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Written by Kareena Terry
I knew it was necessary to dedicate an entire post to the amazing students at Sanvedana. These children come every day from all over the Latur region to learn through classwork, take part in crafts, dance, sing, practice yoga, have physiotherapy sessions and so much more. I met children suffering from cerebral palsey, mental retardation, autism, Down’s Syndrome and multiple disability which was eye-opening and inspiring. They displayed such courage and determination, particularly in their physiotherapy sessions which I could see were not easy for them.
It was deeply moving to see, and I felt such great gratitude for my own health and freedom. However, it warmed my heart to see smiles on these childrens’ faces, to see them helping one another and seeing the incredible work of all the staff at Sanvedana. Their job is undeniably painstaking and difficult but through them these children are given a whole new lease of life; their selfless service encourages me to do more.
One of the most interesting things I watched at Sanvedana was speech therapy. A trained speech therapist came to the centre once a week to work with the children, particularly those with Down’s Syndrome, to help them develop a greater range of motion when speaking. The time, effort and care that the speech therapist put in to helping each individual child was amazing and I felt honoured to be able to watch. I also loved watching the wonderful physiotherapist, Dr Mayuri, whose care and attention to each individual child was inspiring. She used different equipment, techniques and exercises to suit their different needs and, slowly but surely, she would see results.
Whilst it was harder for me to get involved in activities like speech therapy and physiotherapy, watching the children and speaking with the teachers was enriching enough. However, one of my favourite parts of the school day was first thing in the morning when all the children would gather in the hall for yoga and meditation. I thought this was amazing, and something I could really have done with at school! It was great to see how involved the children were getting and thought this was something western cultures could really use. On one occasion I was asked to run a short yoga session for all the children which I absolutely loved. It was so great to see them moving and enjoying themselves in preparation for the day ahead.
Overall, my favourite thing to do at Sanvedana was simply to play with and talk to the children. While the language barrier did make this difficult, I realised that language isn’t always necessary to communicate, especially with small children. During their lunch break, we would play ball games and I loved helping in the arts and crafts sessions. I connected with some students more easily than with others, and I soon found that I was spending lots of time each day with the same 2-3 children. It was heart-warming to build this connection with them and it would be amazing to see how they are doing in the near future. I am so thankful to everyone at Sanvedana for having me, and for giving me this wonderful experience.
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© Sewa UK 2023
Charity Number 1135425. Company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales No. 06976220. © Sewa UK 2023