Children
 India
Project #10721

Home for mentally challenged boys

by U&I
The volunteers and the boys taking a water break!
The volunteers and the boys taking a water break!

On 27th November, children from the Boys Home and the children from Citizen Foundation spent a fun filled day at the Banerghatta Zoo. They were accompanied by employees of VISA.

The day long adventure started off with the children dressing up with a big smile on their faces. The children were extremely happy and incredibly excited for the bus ride. On arriving at the zoo, the children were divided into groups. Each volunteer handled a particular group along with the employees of VISA Company and headed towards the safari. A total of 46 children from the Boys Home spent the day with various animals such as tigers, lions, elephants, deer, bears and others. After the safari, the boys enjoyed their lunch. Post lunch, the kids, volunteers and employees walked around the zoo, after which they enjoyed bars of chocolate.

On being asked about his visit to the zoo, Sujay Gowda, a volunteer from GHM, had to say, “It was an amazing day! Whenever I hear that I have to travel somewhere by bus, I tend to cancel plans. Seeing the kids so happy made me realize how blessed we are. Another highlight from that evening, was when the kids started offering the volunteers seats on the bus. That was truly beautiful”

We often tend to take certain things in life for granted. We forget how even small moments can have a major impact on our life. The visit to Banerghatta Zoo provided the volunteers an opportunity to learn from one another and most importantly, learn from the kids. As for the children, they viewed the world differently and had a great time at the zoo. The smile, the happiness, the contentment and the cheerfulness in their eyes, made it a memorable day. 

The Boys at the Home for the Mentally Challeneged Boys are doing great. They are growing everyday and becoming more independent. Thank you for your support and the role that you play in the meaningful work that U&I is able to accomplish. 

Art work by the boys
Art work by the boys

The special needs classes at the Home has made significant progress in the last couple of months. The boys who are engaged in the class are able to identify numbers, fruits, vegetables, animals, vehicles and colors. They are also learning to identify alphabets, days of the week, months and shapes. In August, the boys were given individual attention from the teachers. Each boy was called up in front of the class and asked to recite the information they had learned. The special needs teachers are always thinking of creative ways to teach the boys. To make classes more fun, they helped the boys identify shapes with the help of ice cream sticks. This activity proved to be slightly challenging for the boys. Raja, was the only one who enjoyed the activity and was able to successfully complete his task without any help.

The highlight of this month for the boys were when they had a story telling session. The boys were given books to read in groups. Karthick, Thayesh, Appi and Chian could not handle the group session and insisted on receiving their own books. While boys like Rahul, Gopal, Solomon and Akash were not interested in group reading. Raja, Nawaz, Pavan, Dasrath, Sudhakar and Legmar shared their books as well as helped others to read. The boys are definitely growing everyday. 

The play school at the Home has two new assistant carers. They have been trained to work with the boys in the playschool.New toys that focus on sound and touch are proving to be great fun for the boys. The assistant carers are also playing ball with the boys to improve their motor skills.Since there are three assistant carers in the playschool, the boys get more attention and are more active now.

The Home is growinh everyday. They are learning to live as a community. Some days are challenging for the Care Managers, they have to take a moment to remember the smile on the boys’ faces. The hard work pays off when they see the boys smile. With the support of our volunteers we have seen a significant improvement in the boys and the men. Thank you so much for supporting our work at the Institutes and believing in the work we do with these wonderful boys. We hope to achieve more in the months to come.

The boys celebrated Independence Day!
The boys celebrated Independence Day!
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.

 

Chian
Chian

At U&I Care, our vision is to transform institutional care in India. U&I as- sists in the care and rehabilitation of 85 mentally challenged boys at the Institute of Mentally Handicapped Children (a state run institution). With 8 staff working full time on this project, U&I provides medical care, physiotherapy, occupational ther- apy and grooming for the boys at the Home. In the last four years, U&I has made a tremendous impact on the level of care and rehabilitation provided to these aban- doned boys.

Chian is a quiet boy. He likes to isolate himself and never interacts with anyone. It has been years since he has spoken. During a couple of group activities, the teachers tried to talk with Chian. They found that he finds it incredibly difficult to talk and express himself due to the lack of attention throughout his life. This led the teachers to engage Chian in rigorous speech therapy. Now, he is able to whisper simple words such as, “hi”, “bye”, and “yes”. When he sees someone he is able to greet them, smile, shake hands with them and even attempt to talk. It is amazing to watch Chian grow. His increased confidence and participation in activities is en- couraging.

