Welcome to School For The Mentally Retarded (SMR)
Kanyakumari Rural Development Society abbreviated as KARD is the outcome of the initiative of persons committed to the integrated development of disabled persons. But we are very clear from the very beginning that the community shall take care of the target group. ‘Taking care’ here refers to the participation of and the contribution by the community.
Thus the focal point of our strategy is on Community Based Rehabilitation of the persons with multiple disabilities. The idea behind the CBR concept is that the affection and recognition accorded by the family particularly mothers – contribute to a great extent towards the socio-physical and cultural development of the disabled.
The rich and upper middle class people can afford Trained nurses to look after mothers which in turn blocks their emotional security from the mentally retarded children in our working area-Kanyakumari district.
Before we go into the depth of the problem, it is appropriate here to dwell on some of the basic characteristics/ features of mental disability. The World Health Organization declares that 3% of the population of any countries is disabled. But Mentally Retired persons constitute 0.5%. At this conservation estimate, the mentally retarded persons in our district is about30,000 to 40,000 as the district population is beyond two million. Though the figure is alarming we need not panic. To rectify it is enough if we launch a concerted community based rehabilitation campaign to rehabilitate these persons.
This project idea is the driving force of the initiative of KARD’s CBR approach.
The Vision of KARD is to motivate the community people to contribute and participate in Community Based Rehabilitation of mentally retarded persons.
The Mission Focus
- That all the persons are created equal.
- The disability exists only in thinking not at the functional level.
- The mentally retarded children/persons are also the children of God hence they deserve concern and love.
- The community has a moral responsibility to look after the psycho-physical needs and problems of MR persons.
With this mission and vision we started this SCHOOL FOR THE MENTALLY RETARDED (SMR), a residential special school exclusively for mentally challenged children who are also orphan, who were wandering about in the streets of our area. These children are brought to our special school by the well wishers, officials of various departments, viz police, District Disabled rehabilitation department, service associations like, lions Club, religious groups etc.
KARD is concentrating on the orthopaedically and mentally disabled persons in three blocks identified fifty eight mentally disabled persons from the streets of our district and provide them with basic self-help skills and interpersonal development skills.
The target people –both children and adults hail from poor families, but neglected to deprivation and depravity is due to either ignorance or poverty. Some of them are even chained in the backyard or left to begging for their day to day survival.
Against this background, we have attempted to rehabilitate 38 MR children who are also orphan and left on the streets uncared. The motive is to provide self-help education and inter-personal relationship techniques in the center by six well trained staff. We provide meals, clothing and health care support through sponsors. Apart form that we have established good rapport and working relationship with primary health centers, Government and private hospitals, Social welfare Board, Revenue Department, District Disabled rehabilitation Department, Banks and District collectorate. We have motivated people of the community to contribute to this project in all respects. The local barber is contributing to the program by cutting the hair of the children every month. A medical physician is motivated to help the project by treating the children during their illness. A few medical shop owners have come forward to contribute to this program with the required medicines on producing the prescription from the physician. The people of the community contribute clothing (both used and new), meals for the day (either one meal or meals for the whole day). A few rice mill owner’s extent their contribution by providing some rice as their share for running the program.
The land, in which we have been running the program, is purampoke land, which belongs to the government. We get coconut, firewood and some paddy cultivated from these lands. It is not the money which alone matters, we need comments and suggestions to run this kind of innovative program. The consultants and the well wishers help our program with their comments and suggestions without which we could not have developed such a model program. They also contributed towards the need both in cash and in kind for our program, on our request. It is out of the sincere service of our staff team that we have been running the program. More and more sponsors are being tapped by our motivated staff. It is a long way we have come and we have crossed thirty two long years in this program. We started with five and now we have thirty eight mentally disabled girls who are also orphaned and abandoned..
We don’t have permission to develop infrastructure on this land for this community contributed rehabilitation center for the mentally disabled children. The present buildings are constructed in the government owned prompoke lands. Here we have risk of being evicted at any time without prior notice, but sponsors are coming forward to provide material or money to strengthen the infrastructure. Non availability of four wheeler vehicle is also a major constraint to provide timely care /support and conveyance.
Here we appeal to the government departments, NGOs and private philanthropists to extend their support on three sectors. The government shall extend full support and co-operation to this kind of rehabilitation programs. The NGOs shall come forward to start such Rehabilitation programs, by tapping and utilizing the locally available resources. The people of the community and the parents of special children to make use of this kind of facilities provided by the NGOs to develop a change in the attitude and behavior of the special children and also the community people towards each other.
We request the Non Governmental Organization to start rehabilitation programs like this for the special children in their own operational area along with their regular programs and project activities, since this is one of the priorities of our district.
We welcome visitors to our SCHOOL FOR THE MENTALLY RETARDED (SMR) for your suggestions and comments on this program.
SCHOOL FOR THE MENTALLY RETARDED (SMR)
Pin – 629 901
PH: 04652-276405, Mobile No. 9384740533.