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Champion Dhanush and help him secure a better future!

Sometime early in 2016.

In a village 26 km from Bangalore, lives a 3 year old boy Dhanush. In a closed setting, within a matter of a few minutes, a team with years of training and experience notice the listless, unenthusiastic, non- verbal child. He looks at us warily, his mouth open and drooling. Soon his eyes well up and his body goes rigid.
 

This aptly describes our first meeting with Dhanush, at the Anganwadi centre (Primary care facility) of his village. His teacher shares with us that Dhanush experiences severe anxiety when separated from his mother and that she, the teacher, is unable to get him to sit with the other 5 children who are under her care. “He cries a lot” she says. “He cannot speak and is still like a baby.”

Born to a mother with speech and hearing impairment and an alcoholic father, Dhanush was bereft of attention, stimulation and language -  critical elements to the overall development of all children especially under the age of 5. The lack of these much needed stimulants had earned him the label of a mute and he was referred to as “Kariya” - the little black boy - prone to violent outbursts and shrieking, by the community at large. He could only make his needs known by crying and pointing to objects.
He had no playmates and no one to tell him bedtime stories. He was fed, clothed and handled like an infant by his mother.

While we too initially assumed he was mute and hearing impaired, it became apparent rather quickly during our assessments that he had NO hearing impairments. He had been unfairly labelled and treated as a deaf and mute child.

Early 2017

Dhanush sits in the centre of the room in the same Anganwadi centre his attention focused on the puzzle in front of him. He confidently picks up a piece and places it in the right place. A therapist sits next to him and he breaks into a broad smile when she praises him.

Over the past 8 months, despite breaks in his therapy, Dhanush is a success story in his own right. He’s come a long way from the listless and clingy ‘baby’ we met and can now be described as a cheerful child who enjoys the social company of other children, shares toys with his peers and shows aptitude and intelligence more in line with his age.

With the attention he’s received in these past few months he responds to his name, engages in meaningful activities, enjoys listening to stories, understands and uses words for common objects in Kannada (the local language) and can even use a few English words. His outbursts have subsided now that he knows how to communicate using language.

His ability to discern that he needs to communicate through actions with his speech and hearing impaired mother, and through verbal communication with others is yet another indicator of his mental ability.

HOW TIMELY INTERVENTION FROM THE OUTREACH TEAM CHANGED DHANUSH



We have a road map that helps us gauge Dhanush’s potential, and his overall progress has given us hope that he can achieve this potential with the required inputs and tools. Its unfortunate knowing that many others in a similar situation could be deprived of this timely intervention mainly due to inadequate access to diagnostic and therapeutic services, which in an ideal world ought to be available to all children.

For now with Dhanush, we believe he has the opportunity to be the best that he can be.

So why have we launched this Campaign?

In the 8 months that we have been working with Dhanush, we believe the changes in him are nothing short of transformative. Our timing in beginning this Outreach initiative couldn’t have been better and we were fortunate to have discovered him when we did.

However, despite the progress, this is just a start for Dhanush. The coming year is crucial. If Dhanush is to integrate into a mainstream school system, his progress needs to be as rapid and as successful as it has been so far. He needs therapy and expertise, beyond what we can bring to him in the village, and he needs a specific type of specialisation that a school, like FAME India, is well equipped to provide.

So, who are “We”?

“We” are FAME India, a non profit school that began in 2001 with the vision to rehabilitate and educate special needs children in India.

The FAME India school provides individualized education, therapy and rehabilitative services to close to 100 children with special needs ranging from Intellectual Disability, Cerebral Palsy, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Muscular Dystrophy, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and other multiple disabilities. Most of the children at the FAME India school come from socio economic situations similar to Dhanush.

A study carried out by ICMR showed that close to 18% of the incidences of special needs occurs in rural areas particularly in states like Karnataka, Maharashtra etc. Backed by this data we decided to push the boundaries of location and launched our Outreach initiative, using our in-house expertise which included:

  •  a trained speech therapist
  • a veteran physiotherapist
  • a special educator
  • a medico social worker, and
  • a dedicated community rehabilitation worker.

Together we navigate the system to garner support of the local Anganwadi staff, the village and even the health centre to reach underprivileged communities that are vulnerable economically and are prone to poorly detected but mostly undetected development delays.

The area in which we work is challenging. Not only because the children we work with face severe physical and emotional challenges, but also given the challenges we face in our country. Statistics point to 12 million children in India living with special needs of which only 1% have access to any kind of rehabilitation or education. Our intent is to change this statistic. We believe we have developed excellence in the work we do, and when we see a special needs child, we see a child who deserves to live a life of dignity and self reliance.

For Dhanush to enroll at the FAME school, we need to raise an amount of INR 1,56,000 that will cover his transportation, therapy and education expenses. All contributions to this campaign will be used 100% to help Dhanush enroll and continue the required education at our FAME school.
 
HOW THE AMOUNT RAISED WILL BE DISTRIBUTED

Dhanush needs your faith, your support and your contributions. 

Help Dhanush enroll at the FAME school and give him the environment and the support he needs to accelerate his learning.


Ask for an update
26th May 2017
We do not need a special day to break a good news but it is the good news that makes the day special.

It gives us immense pleasure to witness the progress Dhanush has shown over the past few months and what is even more momentous for each one us is that he is ready to go to a mainstream school. You have made all of us really proud, Dhanush.
Dhanush has been regular with his speech therapy and has made remarkable progress. He has gained age appropriate social skills, receptive skill and cognitive skills which will enable him to integrate well into the mainstream school.

Early Identification, Intervention and Inclusion can change the trajectory of the child! That has been proved in Dhanush's case. Inclusion in the Anganwadi centre and the opportunities that was given to him by FAME team and the community where he lives have accelerated his learning and to keep up with this pace, he needs to be attending neighbourhood school and not a special school.

FAME Team believes that Dhanush is almost on par with his peers and it is his right to attend a mainstream school with his neighbourhood friends.

We, at FAME, are in the process of finalising the school, which is closer to the vicinity and provides a bus facility to and from his village. Also, the funds raised for him during the campaign will cover his education and related expenses. FAME will continue to give the necessary support to Dhanush and his new teacher to understand each other as they embark on a new journey.

The Speech Therapist from FAME India is working on the assessment of the expressive speech of Dhanush. A programme will be developed which will further enhance his expressive skills. The team will evaluate his progress on a monthly basis and inputs will be provided in the relevant areas.

The new academic session will begin in the month of June, 2017.
Once again a big Thank You from Dhanush, his family and all of us at FAME India. We know that your support and best wishes will ensure that he continues to work hard and achieve greater milestones in life.

We would love to hear from you, so in case you want to know more about Dhanush or the work we do, then do write to us at friends@fameindia.org

Ask the campaign organizer

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Rs.202,474
raised of Rs.156,000 goal

52 Supporters

0 Days to go

Beneficiary: FAME India info_outline
80G tax benefits for INR donations

Supporters (52)

J
Jaggi donated Rs.6,600

God bless the child and thank you FAME for the wonderful work

Divya
Divya donated $500
A
Anonymous donated $50
AV
Anjana donated Rs.2,500

Best wishes to the little champ!!!

A
Anonymous donated Rs.1,000
A
Anonymous donated Rs.4,200