The next couple of months look promising. We plan on profiling and assess- ing the boys who require speech therapy, we hope to teach the mildly challenged boys to tell time and to toilet train the boys with severe/profound mental chal- lenges. One of our main focuses was to improve group interaction among the boys. We engaged the boys in group activities such as storytelling, identifying colours and objects. During vocational therapy class the boys made gift covers and cards. The boys also got to play sports. This month they played cricket. Our volunteers are dedicated as ever. They will be focusing on motor skills, reactions to the envi- ronment and interaction skills for the next three months.

Every day at the Home, our team discovers new ways of helping the boys and making it more comfortable for the boys. You help make these boys smile. Thank you so much for supporting our work at the Institute and believing in the work we do for these amazing boys. 

Naveen
Naveen

The Institute for Mentally handicapped children (IMHC) currently houses 85 boys with special needs who have been abandoned by their families or lost and brought to the Institute. Working with the boys in a State run Home is bound to be challenging with everyday bringing 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.

Some of the main highlights and challenges are:

  • Health & Hygiene - 20 severe and profoundly challenged boys are given a bath and brushed every morning by the assistant carers. Grooming with nail care has been going on every week to ensure all boys have clean cut nails. A new government doctor has been appointed to ensure good health of the boys on a regular basis. Due to weather changes a few boys have been down with fever and common colds.
  • Therapy & Activities - The boys have been doing paper art and slowly increasing the difficulty level with their fine motor skills. They have also started making Christmas decorations to bring in some Christmas cheer at the Institute. They are making snowflakes, candy canes and Christmas trees. The boys who are profoundly challenged are given toys and engaged throughout the day in play school by the assistant carers. Yoga for 10 boys is being done every day in the morning before breakfast. The boys have learnt 10 asanas and end with meditation.
  • Physiotherapy – 10 boys have been undergoing physiotherapy every day for 20 minutes each. A majority of the boys have improved balance and gait through vigorous physiotherapy.
  • Volunteering at the Institute – The volunteers have been doing curriculum with the boys on a 1:3 ratio. Some of the boys were reassessed and progress was noted. A few new skill based activities for fine motor skills were designed.
  • Events at the Institute – A Christmas carnival is being planned for the boys in December. The boys will have rides, popcorn, cotton candy, Christmas carols and Santa with Christmas gifts!

Story of the month:

A lot of our boys are sent to the Men’s Complex once they are 21 years. One boy who was sent recently was Naveen. Naveen was a part of the special needs classes that were conducted every day by the teachers hired by U&I. He was a great learner and always had a smile on his face. He is a soft spoken boy so the teachers had to train their ears to hear him in class. One of Naveen’s favourite things to do was sing nursery rhymes. He was the happiest and most active during these sessions.

After Naveen got shifted to the Men’s complex, the teachers did not get to see him for nearly a month. One day, the teachers decided to visit the complex and meet with all the boys. When they entered the room where the boys were seated, Naveen quickly got up, ran up to the teachers and started doing the actions for the rhyme “chubby cheeks”! The teachers were both surprised and extremely happy to see that he still remembered his rhymes and was excited about them as well.

It was truly an inspiring moment for our teachers. Teaching the boys the same rhymes, numbers and alphabets every day requires a lot of patience. On most days, they are unsure if what they teach is actually being grasped by all the boys. On such days, they now remember Naveen and know that even a small rhyme is a happy memory in the lives of our boys. It is truly humbling to know we are the reason the boys smile with fond memories of days they have spent with us in learning.

Plans for the next few months include starting basic speech therapy for a few boys by the special needs teachers, buying new equipment for physiotherapy and hiring more assistant carers.

We are continuously striving to make the lives of the boys a little bit better every day. On the challenging days we take a moment to remember and witness the smile on their faces and that is always enough reason to continue to make a difference in every way we can!

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Organization Information

U&I

Location: Bangalore, Karnataka - India
Website: http:/​/​www.uandi.org.in
U&I
Project Leader:
Ajit Sivaram
Bangalore, Karnataka India