Sunday, April 07, 2013

Back..yet again!

Dear Friends,

   I am returning to this blog after more than 2 years. Its been a turbulent yet a roller coaster ride in my life in the interim. I have learned a lot and spent more time with the children in many different ways. My time in the schools have yet again increased. I have backed myself to accept more responsibilities as well. It is heartening to see the number of volunteers from Runners High at the schools we support increasing each year. Our community has evolved and shaped into a beautiful world that supports causes and brings us all together.

  We work with many schools now. We have also trained older children of Ananya Trust to start coaching children in another initiative called Snehadaan. You can read more about our initiatives here -

    I write this post with a sincere request. An organization we work with is going through a tough phase. This happened because some institutions supporting them ran out of funds. Shristi Special Academy do wonderful work with children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The children and staff are coached for running by us. We have successfully integrated running into their curriculum. I would like to support them so that the staff can be paid salaries regularly, nutrition can be improved and the running expenses can be managed safely. The funds you all can help me raise might help them at least buy time to get the institutional support they have been seeking for a while. Here is more:

Shristi Special Academy
Shristi Special Academy is a registered society with a governing committee (Regd. Under Karnataka Societies Act). It is a non-profit organisation, headed by a team of trained, qualified and experienced special educators who feel the need today is to provide quality services and well designed and structured intervention programmes to children with mental retardation, autism or any other intellectual impairment. Shristi Special Academy has a unique set of programs designed to enable independence among the mentally challenged, developmentally delayed, and those with autism and attention deficit hyperactive disorders of all ages. Rehabilitation at Shristi includes therapeutic intervention with a focus on special education, sensory stimulation, physiotherapy, language stimulation, and occupational therapy. Founded in 1995, Shristi Special Academy works to empower physically and mentally disadvantaged individuals through education and training. The aim of our work is to help our beneficiaries develop the capacity to live independent and fulfilling lives. This involves age appropriate skill training and systematic interventions that lead students from school through to vocational training and employment.

Running and children at Shristi Special Academy
In the last year, children and staff from Shristi Special Academy started training for long distance running. The participants were from varied backgrounds - children with Autism, Mental retardation, Down's syndrome, Physiotherapists, Special educators, parents etc. all of them trained together along with runners from Team Asha under the guidance of Runners High. They started with very small distances focusing on building a routine and getting used to the rigor of a new physical activity in their lives. We targeted a few runs and started training towards it with about four days of running in the week. Slowly, the team started bonding together among themselves and also with the other runners. It was inspirational to see the children break out of their barriers and bloom with their running. They enjoyed the time outside and were very self motivated in showing up for workouts. The special educators started seeing marked changes in the classroom. The therapists have also seen a great growth in abilities. We have documented the change in the confidence levels, ability for social interaction etc. in the children. Each child was tracked and interviewed to understand the changes running was bringing in their lives. They all successfully finished their target runs along with the staff! Now, we have more no. of children and staff participating in the future training programs.

  At this point, the organization is in need of funds to even function normally through the year. A few years back I would do ultra runs over many hours and would get your attention to donate for this cause. I still am doing ultra runs :) - But, I do it more as a personal exploration - a journey outwards and inwards as well. I have been doing many runs in the Himalayas, over many days, in conditions that I have not been used to and challenging in many ways. I don't want you to donate because of a crazy run I did. It would be wonderful if you are inspired by the children of Shristi Special Academy who are running and see how their lives have transformed through running. Your support to Shristi Special Academy will go a long way in helping the children become independent, strong and live a life of dignity.



Ashwin Gunashekar said...

My best wishes to Srishti and Santhosh. Srishti will survive. Keep the faith!

comfortably numb said...

Thanks Ashwin! Never doubted that with all the friends we have :)

chithra said...

Felt very good knowing about Shrishti and their activities and interventions for all age groups. Hope Shrishti grows to help more children!