Lending a shoulder
Most of us would pass by a challenged child on the street without stopping. Perhaps click our tongues in sympathy before moving on. The good Samaritan in us lies somewhere buried within and the faint stirrings of the conscience quieten down as soon as they appear. But there are a few, and they are a microscopic minority who view matters such as these in a totally different perspective.
Charged with a passion to render some help to these children they set about their task of taking them from darkness to light, bringing sunshine into their lives in short, lighting a candle rather than cursing the darkness. Lending a shoulder to the disabled is not just an act of compassion, it is more of a duty enjoined on all of us. Who are able bodied and who have all our facilities intact.
It was this spirit that fired a young man namely Narasimha Shenoy who works for Canara Bank to start a school and care centre for mentally challenged and disabled children called “Nachiketa Manovikasa Kendra”. “The harrowing sight of mothers taking their mentally challenged children in transport buses from Vijayanagar to a special school far away in the city everyday touched a taw nerve” says Shenoy, explaining the rational behind his starting the school.
The plight of the kids who were rarely offered seats in the jampacked buses was more than he could hear. The Kendra started in Vijayanagar with just six children, today is home to quite a large number with more and more parents, obviously impressed with the working of the Kendra, imploring Shenoy to take their wards in.
Shenoy chose the name; Nachiketa because the character of the same name in the Upanishads is noted for his moral strength and enquiring mind. The school admits children after conducting a small test to assess the needs of the student after which a special course is designed to suit him or her. “The training includes speech therapy, behavioural therapy, yoga, physiotherapy and also focuses on developing self help skills”, says Shenoy, whose efforts to rope in the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences proved fruitful when the institute agreed to train two of the school’s teachers in speech therapy.
The children in the school are trained in skills such as making candles, greeting cards, painting earthenware, making envelopes and files, tailoring and are also taught the use of simple tools. The basic idea is to provide these children a sense of adequacy and inculcating in them the confidence that they can take their place in society. “The results were wonderful”, gushes Shenoy. “Some parents, whose children could not even walk, were stunned to see them walking independently and communicating with the other children, something that they had never done before”.
The children are also taken out on the picnics and opportunities are created for normal children to interact with them. Shenoy has also been successful in fixing up jobs for the grown up children, who have shown remarkable progress in nearby garment factories and shops. Although finances have always remained a problem with the Kendra, dependent almost wholly on donations which have come in sometimes in a trickie and sometimes in a torrent from organisations like Canara Bank, The Inner Wheel Club, Rotary Club and Lions Club. Shenoy is determined to carry on the good work, come what may.
“All that these children need is love and support and they will be able to stand on their own feet one day”, says Shenoy. The task is herculean, but not impossible. What is required is a hearfull of love and that is something that Shenoy and his teachers possess in abundant measure. The infinite patience that they display and the care with which they handle these children is ample proof of their total commitment to a noble cause.
(Information courtesy: Deccan Herald – 22.02.2002 by C V Aravind)
I should say that Mr. Narasimha Shenoy is certainly a different person who is committed and dedicated himself to the cause of upbringing the mentally retarded children. He deserves all the help and support.
I appeal to all my friends to give Mr. Shenoy, the required financial and moral support in abundance. Those who live in Bangalore, please visit the school. I am sure tears will roll in your eyes when you see these children struggling to accept the challenges of the world. Mr. Shenoy and his team deserve all Kudos.
Donations to Nachikta Manovikasa Kendra Trust is exempt from IT under 80G of the IT Act1961
The following are the contact details of the Kendra:
Nachiketa Manovikasa Kendra Trust (Regd)
(Special School for mentally challenged and disabled)
14th Main Road end,
M C Layout,
Phone: 080 – 23110286;
Mobile: N N Shenoy: 96453 70934
Those who are willing to send their contributions in kind can reach the trust and handover the same in person or through their representatives. Donations and contributions can also be sent by way of cheque/demand draft payable at Bangalore favouring Nachiketa Manovikasa Kendra Trust (Regd)
Working Hours: 9-30 am to 3-00 pm. from Monday to Friday.