Children with physical or mental disabilities are usually neglected and don’t receive proper care by their communities and their parents. Because there were no special programs for these children in this area, READ decided to do something!
- Survey on disability:
To understand the situation better, READ conducted an extensive survey was conducted to enumerate the number of disabled children in the District and in the Block, particularly mentally disabled children. As a first step, READ conducted a preliminary survey through the the government Balwadi care takers who work in these villages in our service area. This survey already identified approximately 30 mentally disabled children in different age groups and with varying degrees of disability in the Andimadam area. The initial survey also demonstrated that there was an immense need for a special school and rehabilitation center for mentally retarded children in this area, especially since there was also nothing available in the nearby surrounding areas.
Anbagam Special School – Andimadam
- After meeting with the parents of several mentally retarded children, a special school named ‘ANBAGAM (Home of Love)’ was started for mentally retarded children in a rented building in Andimadam. It received official government recognition on July 24, 2001.
- The Anbagam Special School of Andimadam has recently shifted to the READ Community Resource Center in Vilandai village.
- There are currently 25 children in this school whose disability level covers a broad spectrum: mild – moderate – severe. Disabilities include autism and cerebral palsy.
- They are cared for by three teachers and three aya’s (helpers).
- The teachers rehabilitate these children so that they have a future. The children are given practice to develop their speech and improve in their behavioral activities; examples include how to dress, how to behave in the classroom. The teaching methods are adapted to the severity of the disability. For each student, a separate case profile with all the details of the child is maintained.
- The children of this school are provided physiotherapy in the health unit section. Nine children are given regular physiotherapy, hand works and yoga.
- This school received support from the Diamond House (Antwerp, Belgium) via Sahaya International.
Anbagam Special School – Perambalur
- READ had previously identified a total of 64 mentally retarded children with varying degrees of disability in 60 villages in this service area around Perambalur city. These children need institutional and/or community-based rehabilitation services.
- In 2002 READ started a 2nd special school for mentally retarded children at Perambalur, as the need was pointed out by the District Collector Mr. Rajesh Lakkani I.A.S., and the District Disability Rehabilitation Officer of Perambalur District. We made a plea to the District Collector to offer a piece of government land for this charity activity to construct a permanent school building for these mentally retarded children, but still we have not received the land. We are also continuously looking for philanthropic supporters to help construct this school building and to offer quality training and rehabilitation service to these needy children.
- There are currently 28 children in the school along with three teachers (1 mild, 18 moderate, 1 severe retardation and 1 autism). It is a special school with home in which totally 30 children can also spend the night.
- This school has received donations from local persons. A television stand, kitchen items and table and chair was given by the District Revenue officer Mr. Dr. Sanka; a free medical check–up was arranged for the children in Perambalur Government hospital under the care of four doctors and the children were provided with free identity cards.
- Many cultural programmes were conducted for these children to make them develop in their skill. Thus it provides good shelter for the differently – abled persons.
- The government supports this school by providing salary to the staffs and also to cover some expenses for the children. In the year 2007 and 2008 this school also received support from “Diamond House”, Belgium through Sahaya International.