Seva Sadanam Children’s Rehabilitation Center for Mentally Challenged
Seva Sadanam Children’s Rehabilitation Center for Mentally Challenged, a non-profit day and residential school, helps and trains mentally retarded children and adults lead productive lives as accomplished, responsible individuals where self-help skills, vocational training and community integration is taught in a nurturing environment.
Sevasadanam School began in 1989 by Dr. G. Vasanthamma, a leading physician in the town of Madhira. Dr. Vasanthamma, a social entrepreneur, wanted to provide quality services for individuals with mental retardation since there were no special schools catering to their needs. She purchased land, built school buildings and worked tirelessly to combat the stigma that exists for this disability and helped integrate these individuals into the community. Dr. Vasanthamma wanted to emulate her experience with Sevasadanam and establish similar schools in the neighboring towns and expand services to the needy individuals.
Activities at SevaSadanam
Vocational training strives to develop the self-confidence of mentally challenged students. It aims to provide them with skills that makes them feel that they are an equal contributor in the fulfilling of their day to day needs.
The institute provides vocational training such as gardening, candle making and telephone booth operation so that relatively able students might pursue some kind of supervised livelihood in the society.
The eligibility of candidates to pursue vocational training is based on their NIMH categorization. In general, students whose metal health categorization is “mild” are encouraged to take up vocational training because their acceptance and adjustment in society requires minimal effort.
The primary skill areas consists of:
- Self-help skills
- Gross and fine motor skills
- Functional reading and writing skills
- Time and money management skills
Parents are involved in all stages of the Individualized Educational Program (IEP). Various learning aids and appliances appropriate to the ‘Indian context’ are used during these instructions and students are assessed and trained in the functioning of these skill areas.
The institute realizes that apart from spending time in the institute, the student spends most of his or her time at home, interacting with parents and family members. In this context it is extremely important that parents be trained to handle the various needs of the child. In order to accomplish this goal the institute conducts various training programs for parents.
The parents are made aware of the various physical and psychological needs of the child and how to respond to those needs. Parents are also addressed on how to deal with their own emotional problems coping with a mentally disabled child.
Health Care Programs
Sevasadan staff conducts annual health care camps to identify and help the mentally challenged children in and around the neighboring villages of Madhira. Doctors from National Institute of Mentally Handicapped (NIMH) and leading hospitals in the neighboring cities lend their time and expertise to help these children.
The health care camps are advertised in all the local villages, and children with mentally retardation are screened and admitted to Sevasadanam. Children with physical disabilities are referred to Orthopedic doctors for further treatment.
Students are encouraged to participate in physical activities and sports. Students compete in several sports competition at the district and the state level. Students have won several medals for the school in several athletic events including running at the state level.
The institute hosts a plethora of cultural activities on Independence Day, Children’s Day, Annual day and the World Disabled Day. Students actively participate in these programs and participation includes enacting plays, giving musical performances, and competing in friendly contests.
There is an active public participation during these cultural activities which leads to an enormous success in fostering a better understating between the community as a whole and the mentally challenged students. Many have been humbled by the perseverance and courage displayed by the students.
The institute strongly believes that social integration is a prime indicator of the success of the institutes’ programs. Eventually, the acceptance of disabled students in society and society’s understanding of the issues involved when dealing with disabled students is the best indicator of the progress of the students and the institute.
In order to achieve this goal, the institute conducts various social awareness programs and uses exhibitions, camps, and workshops to display awareness materials and educate the local population of the various rehabilitative resources available at the institute.
Children from various local schools are brought to Sevasadan to interact so that they are more aware and tolerant towards these disabled children.