Dear Friends of Sri Arunodayam,
“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.”
- Charles R Swindoll
Each day that you donated to our cause you helped provide life’s most basic needs to the children of Sri Arunodayam. Thanks to you, they lead content and happy lives as children ought to.
Project Cost: $50,000
Local Partner: Global Giving
Project GPS Coordinates: 13.1247° N, 80.2027° E
At Sri Arunodayam, we believe that every abandoned intellectually disabled child is entitled to receive the same opportunities as normal children. Having built our foundation on values that uphold the dignity and rights of such children, we do our best to help them experience content and purposeful lives.
Thanks to you, a total number of around 200 children have directly benefited through the rehabilitation programs you generously funded. You have helped make Sri Arunodayam’s children more self-reliant and confident. Thank you for helping change their lives.
In the past year:
- We hired 4 additional special educators for a better teacher-child ratio. They assist the children with language-related learning issues, such as speaking, listening and writing.
- We hired a clinical psychologist to work with the children on a regular basis as opposed to a “need basis”. As children grow, behavioural issues are on the rise. The clinical psychologist also conducts the annual IQ assessment so that children can be specifically rehabilitated in unique areas of need.
- Many of the children have malformed limbs and decreased muscle tone which makes it tough for them to engage in learning over extended periods. Your generosity helped us acquire specially designed classroom furniture for them.
- We conducted monthly psychiatric and neurological evaluations on 46 children living with serious psychiatric conditions, and on 32 children on fits medications (4 children have been taken off medications as they have improved). Such evaluations help us monitor each child’s progress and medicine intake, and upgrade to newer holistic treatments whenever required.
- Your sponsorship helped us acquire much needed specialty physiotherapy equipment for the children, such as an Electrical Muscle Stimulator (a strength training and rehabilitation tool for partially or totally immobilized children), a Trans-cutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator (TENS), Ultrasound Imaging Equipment to identify and target nerves, Splints and Orthotics (to help modify body structure imbalances), and Interferential Therapy (to relieve pain and accelerate the self-healing process).
More Project Notes:
- A teenager who was enrolled for a Diploma Course at the Government Vocational Rehabilitation Centre (VRC) last year, has now been placed in a leading Bakery in Chennai city. He is the first successful case of our Community-based employment program.
- A blind teenager has graduated to the 10th Grade at St. Louis School for the Blind. The young lad is also a musician. This school is very famous for its orchestra of blind students.
- 7 girls are continuing at their fine arts classical Indian Bharatanatyam dance program. They made an additional 12 public performances in the past year. They are tutored by a renowned Indian classical dancer. (Dance is therapeutically helping them overcome common problems associated with their condition, such as hyperactivity, gait imbalance/awkwardness, and memory issues).
- Around 50 children participated in 3 major sporting events for the differently abled. They won 15 gold, 6 silver and 6 bronze medals for 30, 50, and 100 meters walking and running events. (We encourage them to participate in sports as the activity is good for their overall development and morale, and helps them strive toward goals).
- 11% of children continue their education at regular schools. 4 girls (aged 7-12) and 4 boys (aged 7-10) attend the local Government school, studying under the ‘inclusive learning’ program.
- 113 children received special education and speech therapy of which 25 are under the Individualized Education Program (IEP); 50 are getting regular physiotherapy, and 35 are receiving vocational training.
- 3 new vocational projects were commenced in the past year and our vocational center executed 138 project orders successfully. New vocational programs have been introduced for girls, namely wire basket making, and tailoring and embroidery. (Vocational training is a form of occupational therapy, helping them develop the necessary skills to sustain a trade).
- Conducted 26 picnics and educational outings, and 12 medical camps for the children.
- 4 children were reunited with their families in the past year.
- 46 children continue to receive critical psychiatric medications and 28 receive fits medications. 45 children use diapers (which are changed 3 times a day).
- Received 15 new children across all age groups (6 months to 18 years); they have been automatically enrolled in the medical and rehabilitation programs at the home. Almost 50% are severely intellectually disabled.
- Approximately 4000 volunteers and sponsors visited our home in the past year to interact with the children and conduct training and entertainment programs. Each opportunity to interact is helping our children gain more social confidence.
Annual Report 2017-18:We encourage you to download and read our report at: https://sriarunodayam.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Sri-Arunodayam-2017-2018_Annual_Report-.pdf
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Thank you dear donors for your generosity in the past year. Sri Arunodayam has put your contributions to good use by providing care, special education, therapy and rehabilitation, and vocational training to over 112 children at our home.
CARE & SUPPORT
[Involves caregiving (safe shelter, food, clothing), medicines/medical interventions]
Sri Arunodayam provides the best possible shelter, food, clothing, medical interventions, and care that can be provided to these children.
The outcome: The children benefit from these services and are enabled to lead dignified lives. Good nutrition leads most back to a healthy and fairly normal life. Our fully equipped medical unit includes a duty doctor and nurse who attend to the children on a daily basis.
