Sneha Kiran (Ray of Love)

Note – not many pics today as we do not post pics in which the child/patient can be identified…

The day started easy enough as we were to leave at 10am – finished breakfast at 9 and went to the ATM. Just as we were leaving for the bus the laundry arrived creating some confusion as I asked for the bill and the man did not have any…but we got it figured out and got on the bus just a few minutes late.

We finally left at almost 10:15, but luckily Sneha Kiran has several signs leading up to it so we found it easily! Like last year, James started the proceedings sharing information about how he founded the organization as a place where children with cerebral palsy (CP) could get care under one roof, after he had to take his son with CP to different places for different services.

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Then the principal Sonia spoke about the programs. Finally Navya, an SLP who seemed very cheerful gave a presentation on the things she works on with the kids. She has been at Sneha Kiran since 2 months, and has 5 student interns (4th year BSc students) who rotate every month.

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By this time it was noon so they decided to have us observe the classrooms after lunch. I went in to chat with James for a bit and he said that donations are down since the new government. I learned that the teachers who are so cheerful, enthusiastic, and positive are paid a very low salary, which i9s typical in India (my mother was a school teacher for many years).

We ate our PBJ lunch in the same room and then I met some of the kids in the hallway. One little girl appeared to be non-verbal but very smiley and quick! I took her pic and she wanted to take mine!

Gowri’s pic of me!

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She was walking with a girl who I chatted with and she was from Germany, volunteering here for one year, but leaving in about 2 weeks. Another German girl is here too volunteering for a year though the German government program! I think Germany is doing a fantastic job getting their youth to volunteer all over the world and subsidizing their programs!!! I met these German volunteers in Zambia as well, and the great thing is that because they stay for a full year they assimilate into the local culture as well as have a sustained impact!

We started our tour on our own in the first classroom  and enjoyed interacting with Uday and a few other children (I wish I could remember more names) in the room. Then onto the next classroom where the SLP Navya showed up. She took us to the computer room and showed us some of the adaptive technology and actually had a child Vikram come to do a demo for us – that was really awesome! He showed us how he could type and also do a coloring game on the computer. We went to 2 more classrooms where we met Shruti, Lavanya, Amulya, Tapasya, Hrishikesh (who communicates with full sentences pointing to his book), Tejas (who communicates with yes/no nods only) and several others (wish I could remember all the names of the kids.

Here is a link from their website: Child

Unfortunately we had very little time, and it was time for the recess at the end of the day. The kids had fun playing passing the ball followed by wheelchair musical chairs!!

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Then Malathi and another teacher taught Betsy and others a few dance moves! 🙂 (will try to post it on FB)

A fun day with children with severe disabilities who are living their life to the fullest surrounded by dedicated teachers and parents who are joyful – it is always great to visit Sneha Kiran!

 

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Student reflections:

  • Brought tears to my eyes to see how low tech AAC can make such a huge difference
  • The teachers were so happy and enthusiastic!

Thank you Sneha Kiran for allowing us the opportunity to learn from you!

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