Daijiworld Media Network - Udupi
Udupi, Nov 14: Children are god’s gift to the world, and especially to parents. As the nation celebrates Children’s Day on November 14, we focus on the special care given to children in Asha Nilaya here.
Started in 1981, Asha Nilaya is a rehabilitation centre, located in the heart of Udupi city, which has dedicated itself to serve mentally challenged children of the society. Asha Nilaya, which means 'house of good hope' was started with one teacher and seven students. At the start, the institution had a unique distinction of being the only institution devoted for the purpose of serving these special children.
At present, there are 95 differently-abled students benefiting from this institution. Out of them, 55 are from different parts of Karnataka state. The motto of the institution is to educate and train these children to perform their day-to-day routine without relying on anyone. Till date, about 800 children who have been trained here have gone on to work in various factories, bakeries or self-employed and are involved in agricultural activities. Girls here are trained to help in domestic chores and are leading their life with dignity, assisting their parents.
Specially trained teachers educate these children. Even in sports and games, the children have participated and excelled in various district, state, national and international level competitions and won many prizes.
Vikas, an autistic student, secured first class score in PUC examination in 2013.
Another student of the institution, Suresh Prabhu Nayak, who suffers from Down syndrome, is a popular figure who has special memory skills. For his phenomenal ability, his name is in Limca Book of Records and he also trying to break Guinness world record. He also performs magic shows in public.
Another special student, Shalini Shetty has made her mark in shotput, throw and running events. She has participated in more than 126 competitions held in various countries and won several times. Also, yet another another student, Yashoda Ramachandran has won prizes in the district-level Special Olympics.
The school provides all necessary treatments such as physiotherapy, speech therapy, and trains students in craft and design and other exta-curricular activities to obtain self employment in life.
Headmistress, Agnes Hemavati, strived to get government benefits and the Karnataka State School Teachers and Non-teachers Association helps these special children in training.
Agnes says, "Two old students of this school are now leading a peaceful family life. The 20-year-old school building is in urgent need of repairs and renovation. The building requires truss sheeting over the roof top to get protection from heavy rains and heat. An estimate of Rs ten lac has been prepared for this work. Success of our institution is mainly because of donations received from many likeminded philanthropists."