A fine leader!

Age: 9 years
(began her journey at Prabhat at the age of 5)

Enjoys welcoming visitors, tidying up, helping her friends with activities

Condition: Moderate mental retardation and microcephaly

She was a shy timid girl, who had difficulty in walking and dragged her feet (a condition which occurs due to lack of balance in the gross motor skills). She had visited many doctors in Ahmedabad city and had also undergone therapy sessions. Her parents are daily wage workers, but yet were convinced that their daughter needed holistic development. They were confident enough to admit her to one of the Prabhat Centres.  As she entered the Centre on the first day, she was very scared and apprehensive as she had to spend time away from the care of parents and her sheltered home. She reposed herself into a world of her own did not interact with anyone. She played and did activities all by herself. She had difficulty in communicating with other children, as well as the staff and the experts who came in for the therapy sessions. She was very sensitive to loud noises and very fearful and thus kept to herself.

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Amidst the challenges! 

Age: 19 years
(began her journey with Prabhat at the age of 7) 

Condition: Mild mental retardation

Enjoys group activities, doing art and craft and dancing

She is the youngest of the four children. Three girls and one boy, all suffering from different degrees of mental retardation. Her brother who was suffering from profound mental retardation passed away a couple of years back soon after which one of her elder sisters also passed away. Having seen three children suffer like this, her mother had no hope that she would get better, and she rather confined herself to the fact that her children will never see a better day. The mother reluctant at first, finally got her admitted to the Centre after regular counseling. When she first came in there was very little that she could do, she had problems with her gripping, understanding instructions and thus she use to get nervous and not want to attend the sessions.

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Growing up!

Age:  21 years
(began his journey with Prabhat at the age of 13) 

Condition: Hearing and speech impaired

Enjoys photography and dancing

During a baseline survey being conducted by Prabhat, this young boy (13 years) was found working at a tea stall. He would start his day at 9 in the morning till 9 in the night and earn ₹ 10 for the day. The freedom of earning even though a sum as small as ten rupees gave him a sense of independence and thus he did not want to come for the academic sessions at any of the Prabhat Centres, even after persuasion. Prabhat then approached his family (a mother and a brother) counseled them at various levels about how he was being exploited how people were deriving sadistic satisfaction by getting him into vices and having laughs at his expense, the saddest part of it all was that he was not even realizing it. After repeated coaxing by Prabhat and his mother he finally decide to come to school. Once he did start attending the academic sessions at Prabhat he started enjoying it, he was provided with auto fare to and fro and also given nice clothes. Being only hearing and speech impaired he did have his initial apprehensions of being around other children with special needs especially children with severe mental retardation, cerebral palsy, etc. But through regular discussions he was made to understand the problems these children are facing and how he needs to help out rather than get irked by them. This also reiterated the fact that these children need to be brought out and made to face the world and make people realize of their existence.

His mother is also a person with special needs and earns a living by making quilts at home. He has always been very sharp in grasping things. Sessions with a speech therapist did bring improvement in his speech, but it was the overall confidence that he developed which was remarkable. A child who was being laughed at now has learnt to crack jokes himself. He loves to color, and thus honed his skills learning painting under expert guidance at Prabhat. He started working on his skills and realized how these vocational training sessions were helping him so much, even though the Centre he was attending shut down due to extraneous reasons he continues to be an integral part of the Prabhat family. He now helps his mother in her sewing work and also with household chores.

A jewelry designer!

Age: 25 years
(began her journey with Prabhat at the age of 14)

Enjoys dancing, spending time on her swing, colouring and making jewelry
Condition: Sensory problems, behavioral issue, severe mental retardation, thyroid, hormonal imbalance, issues with gross and fine motor skills, mild autism and balance problem.

She joined Prabhat in the year 2007 when she was 14 years old and gradually started her journey inside the classrooms but as she had limited attention span there were several activities given to her to choose from.

She started meddling with beads but due to problems with her fine motor skills it was difficult for her to hold the beads but after repeated practice and persuasion from her supportive teachers she overcame this challenge and now makes beautiful bracelets and necklaces which she enjoys wearing.

A taste of independence! 

Age: 21 years
(started her journey with Prabhat at the age of 16)

Condition: Mild mental retardation (and prone to severe epileptic attacks)

Enjoys dancing and painting

It is said ‘to know the true meaning of freedom, release a caged bird and you will know’. ..was also like that – caged in her own house away from prying eyes. She was filled with anger and highly irritable every time we tried to speak to her.  Till the age of 16 that child was not sent to any school was ridiculed and ignored even at home. Her parents are from a conservative background and were not open to sending her to any of Prabhat’s Centre. But having heard of the benefit it might bring, her the mother agreed to initially bring her for a couple of days. As she entered the Centre on the first day her eyes grew wider and brighter, she went around looking at all the things, touching and feeling the paintings that were on display, she looked at the colorful toys and her eyes could see no end to a world she had never heard of and never seen. Her mother was equally surprised to see her so excited. The initial few days flew by and her mother finally realized how important it was for her to interact with the outside world in whatever little way that she could. From then on she has been very regular and has taken extra interest in vocational trainings which include art and craft, painting, etc. She has honed her skills to such an extent that she designs and makes Rakhi’s on her own and they are brilliant, liked by one and all. She has earned her place within her family as well. The other aspect which came to realization is her love for sports and physical activity; she was one of the participants at the Khel Maha Kumbh (a sports event, with special categories for those with special needs) organized by the government of Gujarat. She won the first round and qualified for the next successive round which were to be held in another city not too far from Ahmedabad, though her parents were hesitant initially to send her out of town, were pleasantly surprised when she returned with a winning sum ₹ 10,000. With a family struggling to make ends meet an amount as big as that was something they never expected let alone from a child they ignored and thought was a burden and shame to the family!

She has now also learnt to paint and is doing work which she is being paid for, she is painting handkerchiefs all by herself. Unfortunately she is prone to epileptic attacks which takes a toll on her body, but she has not let all that shatter her confidence or her skills, she still continues to do the painting work from home, she comes to the Centre whenever she is fit. She is now a calm and composed young girl confident of herself and her surroundings and also living with happy memories of that day she won the relay race. For her it wasn’t the prize money which she won, she probably does not even realize the exact value of 10,000 rupees, but for her it is the sheer joy of running and running and running under the open sky.