Dear friends and supporters of the Handimachal project,
We all have been busy and there were little news posted on our blog but, believe me, there are indeed interesting news we want to share with you, so I propose a quick summary…
Our « dream team » in Kullu is still strong and actively dedicated to our special children.
In the “Sports corner”: Christelle Pettazzi, our former volunteer for APA (i.e. adapted physical/sports activities), went back to France at the end of August and a new French volunteer, Clarisse Capiez, relayed her on 15 September. She will be us until mid-December, and is already fully experiencing all the « cultural » differences and challenges of working in the local community.
In the “OTs’ corner”: Samantha Goodwin (OT volunteer) will be finishing her very long placement around 10 November and her input and impact on the rationalization of assessment and rehabilitation processes has been tremendous and exceptional – a well-deserved six month holiday to be spent travelling in India and Nepal is now ahead of her. Well, as this is supposed to be a summary I will not have enough space to express all our gratitude to Sam: our best recognition will be to continue working along the same lines and same level of quality as what was implemented by her. Shruti More, our young permanent OT, now has all the cards in hand to develop her practice with the necessary balance of technique, creativity and compassion to lead children towards autonomy.
In the “speakers’ corner”: Ajay Kyashap had the pleasure of welcoming an experienced speech therapist from Canada, Denise McVicar, whose mission in October and November is to accompany him in the development of his speech therapy practice, reinforcing his knowledge in the main areas of Speech-Language Pathology: articulation (motor speech and phonological), stuttering, voice (resonance and vocal cord pathology), language (receptive and expressive), feeding assessment, communication boards, etc. No need to say that nobody ever heard such words in Kullu, so this is an enormous chance for our kids and for the project.
Behind the physio table or kneeling on a mattress: Mayur Sharma, our PT, is following the difficult path of physiotherapy activities, which remain the basis of rehabilitation for many of our kids.
All these therapists of course do not stay in their own corners: the success of rehabilitation can only be achieved through discussions and sharing, combined assessments and therapy sessions, for the global benefit of the children.
The Handimachal Unit has now turned into a busy, joyful, friendly and innovative rehabilitation centre where families and children come for sessions on a regular pattern and always with pleasure. The number of patients remains more or less constant, mothers (mostly) actively take part in rehabilitation sessions and find here a place to share their fears and hopes with others.
You can get a glimpse of that spirit and listen to the staff’s and volunteers’ explanations in the video which was recently shot by a photographer in the Unit:
This sequence will be included into a documentary covering a cycling expedition to Ladakh in which Shruti took part in August 2011. This is how in fact she discovered the Handimachal Unit (by cycling in from of the Handimachal blud house) and later on joined the team to be part of this unique adventure. This documentary should be presented on Discovery Channel some time – a beautiful story and a very nice present indeed.
Things also happen out of the Unit: the team still visits homes and schools in Naggar and Manali, a disability workshop for parents was jointly organised with the Day Star School in Manali on 23 September and the team was invited to hold a stall during the Day Star School festival in October, disability seminars are held in local schools (such as in Kais Secondary School in September) in order to develop students’ and teachers’ awareness on disability matters.
Parents’ workshop on disabilities,
Manali Day Star School, 23 September 2012
This year again the team held a stall on Dalpur ground during the Dussehra festival in Kullu (24 to 30 October). This is a unique way to get a chance of meeting people from far away and isolated villages and disseminate information about our work.
See Samantha’s pictures here:
Now the festival is over, but isn’t every day a treasure?
Dominique, 1st November 2012