over 9 days.


We are really looking forward to a great summer and the positive impact its going to have on these wonderful children. All this is made possible by your continued support and encouragement. Thank you once again for believing in what we do here at U&I and for being the change within our community. 

Apr 13, 2015

U&I Teach Report

John Peter with the U&I volunteers
John Peter with the U&I volunteers

John is 12 years old. The first time Jeevitha, a U&I Teach manager met him was at Ashwini Charitable Trust. John is one of the 44 children that come to ACT for English classes. Looking back, the first interaction that she had to have with John was an unpleasant one. The volunteers who taught him complained about his behavior. John was a handful to deal with during class. His constant interruptions and attention seeking tactics were not received well by the volunteers. Being a teach manager, Jeevitha took responsibility for him. She took personal interest in his work and started to sit in on his classes.

U&I uses flippen tools in all our classrooms. As part of that culture, it was time to pick a child to end the class with a launch. John was her first choice. However, he declined every day. He would see Jeevitha at a distance and bolt in the opposite direction. After much coaxing and pleading he finally agreed to do the launch. John talked about honesty. He believes that honesty is the key to a successful and happy life. He encouraged everyone to be honest because he saw no other way of life.

A highly valued partner in the U&I Teach programme this year is the Flippen Group. Established in 1991, the Flippen Group is the largest educator training organisation in North America today and has been working in countries across the globe, changing the learning environments in schools and learning institutions. We have been immensely blessed to have trainers from the Flippen Group work with us to customise classroom management tools to fit the needs of our Learning Centres. They also conducted a 2-day training session for all the volunteer leaders and staff and we have since then implemented these tools in all our Learning Centres.

Flippen tools have impacted the U&I culture in a huge way. The children, volunteers and staff have incorporated it into their lifestyle. We hope to spread this culture across India. It is your constant support and belief in us that allows us to make this kind of impact. Thank you for your help and dedication. 

 
   

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