Reaching out when there was no hope

By Bhargavi S. Rao

Whilst the Country and States are yet to implement all the provisions of the United Nations convention for rights of persons with disabilities-2006 (UNCRPD) and the recently passed Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2016, and the many other existing laws, policies, programs and schemes to protect the rights of children with Disabilities, a small group of sisters who call themselves Daughters of St. Camillus, truly are visible angels for they decided to take over the care of the girl children suffering from Cerebral Palsy, Quadriplegia, Hydrocephaly, Microcephaly, Down Syndrome, Hemiplegia with mental retardation and Spastic from a Remand Home where they lacked nursing care, nutrition and more at the call of the Department of Women and Child welfare back in 2006.

Children at Swanthana greet us with a welcome song

WATCH THIS VIDEO TO HEAR OUR ANGELS SINGhttps://www.facebook.com/UnitedWayBengaluru/videos/1430846223646370/

Each child has a story, and the stories are heart wrenching. The story begins from where they were found and abandoned, mostly at Railway Stations, Bus stands, Roadsides, near and in garbage bins, in and around busy market areas, near narrow roads behind hotels or near compound walls.

Children are quite happy to meet visitors

As the Sister narrates the story and walks us around, the angel picks them up, plants a kiss on their cheeks, asks if they had their fruit juice, feeds another with the milk in the bottle, changes the dress of another, talks to each one of them as she walks us from one room to the other where the children are in cribs with full time caretakers attending on every child in each of the rooms. She understands their gestures, their smiles, their requests, needs and more and very importantly the language they speak.

Sister Regina proudly introduces us to Amulya, the youngest child at the home

A small group of eight sisters manage nearly 30 odd girl children each with a different set of medical condition and complications. The day at SWANTHANA starts very early and these children need to be fed every meal, every drink, every medicine and spoon-by-spoon with a lot of cajoling and care. They have to be bathed many times on some days.

Physiotherapist Banu urges little Amulya to lift her head at an ongoing physiotherapy session

WATCH BABY AMULYA AS SHE ENJOYS HER PHYSIOTHERAPY SESSION https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kFTIpDnpak

Providing them milk, fruit, and three meals a day is a big challenge. Ensuring there is a constant supply of diapers is another. Managing used diapers from stray dogs dispersing them and tearing them apart was the biggest challenge. This apart, an ambulance for emergency, regular physician visits, physiotherapy and constant care with sleepless nights are other challenges.

Ambika who dreams of walking on her own two feet , (which most of us take for granted) is being strapped and readied to walk with the support of bars.

Some children, after years of constant care, have now started to learn and even go to school. All other children are taught at the center through Art, Craft, Music and Games. Children are very happy and chirpy and express their happiness in so many ways.

Dedicated volunteers conduct regular classes at the home

The Center is mostly run from voluntary donations and corporate support that has helped in significant ways. Wheel chairs, children physiotherapy equipment, regular supply of diapers, children’s clothes, a building that is accessible to all with a CCTV camera to monitor all children from being hurt, an incinerator to take care of the large volumes of used diapers, a vocational training center that is nearing completion, and a dedicated set of helpers, have all been possible through the dedicated and committed support from United Way Bengaluru which has played a key role in making those connections with corporates and volunteers.

Sister Regina gladly demonstrates the working of the incinerator which was donated by UWBe, to deal with the large volume of soiled diapers  on a daily basis.

Swanthana encourages volunteers to help them in the daily activities of serving, feeding, help in every day routine activities and more.

A visit to the center will leave one changed for life!

To support the holistic development of these innocent children, write to us at info@uwbengaluru.org