Dr. Nandkumar Mukund Kamat,
Asst. Professor, Dept. of Botany ,
Goa University,
Member, Goa State Planning Board
Goa

Enjoying Anandniketan

The great social reformer and author Sane Guruji had written- करी मनोरंजन जो मुलांचे, जडेल नाते प्रभूशी तयाचे

(One who entertains the kids develops a bond with divinity)

I believe Anandniketan has been doing this since its inception. Many a times when disabled kids are born the family, the parents may think “what is our fate?. Why only us? What’s the use of such ‘defective” kids?””

Then they feel helpless, stressed, depressed, angry, frustrated. Society merely pities them. They need all kind of support, understanding, counseling. At such times institutions like Anandniketan come to their help and provide the necessary support system. As time goes, society and nation would realize the tremendous importance of such support system.

I have to admit as a parent that by sending my son to Anandniketan we enjoyed more peace and happiness. Our burden was lightened. We could see the challenges before us in positive light. From pessimism we marched towards hope, optimism. Indeed we are very grateful to creators of this facility because they have done a great humanitarian job.

True to the name of the institution in Anandniketan, my so found Joy, Anand and peace and happiness too…

It is very rare to see kids eager to go to school but 10 years old my autist Son immediately adapted to Anandniketan environment in past two years despite feeling the stress of travelling from Taleigao to Mapusa by changing three to four buses every day only because he found a caring team at his destination. He cant pronounce Anandniketan but calls the school Ghateshwar school after it sifted to new premises. Even on Sundays and holidays he wakes up and demands that he should be taken to Anandniketan. He has some speaking and learning problems but the school has helped him to improve his verbal skills and imagination. He has photographic memory and we have seen while bringing him up that his mind is full of only pictures. He remembers all the teachers and is especially fond of those who in some way understand and love him more. We often find him drawing sketches of his Anandniketan school teachers. He mentions names of his classmates and imitates them. In fact as parents we have to be grateful to the full team at Anandniketan because for many such institutions it takes years to build a conducive nourishing environment which kids with mental disability like. Not only for family of the kids but for the teachers and helpers it is indeed a big challenge to understand children like my son. He’s growing up fast and there would be more challenges before us. We noticed a distinctly positive change after admitting our son to Anandniketan. His frequency of meltdowns decreased. He became little more disciplined and self sufficient. The meticulous record of his development has also helped us to understand his needs and our duties.

Our son is very intelligent, talented. He has his own complex mental world. He needs help, support, understanding with compassion, education, training for standing on his own feet as he becomes a teen…

Someday when he looks back as an adult he would remember every moment spent in this institution. He may even draw a grand mural to transfer his feelings on canvas.

India still has a very long way to go to build world class facilities for such kids but I am sure in years to come Anandniketan under Aastha would take that giant leap.

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