November & December 2016 Newsletter
Nov 4: Joining hands with Mirra Charitable Trust
Swabodhini has tied hands with Mirra chartiable Trust. The MIRRA Charitable Trust, a city-based remedial centre for children with learning disabilities and ADHD works with private and corporation schools to integrate the children into the mainstream. The trust is founded and managed by Ms. Mallika Ganapathy, Ms. Lakshmi Satish and Mr. C A Satish.
We are very much pleased and honored to have Ms. Lakshmi as our consultant for functional academics. She will be guiding Swabodhini with her valuable expertise on special education curriculum planning and implementation, teaching methodology and functional academics. Going forward, Ms. Lakshmi will also start training the teachers, staff and support staff of Swabodhini.
Nov 5: Fund raising concert for Swabodhini by Pioneer Music Gym
Pioneer Music Gym is a singing group based out of Chennai, comprised entirely of amateur but extremely talented bunch of singers, who are also successful professionals and entrepreneurs. After visiting Swabodhini, they large heartedly offered to conduct a show to raise funds for Swabodhini.
Thus, on the Saturday evening, they organized “Harmony Music Night”, awed the audience with their music and humbled us with their generosity –of time, talent and money. The event was conducted at the Infosys hall, Ramakrishna Mission School, T. Nagar.
It was a proud moment for Swabodhini when our student, Mr. V Venkat Narendar got a thunderous standing ovation for a Tamil song that he rendered on the stage. It was his first ever experience to sing with an orchestra and he came across as a complete natural.
Nov 7: Swabodhini’s Advisory Board Meeting
We had our First Advisory Board Meeting on 7th Nov, 2016. It was a daylong meeting. The board members discussed the vision and mission of Swabodhini and its plans for future were firmed up and reiterated with specific programs. Sri. V. Srinivasan, from Singapore was here for the day and he had one on one discussion with all the department heads. It was wonderful opportunity for the staff to interact with the advisory board member.
We are also very happy to announce the induction of Mr. Siva Shankar Ganesan as our new board member. Based out of Dubai Mr. Siva Shankar will slowly provide off site support to the future plan of Swabodhini.
Mr. Siva Shankar is the executive director of Crayon Data. Mr. Siva Shankar has done his post-graduation in MS –Information Systems from Boston University. He has 18+ years of experience in business / customer strategy, big data, analytics and data intelligence. Having him in our board is undoubtedly a big asset and support for Swabodhini.
Nov 14: Children’s day celebrations
We are here for children and children’s day is very special!!
Team Swabodhini never misses an opportunity to celebrate and Children’s day was no exception. The day was full of games and music and dance, where our dear children participated with much enthusiasm.
Nov 17: Field Trip to Valluvar Kottam
Swabodhini’s annual day theme for this year is “Chennai Tourism”, where we take our students to different tourist places in Chennai. After covering Dakshin Chitra and Egmore Museum in the previous months, we took our students to the famous Valluvar Kottam. Valluvar Kottam is a landmark location in Chennai, which was erected in honour of the famous Tamil poet-saint, Thiruvalluvar –composer of Thirukkural.
Nov 22: Rota Talent Competition
Rotary Club of Madras T. Nagar in association with Neeta Memorial Charitable Trust had organized the “Rota Talent Show for Special Children” at Kamaraj Memorial Hall. Our students, as usual, participated with enthusiasm in various events. Gurubharan and Kaustav won individual prizes for dancing and singing respectively. Our students performed a group dance, “Bharatha Mannu” and enthralled the audience and judges.
Nov 23: Visit by APL Global School
Spreading awareness about autism is one of the key focus areas of Swabodhini. Screening of children at a young age and early intervention is crucial in the development of autistic children. In an effort to drive home this awareness, Swabodhini constantly conducts screening camps and encourage main stream schools to visit our premises for better understanding of special children and their requirements.
On 23rd Nov, teachers from APL Global School, Thoriapakkam, visited Swabodhini to understand more about autism in general and how Swabodhini works with children on the autism spectrum.
Nov 26: Visit from Harman Group
We wrapped up November events at Swabodhini from a visit from Harman Group. Employees came and spent time with our students and gifted them stationary items and snacks. Harman has made a generous financial contribution for our cause in September 2016. Having them over at Swabodhini was very special for us, for they support us not only financially, but also with their valuable time.
HARMAN is the parent company behind an array of legendary brands that includes Harman Kardon®, JBL®, Mark Levinson® and Infinity®. They are a leading global provider of premium audio and infotainment solutions, engaging customers around the home, in the car and on the go.
Dec 1: Birthday Celebration of Ms. Radhika
Ms. Radhika Om Prakash Wakharkar , our sponsor for one of the underpriviledged children, celebrated her birthday with school children. The students made a birthday card for her and Ms. Radhika had lunch at school with all the students. She also donated a projector screen for Swabodhini, which will be used in our audio visual classes.
Dec 5: Sad demise of CM Ms. J Jayalalitha
December started off in a sad note when the state bid farewell to its beloved Chief Minister Ms. J Jayalalitha. The school remained closed in her honour for the state mourning.
Dec 8: Presentation at World Bank
Swabodhini participated in World Bank’s employees’ leadership team meet at Tharamani, as a part of World Bank’s fund raising program for NGOs. We set up a stall for display and sale of paper bags and diyas made by our students. Mahesh Ram, our vocational intern, gave a small presentation on his role at Swabodhini and shared his experiences as a Swabodhini intern. Our director Mrs Anuradha Mahesh addressed the gathering and spoke about the education and training at swabodhini. It was well received by the employees from world bank Washington too.
Dec 12: Vardah cyclone
December delivered its second blow to Chennai with the fierce Vardah cyclone. By the grace of almighty, the school did not have any major impact because of the storm. We lost some flexi board hoardings, garage car park overhead sheets and had some damage to compound wall. However, we were lucky that the trees in our premises were spared! Swabodhini was closed for 3 days due to Vardah.
Dec 16: Workshop on General Communication
Marching ahead on our partnership with Mirra Charitable Trust, Mr. Satish, one of the co-founders of Mirra conducted a workshop in general communication for our teachers, therapists and office staffs. It was an extremely useful and practical workshop on how to effectively communicate with children who are non-verbal –which is often the case in autism.
The workshop stressed on complete communication –i.e not only putting forth the matter to be communicated, but also the ways to understand if the child has truly understood that which was communicated to him. Team Swabodhini is eagerly waiting for many such fruitful workshops with Team Mirra.
Dec 22: Fund raising by Ananya Krishnan
Ananya Krishnan, a 12 year old girl, did fund raising for Swabodhini in USA as part of GURUKUL academy at Philadelphia. She came to handover the funds collected. She was accompanied by her family (including a 5 year old little brother) and they spent a day at school with the primary students.
We are proud to have such young minds support us and this goes a long way in spreading the awareness and inclusion of autism.
Dec 21-23: Progressive Review Report meeting with parents
Our director, Ms. Anuradha Mahesh met the parents along with the concerned staff and updated the progress of their wards. The rationale behind the new groupings, revised timetables and the importance of home programs was explained in detail to every parent. It is to ensure that every parent was motivated to do the follow up on their wards at home and also understand fully about the system of education and training at Swabodhini and how simple changes can bring on extraordinary results!
Dec 23: Christmas celebrations
We wrapped up the calendar year 2016 at Swabodhini with Christmas and New Year Celebrations. Fun, games, music, decorations were all done when Santa turned up and made merry with our students.