Snehadhara Foundation and Snehagram (a Vocational Training and Rehabilitation Centre for Children Living with HIV) share more than the first half of their names. Working with vulnerable children and enabling them to take a lead in transforming their own lives – is the ethos at the heart of both organisations. Therefore, it was very special when Fr. Mathew and five young adults (and adolescents) from Snehagram travelled all the way from Krishnagiri, Hosur to visit our Centre in JP Nagar, Bangalore, on 31st October. They spent half a day experiencing art-based learning and care-giving for children with special needs, from close quarters. They participated in the sessions, supported the children as and when required, and left the facilitators remarking on the seamless manner in which they blended in with the group.
The day seemed full though the girls from Snehagram only stayed half the working day. They wrote back to us about their experience and here is a sharing – in their own words:
My experience of Snehadhara
I had very good experience with Snehadhara children. As I went there, I was happy to see such children, because I had never seen such children with less memory and some were disabled but they were engaged in different activities for each day. Each day they have different activities that were wonderful to listen about from them. They do cooking, visit houses, bring vegetables. They also visit different places like parks etc. And they also travel one place to another. These kinds of activities were really good to listen from them and to see some activities. These kinds of activities are really good to them because they can learn many things and they can build better life to live. They were so friendly to my friends and to me, they were listening to their caretakers very well, they were respectful and kind to us. So I have learned to be polite with them, how to cope up with their problems and to understand their difficulties when they need help. By being with them I can learn more better way to manage them and treat them according to their needs. I will be happier by serving them and I will learn more things from them. Now I am ready to serve them with my caring hands and I have decided myself to work with Snehadhara children. Thank You. – Ashwini
I had good oppunity being with Snehadhara children. When I saw them I felt bit scared but still controlled my fear by involving. I was happy and thankful that someone is there to take care of them, not only physically support but also psychological support. I learnt to be patient and to control negative emotions and thoughts. I would like get training about how to be with and manage them so that I can be good caregiver and supporter. – Aishwarya
When I had gone to Snehadahara, I really felt so special. After seeing children in Snehadhara, I learnt how to be patient, understand and to share. My problems were nothing compared with them. These are the children who really need more care and love – moreover someone to take good care by giving possible joy, while caring. I really felt to give my time rather than feeling sympathy. – Priyanka
It was a great opportunity for me to go to Snehadhara Foundation to meet students who have special needs. I was thinking that the students can’t understand and they would be carried in a wheelchair. But that was not the case. They were able to manage themselves with the support of a facilitator. During the activity, when I sat next to them and held their hands, I felt the inner joy. As I’m interested in this field, I would like to work with them and help with their needs. – Gauthami
I had very good experience being with Snehadhara children because this was the job I wanted to do in my future. When I was with children I felt a bit afraid but I controlled my fear. I learned how to deal with these children without speaking but using art and craft method. After visiting these children I decided to work in this area, to give love and care which I have received before. This was my second ever such experience in my life. Thank you for giving this opportunity to spend two hours of my time with these children. I learnt to be patient while caring for others. I would love to work in this area. Thank you – Bhavani
As the adolescents and young adults empowered at Snehagram grapple with growing roots in “mainstream society,” the children and adults at Snehadhara are being enabled with tools to meet the daily demands of life. Their paths cross in their search for inclusion in a world that is sometimes too busy and unwilling to meet them where they are. Together these children and adults can build a secure future for all children, not just by their collaboration but also by opening conversations about inclusion, at all levels in society. The visit of the Snehagram children brought us more than joy and a sense of fulfillment. It has opened many possibilities for the building of bridges between the present and the future, between finding and giving care, between niggling questions and soothing solutions.