Monday, 27 June 2011

Shri Guru Sankalpam (Parents Association for the Mentally Handicapped Persons)

We visited a school for mentally handicapped people.  It was an awesome experience.  We were able to meet the people there and see how the school runs.  The school is mostly run by parents and we were very impressed with how much they have done.  They are really invested in this program and the atmosphere at the school so awesome.  Just to recap, the principal of this school is the woman who helped us when we got lost and that is how we found out about the school. 

During the school day they have a time set aside for vocational training where they teach them certain skills.  Some of the things they teach are candle making, incense making, packaging, and making ego friendly bags.  They then sell some of the items to make a bit of money for the school.  

The women picture here lost her own son to an accident and she now comes to the school to volunteer teach everyday.  

The State Bank of India has been very helpful in donating machines for the children to use.  They have a computer and a few other machines for vocational training.  As you can see they are quite tight on space though.

Some of the students working on making the incense sticks.  

 After attending the school for some time, the man in the blue shirt was able to get his own apartment and he walks to the school everyday by himself.  

In this room they are working on making some wall hanging pouches for storage.  

 Another machine donated by the State Bank of India.  They bank is able to donate equipment but they cannot do any money donations.  

The pouches they make.   

 A class room with some younger students.  

This woman is 45 years old and has been coming to the school for a long time.  She is so happy and couldn't stop giggling at us.  

These girls are working on packaging some food items as well as soap.  

They were also very happy.  

The kitchen where they eat and learn about food preparation.  

What great skills for them to learn.  

This little boy tends to run away so his father had his phone number tattooed on his arm.  He went missing for about two weeks more then once, but luckily they were able to get him back which can be quite the feat in India.  

The daily schedule

This guy was really fun he was totally making everyone laugh.  

The teachers/volunteers/parents who run the school.  

Washing hands before lunch

The school bus driver is a parent who picks up all the children everyday for school and drops them off at the end of the day.  

The main hurdle for the school is funding.  Currently the principal goes through the city searching for individuals who would be willing to fund the students for one year of school.  After the visit the HELP International team talked about setting up an internet based donation system where donors can view a profile of each student and choose a student to sponsor.  It costs 6,000 rupees for a child to go to school for one year, that is the equivalent of about 135 US dollars.  There are not that many children at the school so we believe if we can get every child sponsored it would take a lot of stress of the school.  Right now they are having a hard time making the rent payment on the building amongst other bills.  The parents of the children give as much as they can but they are all from very poor circumstances.  We will be visiting the school again later this week to propose the idea of the sponsorship program.  

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