Dear U&I Care Partner
The Institute for Mentally Handicapped Children (IMHC) currently houses 89 boys with special needs who have been abandoned by their families or had got lost and were brought to the Home. Working with the boys in a State run Home is bound to be challenging with everyday brings us new issues, experiences and situations and working through them to bring change in the lives of these boys is the most rewarding thing.
Thank you so much for partnering with us and believing in the work that we do for these wonderful children.
Some of the main highlights and challenges are:
- Health & Hygiene – The older boys at the Institute have undergone training in activities of daily living (ADL). 28 boys are capable of brushing and bathing independently. The assistant carers also ensure that all boys are wearing clean clothes and are toilet-trained throughout the day. The number of boys with head and eye lice has drastically reduced to a handful. There have been no major illnesses in the past few months.
- Therapy & Activities – This festive season, the older boys painted beautiful diyas (earthen lamps) to celebrate Diwali – the festival of lights. Each boy was given the freedom to choose his colours and taught how to paint neatly. It was amazing to observe the natural talent in these boys when it came to choice of colours and ability to paint. Computer training was taken to the next level where one boy is now practicing his typing on Typing Master, which is a software for learning how to type. For the boys who are profoundly challenged, a playschool has been started, where the boys are kept engaged through the day.
- Physiotherapy – the physiotherapist has been working with 10 boys with cerebral palsy and other equilibrium problems. New physiotherapy equipment was bought to start new motor therapies for the boys. The boys are closer to achieving independency in motor movement after the intensive therapy of last few months.
- Volunteering at the Institute – every Sunday about 40 volunteers visit the Home and engage the boys in different activities. They follow a Special Needs Curriculum designed to engage children with different levels of mental retardation. The volunteers also spend time cleaning and gardening at the Institute and help provide a better environment for all the boys.
- Diwali celebrations at the Institute – volunteers gathered one Sunday evening with fireworks to celebrate Diwali with the boys. Flower pots, sparklers, rockets and Chinese lanterns kept the boys enthralled the whole evening!
Story of the month:
Sadaab, one of the older boys at the Institute was well known for two main characteristics – every time he walked past any of the boys, he would hit him with his fist. There was no real anger in this behavious, he just liked hitting. He would get into fights with the other boys regularly where he would chase them across the grounds to hit them. The second and nicer characteristic was that he would greet the people he knew by name, with a big smile on his face. It made the person at the receiving end smile right back at him.
Unfortunately, his behaviour of hitting other boys showed no signs of reducing even after many conversations and disciplining methods so the team sat down to discuss a new plan of action. It was decided to include him in vocational therapy and give him some painting activity. This worked like a charm! Sadaab loves painting and is incredibly good at it. He needs very little instruction and direction and gets lost in a world of his own while he paints on paper and ice cream sticks.
We decided to go a step further and he was given clay diyas to paint. He chose his own colour combinations and took his time to paint many diyas. Each one was filled with colour and looked beautiful. The team was in awe at the creativity and skill that came naturally to this boy when most others needed to be taught over many days. The other positive is that he has become calmer and doesn't hit the boys as much. Painting is given to him as a reward for not hitting anyone on a particular day. Sadaab is now one of the most artistic boys at the Institute and continues to greet people with a big smile on his face. If you visit during his painting class he will say hello, smile and show you his latest art, waiting for you to appreciate him. The team feels so proud of what he has learnt and has become capable of!
Plans for the next few months include hiring a Special Needs Teacher to design and teach a structured curriculum, Christmas celebrations at the Home and training for all staff.
Every day at the Institute we learn something new. Every day they give us a reason to smile because they manage to accomplish something and surprise us. All the challenges and struggles become worth it when we see the change in the boys and know that today, we helped them realize that something beautiful was possible.
Diyas painted by the boys