Gita is our volunteer and she looks after Ashish. Ashish is a little boy with Autism. He used to stay at home and he was not welcomed at the preschool. His parents found it difficult to care for Ashish. Our volunteer, herself a girl with disability, has been to help Ashish to learn to speak and interact with other kids. The parents have come to really appreciate and care for Ashish however the local preschool would not admit him. The volunteer began talked with the Angawadi teacher and tried to change her attitude and to admit Ashish. From the trainings we had given the volunteer she was aware that Ashish had a right to attend school under Indian law. She told the head mistress this. She also tried to help the head mistress empathise with Ashish and his family?”You have kids. Just think if your child had a similar problem? Think how hard it already is… and then the schools will not even accept your child.How would you feel? This cuts to the core of what our Samvedna program is all about (Samvedna is Hindi for empathy)!.The head has now accepted Ashish at the preschool and he doing well.Our volunteer plans to go along with him to make sure that his learning needs are catered for.
Last semester, 9 Woodstock students boldly stepped out into unfamiliar territory, developing relationships with disabled children in villages within 1 1/2 hours of Woodstock’s campus. Armed with a good dose of compassion, curiosity, and a desire to make a difference, the 10th-12th graders found themselves warmly welcomed into the homes and lives of families who, with scarcely limited information and resources, struggle to provide for their disabled children, yet are eager to learn from and welcome those who come offering dignity and hope.
A new semester of CARE visits with the Samvedna project start tomorrow! We look forward to seeing the bright, smiling faces of the children whose lives have impacted ours and whose courage in the face of adversity has inspired us all!
Melinda Snader, Occupational Therapist