Raising a child who is mentally challenged requires emotional strength and flexibility. The child has special needs in addition to the regular needs of all children, and parents can find themselves overwhelmed by various medical, caregiving and educational responsibilities. Whether the special needs of the child are minimal or complex, the parents are inevitably affected.
Parents of mentally challenged children commonly experience a gamut of emotions over the years. They often struggle with guilt. One or both parents may feel as though they somehow caused the child to be disabled, whether from genetics, stress, or other logical or illogical reasons.
Parents of mentally challenged children in the city came together and formed “SPARSH” school and day care centre for the mentally challenged children in association with Snehalaya a noted NGO from Ahemdnagar.
Snehalaya was started, by a zealous band of youth volunteers in 1989 under the leadership of Dr.Girish Kulkarni. For the last 12 years, Snehalaya is working to improve the lives of the victims of commercial sexual exploitation & trafficking.
Gautam Bavdekar had his 3 guntha ancestral house in Bazar Galli Khasbag and had approached Snehalaya. He wished to donate his house for a good cause like Snehalaya. Then, Snehalaya had no idea as to how the property in Belgaum could be put to good use. And one day when they found out and approached Gautam Bawdekar, he had expired. But his wife Neeta who now resides in Mumbai, decided to keep the promise of her late husband and formally donated the house to Snehalaya and now “SPARSH” the school for the mentally challenged has been started at the same premises in association with Snehalaya.
Sparsh is non-profit, non-commercial, voluntary organization dedicated to the welfare of the Mentally Challenged. Established on July 31, 2012 with EIGHT children, the institute is managed by a team of committed professionals interested in the welfare of the mentally challenged and who are also parents of these mentally challenged.
A new committee in the form of Snehalaya Belgaum has been formed under the Chairmanship of Suhas Mohire. The committee will overlook the working of “Sparsh”.
There are about 800 mentally challenged children in Belgaum alone with different challenges and dont have a proper education and therapy, this was the main rationale behind opening such a centre.
Yash Mohire is a very good photographer, swimmer and seeing his photos no one will believe he is also suffering from down syndrome. He is shy, but when the camera come to him he clicks amazing pictures. Chaitanya Patil was a normal kid going to school but one day he had fever and is now down with Autism. There are other similar children who have some other challenges.
At “Sparsh” children are introduced to concepts such as time, color, and trained in dressing, personal hygiene, eating, and so on. Excursions and picnics for the whole group provide opportunities to develop social behavior skills and learn to interact with outside world.
Class room training, yoga, speech therapy, physiotherapy, vocational training, excursions, picnics, extracurricular activities, all these help Mentally Challenged children to have a life with little more independence.
Education and training to the mentally challenged include teaching self-dependence, gaining control over natural body rhythms, keeping the body clean, bathing, cleaning teeth and dressing one-self. Their I.Q. being very low, a great care is taken while teaching the mentally challenged. The education and training of these children differs a lot from that of normal children. Their syllabus has to include self-dependence, etiquettes, conversation, everyday activities etc. It is truly a herculean task to inculcate self-independence among the mentally retarded children.
Students are normally classified according to the nature of their mental challenges like mild/moderate/severe mental retardation, down syndrome, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, birth asphyxia, hyperactive, slow learners etc. and also on the basis of the progress achieved in attending to daily routine activities, etiquettes, conversation, group compatibility etc.
SPARSH in future, plans to get more therapy specialists, they already have a full time speech therapist from Beed. These children need different kind of therapies which include music, sand etc. These children need a special garden and Sparsh plans to include both in the future. The committee is visiting all the similar schools in the metros and trying to get a joint development programs undertaken for their faculty so that they are trained in the latest techniques.
You can extend monetary support for any of their future projects or helping them maintain their current children to give them a bright future.
They have started a funding scheme called Rupee a day, where donations are collected in form rupee a day, Rs.365 which would be utilized for the upkeep and needs of the centre.
65, Bazar Galli, Khasbag, Belgaum
Note: This is a newly started NGO and they are in the process of getting themselves registered under the law as needed.