[Involves education according to ability - Early intervention, Pre -Primary Level 1, Primary, Vocational, and Custodial care]
Special Education for children with intellectual disability (ID) is carried out with the help of special aids. It involves:
The outcome: The children are individually assessed and placed in the respective groups for further development and training. Individualized attention is helping them learn faster and better. As a result, almost all the children receiving special education are quite articulate and friendly.
THERAPY & REHABILITATION
[Involves physiotherapy and the use of muscle stimulation equipment to help in blocking and managing pain while reducing swelling and inflammation. The benefits are not restricted to pain management alone, but can result in better blood circulation which positively impacts the immune system and the overall wellbeing of the children.]
Paediatric rehabilitation requires a multi-disciplinary team approach to disabilities. Physiotherapy has helped:
The Outcome: The children receive therapy every day. This is helping them visibly mitigate their physical and intellectual challenges. A good number of children are more mobile than ever before.
[Involves vocational training for the home’s youngsters in skills to sustain a trade.]
Sri Arunodayam opened Prayatna (its vocational training center) in 2012 in an attempt to train its youngsters (above the age of 18) and provide them with the skills to sustain a trade. Five years later, we are moving from an ‘occupational therapy’ approach to a ‘community-based employment’ approach, giving them an opportunity to become productive citizens of society.
The youngsters are trained in book binding, and in the making of paper bags, organic detergents, candles scribbling pads and wire baskets, tailoring & embroidery, and cattle rearing.
The outcome: The core areas where noticeable improvement can be seen is in skill levels, work habits/attitudes, personal, social and functional skills, communication, sustainable business skills, independence, and self-esteem. In addition, the youngsters have bagged a couple of small business contracts for several of these items.
[Involves assisting in rescues, helpline response, legal procedures, medical evaluation & follow-up, procedures with Child Welfare Committees (CWC), the police and other governing bodies, admissions and referrals]
We have a host of crisis intervention activities that form part of the daily running of the organization. Rescuing children with the help of the CWCs and local bodies, and following up on the legal procedures and paperwork makes up a large part of these activities.
[Involves Individual Reports & Records Management, Documentation of children’s medical history and case studies, End of Life Certificates & Reports]
It is mandatory that we maintain detailed and exhaustive reports on the children in our care, as per Government norms. We ensure that the records are kept up-to-date on each child with the necessary paperwork – right from their joining, and physical and medical assessment reports, to their quarterly assessment reports and legal documentation.
The outcome: All our records are periodically assessed by the concerned authorities. All Governmental diktats and obligations are stringently met so that Sri Arunodayam is always in the good grace of the government and the concerned local bodies.
Thanks again, dear donors, for supporting our work. You’ll receive monthly reports on all our activities.
If you happen to visit Chennai, India please drop by. We would love to meet you!
In May this year, Ankit - one of our youngsters was successfully mainstreamed in the job market. Ankit was a little more than 4 years old when he was admitted to our home in 2005. He was abandoned near Shenoy Nagar, Chennai, and rescued by ChildLine. Ankit is differently-abled. His rehabilitation involved intense medical treatment, physiotherapy, special education classes and vocational training. Ankit is now a smart young man with a keen ability to learn.
We had enrolled him at the Vocational Rehabilitation Centre (VRC) - Guindy, last year and he successfully completed a one-year Diploma in Computer Applications and Electronics. We were incredibly proud when he was selected to join M/s Kallidai Motors (a powered wheelchair manufacturing company) through a campus interview – entirely on his own merit and without recommendation! Ankit joined them on May 14th as an Assistant Electronics Technician where he assembles powered wheelchairs. He now lives on his own but comes to visit his friends at the home on weekends. Ankit is our first youngster to take up a mainstream job. He earns a salary of Rs. 6000/- a month and has bought himself a new mobile phone to stay connected. He’s expecting a raise on completing probation.
A couple of days ago we got wonderful news that Ankit was selected to be one of 15 speakers at the 2nd Edition of KIDx ASIA/ Kidspreneur Conference, Asia's premier entrepreneurial event exclusively for Kids. Ankit delivered his first speech at the Conference on July 1st at AGNI College of Technology. It was such a proud moment for us, watching him come into his own! KIDx Asia is an Initiative by Kidspreneur, a platform where students can pitch themselves on their Business ideas in front of a wide group of elite investors, educationists, economists, bankers, entrepreneurs and associates. They come together in the spirit of entrepreneurship to connect, collaborate and create opportunities for youngsters like Ankit, all over Asia.
Basuvaraj Waits in the Wings…
Basuvaraj, a visually challenged youngster is currently being groomed to run his own greens shop! He travels to the wholesale market each day to purchase fresh greens, which he sells to homes in our neighbourhood. Basuvaraj makes a good profit and his trainers are teaching him how to handle his daily financial investments. He’s aiming to go solo in around 3 months’ time.
