There is growing recognition for the right of an individual with disabilities to live within the community and be integrated back into mainstream society. This recognition is based on innumerable studies that prove that persons with disabilities can actually lead dignified and successful lives and become independent in their personal, social and occupational spheres – provided that proper training is imparted to them early on.
If we have learnt anything at all in these past 14 years of caring for the mentally challenged, it is that nothing is impossible for them when they are given the right opportunities and support. They have every potential to become productive citizens of society, if only given a chance!
Sri Arunodayam opened Prayatna (its vocational training unit) in 2012, in an attempt to train all it young mentally challenged adults (above the age of 18) and provide them with the skills to sustain a trade. This training became a form of occupational therapy, helping them develop the necessary interactive social skills for their emotional wellbeing. Prayatna (which means ‘a good effort’) is proving to be a great opportunity for our young adults to engage, learn, work, interact, and become productive citizens of society.
Prayatna currently trains them in activities like book binding, cattle rearing, paper bag, envelope, candle, diya and jewellery making. They also make artificial garlands out of flowers and beads which can be used at special functions. All the products are sold to visitors and to the immediate neighbourhood.Activities such as block printing, vermiculture, and opening a nursery garden are commencing soon.
We are constantly studying vocational options that would best suit our children’s abilities.
With adequate training, mildly, moderately, and sometimes even severely retarded persons can successfully complete productive activities, although they will need vocational training in a sheltered environment. Prayatna is one such controlled working environment where the relevant work attitudes and behaviors are taught in addition to vocational skills.
Read the report on our boys working at the organic vegetable garden and shop at Sri Arunodayam, here.
Do come over and meet them. You’ll find that they are keen learners. Our Volunteer page gives options for how you can become part of noble causes such as this one.
Mission from the Participant's Perspective
I want to show society that:
- I am able to learn and earn
- I can have a dignified life role
- I can be independent
- I can have unique skills
- I can be a worthwhile participant in society
- To educate, train and impart vocational training to mentally handicapped and differently abled persons
- To help participants develop good work habits and right attitudes towards work
- To help participants develop and improve their personal, social and functional skills
- To help participants improve their communication skills
- To help participants develop life survival and sustainable business skills
- To help participants become independent and develop self-esteem
- To provide opportunities for integrating learned skills into daily life and work situations