Kitchen-Dining Room and staff salaries for Arulchandru Special School for mentally disabled children, Tamil Nadu, India
The Arulchandru Special School for mentally disabled children is located at Paramakudi in the district of Ramnad. Paramakudi is around 90 km east of Madurai airport in Tamil Nadu, India.
The school is run by ANISE society a unit of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart which has service units throughout India. It cares for and provides education to children with mental disabilities. The Brothers of the Sacred Heart have established close contacts with most of the rural villages through cultural and social institutions in the region. In 2005 needy and deserving children were identified through contacts in the villages.
The school was established there because of the presence of many children with mental disabilities and the availability of space to run the school in that vicinity.
The overall vision of the project is to empower disabled children to acquire social status through human resource development and capacity building measures.
The school is recognised by the Government which means it should have access to government grant aid in 2017, for staff salaries and maintenance. Until then, The Friendly hand is giving support to pay the staff salaries.
At present the school has an enrolment of 67 children between the age group 5 to 17 yers, with 7 teaching staff and 2 care providers. The children are brought from home by school van each morning. They are provided with lunch and refreshment at the school. They are taken home in the evening
-The School now has the necessary infrastructure to meet the educational and therapy needs of the mentally disabled children.
-It has strengthened existing integrated education, adding important elements:
-Providing basic education and assisting in daily living activities.
-Ensuring that parents allow their disabled children to obtain their inalienable human rights and to disseminate the indispensable social concerns towards them.
The school was built at its current location in 2012 with the support of the James Percy Foundation, Kindness in Action and The Friendly Hand. It has four classrooms, a kitchen-dining room and a four wheel drive vehicle for transportation. The school has been recognised by the Government of Tamil Nadul.
The school works with children who whave the following conditions:
-Mental disability, Cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome, Cretinism, Microcephaly, Hydrocephaly.
There are many factors behind the high rate of mental disability in this area, but there are three major problems:
-Consanguinity: widespread marriage among close blood relatives. These marriages are aimed at avoiding ancestral property leaving the clan.
-Home deliveries carried out by people without appropiate training.
-Inadequate sanitary conditions during labour: poor hygiene and unsterile instruments being used.
These deficiencies can lead to the following complications:
-Failure to identify and deal with problems in the neo natal brain, shown by conditions such as the baby not crying immediately after birth.
-Crude methods and unskilled treatment during labour, such as improper handling of the umbilical cord and placenta leading to severe blood loss and possibly maternal or infant death,
or at least infant health problems.
The school admits all children, irrespective of caste and creed. All the children live with their parents, but due to their mental problems they are often considered as a curse on the family.
Such children are kept at home without attending school and generally are not well treated.
At Arulchandru Special School, the children are grouped according to their aptitude and they are given training in the following areas:
-Self help training
-Activities of daily living skills (ADL)
-Special alphabetical and numerical learning