As the festivities start, I am reminded of this particular community development programme supported by Concern India Foundation in Bengaluru that I had once visited.
The programme runs a vocational training centre that provides training and employment for differently-abled individuals. The project is an answer to many parents’ desperate plea for a sheltered workshop that provides training after completing basic functional education. They are offered specialised training based on their aptitude. The project offers courses in candle making, chocolate making, paper product making and computer data entry.
As I rushed into the centre, I was amazed to see the frantic speed at which the candles were being made.
The whole room was divided into three major groups – one was casting the candles into moulds, taking them out and handing them over to the second group that was sticking wax buttons around the brightly coloured candles. The next set of people were wrapping the candles into thin cellophane paper with strips of satin ribbon tied around each of them. I just sat there, mesmerised at their organisational skill.
By the end of my visit, I felt truly enriched having learnt the art and craft of spreading good work amongst a group of immensely talented and happy people.
– Sankalita Das, Resource Mobiliser, Concern India Foundation (Bengaluru)
This programme supported by Concern India Foundation in Pallikaranai, Chennai provides special education, vocational training and lifelong home care to the psycho-socially impaired. Working in this field for the past 10 years, it prepares them to lead an independent life.
Adults with psycho-social impairment are trained in screen printing, envelope making and given vocational training in injection molding, metal work, tailoring, horticulture, arts and crafts etc. They also provide physiotherapy, occupational physiotherapy and play therapy to them.
Nearly 70 children and adults with psycho-social impairment are enrolled for special education that focusses on money management, self-help skills and games for their locomotary development. A doctor visits the programme regularly.
The programme is now earning revenue by making and selling paper bags, paper dust-bins, paper pens, paper bowls, envelope covers and artificial flowers.
– Rathna Deepak, Project Co-ordinator, Concern India Foundation (Chennai)
" Fire officials conducted a complete demonstration from the time the fire alarm goes off till the last rescue operation. The children were taught what to do in an emergency situation."
The Central Fire Brigade Station in Pune does its share when it comes to community welfare. Their doors are always open if one wants to learn and understand sudden emergency situations.
Concern India Foundation conducted one such visit to the fire station, for children supported by an NGO along with volunteers from a corporate. 144 kids from the NGO supported by Concern India Foundation and 40 corporate volunteers were a part of the team.
The objective of the visit was to spread awareness about fire emergencies. Fire officials conducted a complete demonstration from the time the fire alarm goes off till the last rescue operation. The children were taught on how to save themselves in an emergency situation. A tour of the fire brigade truck and the control room was also given to everyone.
The excitement and awe in the faces of the children and adults alike – was a sight to behold.
The visit ended with lunch distribution by our corporate volunteers. It was indeed a memorable field trip that we all enjoyed and learnt from.
– Vidisha Sonone, Resource Mobiliser, Concern India Foundation (Pune)
One of the programmes that I visited after joining Concern India Foundation was the one that works with women assaulted by their husbands or their families for dowry.
When we reached the centre, we met a woman with 60 per cent burns. She was only 17-years-old and had married just a month ago. She was burnt above the neck and her father was shocked and clueless about how to deal with it.
Fortunately, the members of the organisation we were visiting were trained by doctors to recognise a crime. If a person is burnt below the neck it is an accident otherwise he/she is burnt by someone else.
The centre supported by Concern India Foundation has worked in this field for many years and has built a reputation for itself. It makes life possible for young women who have been victims of domestic violence. They also reach out to people in the middle of the night where help is not available.
If a victim’s family has any problem filing their case with the authorities, the organisation helps them do so. They also guide them about dealing with the massive paper work, cops and doctors etc. In addition, they council their families and help the victims to work and earn on their own.
The programme tries to restore the identity and dignity of these victims. If it wasn’t for their intervention, many of their families wouldn’t have had the courage to fight and face the world. The organisation proudly stands by the victim till the family can fight on their own.
– Nayanna Shah, Resource Mobilisation, Concern India Foundation (Mumbai)
“Every child has a right to learn, play, gain self-respect, develop and use his/her abilities to the fullest extent possible,” says the founder of this education programme supported by Concern India Foundation in Hyderabad. With this belief system and passion, she started a school for children with special needs in 1999.
The school caters to 150 differently abled children between the ages of 3-18 years. The main focus of the organisation is to integrate the differently abled children with their families and society by intensive training and adopting innovative techniques.
The children treat the school as their second home, where their activities are a mixture of work with fun. It includes singing, dancing, stitching, and cooking, along with developing their fine motor skills, honing their ability for daily living, academic and social skills along with pre-vocational and vocational expertise. They also participate in different cultural activities.
One of the heartwarming stories here is told by the parents of a five-year-old bedridden boy with athetoid cerebral palsy and mild mental retardation. He had demonstrated no neck control, hand control and no bladder control. He had problems with speech, language and severe learning disabilities. Despite trying various rehabilitation programmes, none of which worked for their son the parents had almost given up hope, when they heard about this special school and enrolled him here. He was given intensive physiotherapy and special education in the classroom. His social and academic skills improved immensely. He can now recognise the alphabets, write his name and even identify different colours, vegetables and fruits. He likes interacting with his group and enjoys group activities.
With intensive physiotherapy, he has gained neck control over his neck muscles, and can sit in a chair without support. Today he is an active and cheerful child.
The school has so far touched myriad lives and families and continues to work for the children with special needs. We at Concern India Foundation are proud to partner with this programme, that has made a difference in these children’s lives.
– Archana Nune, Programmes Coordinator, Concern India Foundation (Hyderabad)