New Vocational Projects at Prayatna
Prayatna’s youngsters are being prepared to take up community-based employment through our placement program. We are inducting new faculty for new career streams that would enhance their employability in the job market. Around 35 youngsters are currently being assessed in areas such as psychological/IQ, occupational, psychosocial and physiotherapy. This is essential before we structure a specific curriculum for work readiness programs. In addition, they will be taught concepts of time, money, numbers, functional academics and soft skills related to performing their tasks. The idea is to focus on providing training for specific high demand jobs that they can handle, so that they have an opportunity to be employed quickly and gainfully.
Thirteen year old Uma came to us in early April this year through an order of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Tiruvannamalai District, in the State of Tamil Nadu. Apparently, she was found wandering the streets of Nedungavadi Village by a good samaritan who handed her over to the CWC. Uma was temporarily sheltered in a reception unit for girls until the Probation Officer from the Department of Social Defense could submit his findings. She was taken to the District Office for the Differently-Abled and assessed as moderately intellectually disabled. Despite many attempts, the good samaritan could not be reached on the number he provided, and as no one came forward to claim the child, the CWC decided to send her to us. We are sending monthly reports on her health, the medical treatment she is receiving and our plan for her rehabilitation, to the CWC.
Uma is able to identify objects but she cannot read, speak or write; she cannot identify or even copy numbers at this time. She has no concept of time and is dependent on caregivers for grooming activity. She can eat on her own and especially loves biryani (a spicy and very tasty mixed rice dish). It is a good thing that she can differentiate between eatable and non-eatable substances. She does not socialize and prefers to be left alone. She manifests problem behaviors like self-injury, biting others and screaming. Our doctor and psychologist are working with her. She is also hyperactive. Although Uma speaks in monosyllables she is able to understand and respond to instructions. Luckily, her physiotherapy report is more positive than the other assessments showing that she has good motor skills, physical balance and coordination, and good muscle tone.
Our work with Uma starts now. Analysing and studying her to work out the most appropriate rehabilitation programs is a large part of what we do, yet not as large a part as loving her back to wholeness!
March 21st was World Down Syndrome Day, and Sri Arunodayam took its campaign to two city colleges in Chennai, India in an attempt to engage the youth – the future parents of a new generation. Conducting multi-level awareness campaigns at various locations and digitally via its website and Social Media, Sri Arunodayam sought to increase awareness, helping people understand the need to make our society more inclusive.
Campaigns at the home
At the home, Sri Arunodayam celebrated the life of Moosan (one of our children with Down syndrome). Moosan’s story and a multi-lingual Quick Facts poster on Down syndrome was displayed at prominent locations across the home inviting visitors to engage on the topic. The home’s children were also dressed in the official colors of blue and yellow, the cumulative effect of which was the ability to engage visitors, helping them understand the need to make society a more welcoming place for persons with Down syndrome.
Campaigns at the Colleges
Together with the colleges’ Social Work Departments, Sri Arunodayam staff conducted awareness programs by giving presentations and running signature campaigns at two colleges in the city of Chennai. Our staff provided a detailed picture of what life is like for people with Down syndrome and held a quick FAQ to enlighten students on acceptable and non-acceptable social mores.
It is a matter of grave concern to Sri Arunodayam that despite huge progress being made today in media and technology, young people appear unaware and uninformed of critical life issues such as intellectual disability. Our interaction with the students revealed a very real and definite need to reach out to our country’s youth, to enlighten and engage them on important life issues – issues that could well impact not only their lives, but the lives of their children, and thus future generations!
We were able to instruct them that discriminating against differently abled people or thinking that they are less valuable as human beings is the first and the greatest lesson to be learned. The Heads of the Social Work Departments requested Sri Arunodayam to conduct regular awareness programs at their campus, and we are considering a plan for sustained campaigning at schools and colleges in the new financial year. The signature campaign turned out to be a great success as it encouraged the students to contemplate and express their thoughts on Down syndrome.
“World Down Syndrome Day is a global awareness day officially observed by the United Nations since 2012”, says Iyyappan Subramaniyan, Sri Arunodayam’s Founder & Managing Trustee. “We are happy to celebrate it for the first time at Sri Arunodayam. Our many planned activities to spread awareness proved to be a win-win situation where we not only taught people but also learned many new things about Down syndrome and its worldwide movement. Persons with Down syndrome should be given equal status, opportunities, and the respect they truly deserve in our society. We must ensure that such opportunities are provided to enable them to contribute to society in a meaningful way. At Sri Arunodayam, we will continue to strive for the betterment and empowerment of persons living with Down syndrome so that they can lead a dignified life, which is their inherent right.”
Moosan – the poster child of our Down syndrome campaign is spreading a message of true empathy and compassion – something that our society desperately needs today. Read his story here: https://sriarunodayam.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/poster.pdf
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