At times, it’s really astonishing when the adults behave with such insensitivity with the children that require special needs. And at such moments, their insensitivity triggers the young mind! Something like this is the case Krishna, Jayashree, Lakshmi, and Jayanthi are quadruplets. Krishna and Jayashree are students of Class 6 at Jamnabai Narsee School in Mumbai, and Lakshmi and Jayanthi are children with autism. An incident that changed their life and inspired them for a vow taking move... Let’s hear the story... As narrated by them:
“Around four years ago, we were playing together in our building complex – Lakshmi, Jayanthi, and both of us. Lakshmi was riding her bicycle and was laughing aloud. This was when an elderly man from the building pointed at her and called her ‘mad’. We felt really bad. Nobody had ever said something like this to Lakshmi before. We tried to explain to him that Lakshmi is autistic but he just wouldn’t listen.
Both of us were in tears while going upstairs, but Lakshmi continued laughing. She didn’t understand what had just happened and it made us feel worse.
That night, we told our mother Sangeetha about this episode. We demanded that she should go to every house in our building and explain that Lakshmi and Jayanthi are not mad…only different. But she said that we should think of something else to connect Lakshmi with others in the building and help people know her for what she can do”.
The dejected and upset kids in the utter helpless state felt miserable. But their inner courage served out to be the ray of hope, which led to the birth of "Together". Together is an initiative taken up to create a community of support and recognition for children with special needs. It is an organization meant to teach children with special needs things that they enjoy learning and doing.
Further, they explained their journey. Their inspiring journey with various stops and hurdles in between. They started with their cookie project that involved baking cookies and selling them. With the cookie project, their initial aim had been for looking at imparting meaningful learning in baking as well as learning to learn/work in a professional environment. Eventually, they were planning to set up a full-fledged vocational center for people to be able to spend more time engaged in learning and earning. Slowly, orders started coming in and in a few months, the team organized a baking and diya painting party for all the children in their building.
There were forty children and so many orders by the end of it that they even started a WhatsApp group only for the cookie project. After that, they felt the need for a commercial oven because it had been difficult for them to manage so many orders with one microwave oven. They were supported by others As well, Krishna explained, “My mother went to an organization called Puratos and asked for help in buying a suitable oven. But when they heard our story, they invited us to their head office and bake in their bakery every Saturday.”
But the matter of concern remains the Future - “We used to ask this question very often and our mother told us that we have to help them live independently i.e. to support themselves but in an environment that also provides support.” Hence, the idea of starting a life skill centre was counted by these young minds. And now finally, they are very close at completion of their dream. They launched their life skill centre on 9th June and are looking for admissions!
That is how we thought about starting a Life Skills Centre that will launch on June 9, 2016.
This centre, founded by a team of parents, professionals and special educators will help students with special needs and will help them learn many things, for example, getting ready for meals, helping in the kitchen, serving food, clearing and washing, meaningful use of leisure time, grooming, learning to make phone calls, etc. They will learn skills like that are crucial while living in present day world.
Krishna and Jayashree presented their views, “Today, we have many teachers, parents, and friends, who call themselves our co-workers. We want Together Life Skills Centre to become very popular. The children of Together should be known for their achievements and they should get the honor and respect they deserve”.
It’s our time to support these young souls, for the sake of humanity lets support them with their initiative Together is a non-profit organization. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.togethersee.org, and www.facebook.com/togethersee.