Raksha is a special needs school that has dozens of students ranging from 18-month-old children in the early intervention unit, up to 20-year-old men and women in the vocational unit. The children have a huge range of impairments such as muscular dystrophy, Down ’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and developmental delay. The school has passionate staff despite limited teachers and resources and the children are a delight to work with.
During December, GVI health care volunteers worked in close partnership with the staff at Raksha to identify children who were in need of assessment. The aim is to identify goals and areas of development depending on the children’s individual needs and abilities.
A total of 29 children had Occupational Therapy assessments. Therapeutic activities have since been completed to work on areas such as social interaction, dexterity and gross motor skills, alongside educational tasks to improve overall well-being and development.
After a 12 month gap, health volunteers have started to build upon the already working relationship between GVI Kerala and the staff at Raksha. A steady stream of volunteers have been working at Raksha over the last few months- including two occupational therapists, a music therapist and other volunteers with varying degrees of health experience. The staff expressed the desperate need occupational therapists to assess certain children so that the teachers knew what areas needed help developing. The volunteers were more than happy to assist.
The assessments were lots of fun, especially when more resources were acquired such as a mini trampoline, toy tuk-tuks and drums! Following the assessments, goals were set to try and develop the child in various ways.
Another exciting project that the volunteers participated in was the redecoration of one of the classrooms. This was not just a beautification project, it was to improve the learning environment to help with engagement, education and sensory work. The bare walls soon were covered with a beautiful mural. The room took two days to transform with the help of volunteers and GVI staff over the Christmas period. The children, teachers and volunteers were delighted with the result and can’t wait to start using in 2016!
The relationship between GVI and Raksha is really developing and exciting changes are about to happen with regards to focused, structured therapeutic activities and encouragement of the more able-bodied students to develop academically – all thanks to the volunteers, GVI staff, Raksha staff and, more importantly, the enthusiasm and sheer joy from the children.
Watch this space!