Feb 28, 2008
'Every child is special' was the message conveyed by Aamir Khan's movie 'Taare Zameen Par' which became a blockbuster not just for flawless acting, but also the storyline. Yet, how many of us actually took a leaf out of the movie and looked at lesser gifted children in a new light?
Here is an institution which has treated hundreds of such children, and without needing motivation either from movies or books. In many cases, the problems of the students are so severe that many of the families feel these children to be big burdens. However, these children are never a burden for this institution. Moreover, the teachers here love to train the specially-abled children.
‘Saanidhya,’ located at Kandettu, Bikarnakatta came into existence about five years ago. It is a dream child of its principal Vasantkumar Shetty and school betterment committee chairman Mahabala Marla who wanted to do something for the specially-abled children from the rural area.
Earlier, Vasantkumar Shetty was working at St Agnes Special School but it was lacking hostel facilities. Hence, the school could not accommodate rural students in their institution. To make up for the shortcoming of St Agnes Special School, he started this institution and accommodated rural students.
Running a special school is not an easy task for anyone. Today, every educationalist wants to set up a professional school as it yields huge revenues. But the mission of the founders of Saanidhya was to work for the welfare of the challenged children in an effort to bring them in to the mainstream. That’s why they never looked back in their path.
The institution began functioning in the year 2003 with two children at Lobo Lane with the intention that the special children should not be a burden for their parents. For the time being, they are running the institution in two rented houses. Vasantkumar Shetty has converted his own house as a school for these children. Now they are taking care of specially abled inmates, those with multiple disabilities, sufferers from cerebral palsy and autism. At present a total of 48 students have been taught here with the help of 7 teachers and 10 helpers.
In the beginning, training is given to the students in attaining life skills like brushing, toileting, eating, dressing etc while later, they are taught to read and write. Academic skills like telling time, counting money, computer classes and other activities like story telling, dancing, Yoga, singing etc are taught to them only after they finish the first two stages of training.
The dreams of ‘Saanidhya’ are sky-high. The institution wants to contribute to these students in a wider perspective. That is why the institution is looking forward to the contructions of its own building which would cost Rs 2.5 crore. The building will include construction of pyramid for pyramid therapy, scope for hydrotherapy and many more facilities which would make this place as a heaven for the special children. About Rs 60 lac worth of work has been completed at Shaktinagar in this regard, but there is still a long way to go. Therefore, they need the help of each and every person who have concern towards the specially-abled children.
Remember the line from Aamir Khan's movie - 'Kho na jaaye yeh... Taare Zameen Par.' Let us join hands for this cause and do whatever we can to ensure we do not lose these precious children who have every right to live like the rest of us.
Contact: 0091-824 - 2212772
Account number: 30238084375, State Bank of India, Port Road, Mangalore.
Account number: 31770, Canara Bank, Valencia Branch, Mangalore.