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Weppl team travelled 25+ Km in the gruelling sun and dust to reach a unique place in Northern Bangalore. A place that is unique among the busy Companies focusing on high growth in the rest of the city.
On entering the Center, we were greeted by two groups: Very friendly employees and a loud cheer of children.
Most of the children had never seen a camera fixed on a tripod and a curious one among them, Shibin couldn’t get enough of it and he kept on coming back to setup to explore.
As Candida Preetham , the founder of Manna Developmental
Center started talking with us, I forgot that we were taking an interview and was completely immersed in the story. It was a story no less inspiring than Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel. But Candida is neither from a faraway land of Amazonians nor did she acquire superpowers by accident. Hers is a story of a struggle, patience and dedication.
The story began when she was seeking medical support for her own child and shifted her base to Bangalore. According to her, most of the corporate hospitals and Centers offered 1 to 2 hours of support everyday for the challenged children at exorbitant costs. After a very long search, she found a few good Centers but they too were charging high prices.
Is Learning Disability intervention only for the rich?
THE QUESTION ECHOED IN CANDIDA’S HEAD.
To seek answers to her doubts on how disadvantaged section of the society handles Autistic children, she set out to a village school. As she started observing the students, she found a child who was not listening to anything in the class. Later the teacher explained, “He is usually like that. He sits in the class for namesake and leaves.” Intrigued, Candida went to the child’s mother who was quarry worker. Candida learnt about the cruel acts by the villagers in an attempt to “cure” him. The father had left the family because of the child’s condition. For the urban people like us, such acts seem to be unreal and shocking in the Twenty First century. Most of us would be devastated on realising such harsh truths. But, I strongly believe this is where the fundamental difference between sympathy and empathy arises. Sympathy makes you feel sad for others’ suffering. But Empathy in addition to making you sad, makes you act. And Candida is not short of empathy at all.
It is one thing to gather motivation to start such a Center. It is totally a different ball game to develop the expertise and management skills to nurture the Children who are affected by Autism and Learning disabilities.
She sought active intervention for such children. According to her, training the parents is equally important for the development of the children at their homes. Her Organisation grew slowly and lot of such challenged children were brought to Manna by their parents. Active Autism intervention is a resource and people intensive process. It needs physical, music, occupational, speech and behaviour therapy. After the children start adapting to the conventional teaching methods they are sent to school.
We are glad Weppl can support Organizations like Manna to raise money for the social causes. We at Weppl are excited and cannot wait to launch our platform. If you know any such genuine Organizations that need support, please let us know in the comments section.
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