Dear Friends and Well wishers,
Welcome to the April 2011 issue of Udhayam e-newsletter from Sri Arunodayam Charitable Trust. This issue presents the events that happened in the months of January, February and March 2011 at Sri Arunodayam. Hope you have an interesting read. We look forward to your feedback which motivates us to progress and propels us ahead!
The new building at Madanankuppam will be ready for occupation in June. We take this opportunity to thank each one of you who have been instrumental in the progress of Sri Arunodayam.
- Iyyappan Subramanian (Founder & Managing Trustee)
Re-uniting abandoned children with their families
Sri Arunodayam believes that family is the best environment for a child with special needs to grow and develop. Soon after a child is admitted into Sri Arunodayam, efforts are taken to trace and re-unite the child with the family. The photograph of the child is published in the local newspapers and the national television, to enable the family to reach us. So far, 60 children have been re-united with their families.
In the past nine years we have come across different stories of children. Some were abandoned by their parents, some children ran away from home, others got lost when they were traveling with their parents... not always is it a case of abandonment by the parents. If it is abandonment, upon tracing the parents we counsel them and extend support to bring up the child with special needs.
Three year old Vasuki hails from Thiruvellore, near Chennai. Her father brought her to Egmore Children’s Hospital. The child’s father was in an inebriated state. On their way back home the father carried Vasuki and got off the train at Villivakkam railway station. The railway police suspected that the man had abducted the child. They rescued and handed over Vasuki to the Child line. The Child Welfare Committee referred her to Sri Arunodayam. Vasuki’s mother got in touch with the railway police and submitted evidence that Vasuki was their child. She was directed to Sri Arunodayam and the Child Welfare Committee directed us to hand over Vasuki to her parents. Now, Vasuki lives happily with her family.
A few years ago, on a sunny morning, an eighteen month old baby was found on the doorsteps of Sri Arunodayam. After going through the legal procedures, we admitted the baby. A week later, an elderly gentleman came along as a visitor and seemed to show special concern to the newly admitted baby. In the next fortnight we observed that the gentleman came once in four days. Puzzled by the behaviour of the elderly gentleman we drew him into a conversation and said that the baby he was attracted to would be adopted by a family, far away from Chennai. The ruse worked! In less than an hour, a young woman from Bangalore called our office. Amidst wails she requested us not to proceed with the adoption. And the story came out... The woman who called from Bangalore was the mother of the baby. Since her husband could not accept a child with special needs, she had requested her father to ‘deposit’ the baby in a safe home where she need not reveal her identity. The grandfather did as he was asked to do and did the extra mile of caring for the child with his frequent visits. We asked the baby’s parents to come over to Sri Arunodayam. We showed them around the facility and made them understand that their child required their love and warmth more than anything else. This was followed by counseling sessions and finally they accepted the baby into their family. Thus the stories of reunions go on.
Sri Arunodayam was founded on 26th February 2002. Sri Arunodayam was registered as a Charitable Trust on this day. Every year we celebrate this day as the Founding Day. We distribute sweets and organize special lunch for the children and staff of Sri Arunodayam.
This year, Sri Arunodayam completes nine years. Looking back, we reminisce how the seed of goodness sown by the founder is being watered and cared for by many philanthropists. In the initial phase there was abundance of hard work and dreams to provide a better life for the intellectually challenged, abandoned children. The resources were zero and sources for resources were also non-existent.
Persistent efforts to knock the doors of individuals gave way to a trickle of support. Gradually, the number of people supporting the cause grew. Till date, a majority of Sri Arunodayam’s activities are run on community support. Sri Arunodayam has established that individual donors are a potential source of resource and has been harnessing this source very well.
Sri Arunodayam has also succeeded in motivating members of the society to understand and accept that mentally challenged children have equal rights to lead a dignified life. Stepping into the tenth year, Sri Arunodayam looks ahead on the path of progress which ultimately leads to perfection.
Rangoonwala Foundation India Trust annually conducts Pratibimp – an exhibition to showcase the products made by the beneficiaries of its partner organizations throughout India. Pratimp also serves as a platform for the partner organizations to create awareness about the cause they work for, share experiences, knowledge and learn from others. Pratimp was held from 8th to 12th March 2011 at Sunderbai Hall in Church Gate, Mumbai.
On behalf of Sri Arunodayam, Ms. Poongothai, Mr. Balasubramaniyan and Mr. Pandi attended the exhibition. We displayed and sold items like jute files, jute hand bags, purses, jute letter folders, cell phone wallets, travel kits, card holders and jute school bags. The sales amounted to Rs.33,000/-
The Pratimp experience helped us learn that we should have a better collection of products, source local venders for unique products and designs and study the trends and choice of the people. It has also set us thinking about the vocational training program at Sri Arunodayam.
- Lions Club of Silver Pearls conducted a dermatology camp for the children on 11th January 2011. Sixteen children were treated for skin ailments.
- Twenty children participated in Punnagai Programme, organized by the Rotary Club of Ambattur. One of our children, Ranjith won a bronze medal in a sports event.
- On 12th Febraury, twenty-eight children and four staff members visited Thiru Vi Ka Park. The children enjoyed the recreational outing.
- Twenty-six children and four employees were invited by the Lions Club of Golden Roses to attend the Airtel super singer programme at Vaishanava College Chennai.
- On 22nd January 2011, we took all the children who are undergoing special education to Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary. Vedanthangal is a haven not only for migratory birds but also for many ornithologists who camp there for weeks to observe the birds at close quarters. Our children spent half a day there and enjoyed themselves.
- We celebrated Republic Day at Sri Arunodayam. Mr. Sibu Kumar, Inspector of Police Rajamangalam hoisted the national flag and distributed sweets to children.
- In February 2011, the Department of Dental Science and Community Dentistry of Sri Ramachandra Medical University in Porur conducted a dental checkup for our children. A team of fifteen doctors came along with their vehicles equipped to conduct the camp. They screened, cleaned, filled and extracted teeth for the children, depending upon their condition.
- In the month of March, special educator Mr.Balamurugan took the children to a nearby park every evening for physical exercise program.
We take this opportunity to thank our team members who are the building blocks of Sri Arunodayam.
In January, the Department of Social Defence conducted a training program on the Juvenile Justice Act - Care & Protection and Conflict with Law. Mrs.Jeyachitra attended the program.
Mr. Elumalai was selected as the staff of the month for January. Mr. Elumalai is a residential male care giver and works at Sri Arunodayam for the past three years. He is very efficient, committed and pitches in to do all kinds of odd jobs at Sri Arunodayam. He is also good at electrical and plumbing works.
In February, Mr. Balamurugan was selected as the staff of the month. Mr. Balamurugan is a Special Educator with a Diploma in Special Education. He is in-charge of the Primary level. He is very active, sincere, hard working and result oriented. The children in his class have achieved all the goals set for them every quarter.
Mrs. Nirmala was selected the staff of the month in March. She is a residential care giver and a parent of a special child. She was given the best staff award for her excellent performance in care and feeding children in the early intervention unit. She has trained two children to eat independently.