Chetna Charitable Trust has Ambitious Plans for Differently Abled Kids
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players” wrote Shakespeare in his play ‘As You Like It’. But a band of stage artists from Curchorem, Goa have ambitious plans to create a level playing stage for all children, especially the differently abled youth.
Sankalp Theatre is a cultural organization, based at Curchorem, Goa, with an impressive 15 years of activities in the fields of theatre, education, medical and sports. Having worked with differently abled children over the years, these social workers felt the need for a dedicated school for these children. Thus emerged the Chetna Charitable Trust, which set itself the noble task of building a state-of-the-art school and rehabilitation centre at Curchorem.
“We staged shows of our plays, sold donation coupons with prizes and raised money to buy a plot of land measuring 10,200 square metres at Cacora, Curchorem,” says Rajoo Megashyam Naik, the tall and portly leader of the Trust. Social activists Nandesh Vasta, Rubiya Kakodkar and Sunil Naik are among the other trustees.
Even before construction of the proposed two-storeyed school building could begin, the Trust started the school at rented premises in Curchorem city. The drive for funds was intensified and the first phase of the new school has now begun to take shape.
“Around 60 percent of the ground floor of the first phase is completed,” informs Rajoo. “The present school at the rented premises caters to 36 students, but the new school, once completed, will have a capacity of 250 students.”
The running costs of the school currently come to Rs 1,60,000. The Trust has applied for a government grant, and will be given these funds from the next academic year onwards. The grant will cover roughly half their running costs.
Showered with affection and tender care, the students at the Chetna School are blooming. Ishwari Naik has excelled at floor hockey and has represented Goa at the National Games for special children at Simla this year. Another lad, Shivam Naik, not only plays hockey well, but is also a talented keyboard musician. Then there’s Bhavika Kudalkar who is a good singer, and Kavita, who loves painting and knitting.
The school provides differently abled children various training and therapies like Academics, Music, Sports, Dance, Vocational, Occupational, Fine Arts, Computers and more. There is a computer studio, a library, games facility, kitchen, garden and swimming and physiotherapy unit.
Learning through fun is amply seen at Chetna’s school. The kids in their bright orange uniforms plant trees, practice yoga, play carrom, work out at the gym, dance and sing, and take part in the numerous activities planned meticulously by the caring staff members.
“These children cannot easily remember what we teach them,” says Rajoo, when I ask him about the challenges of teaching special children. “So we have to teach the same lessons repeatedly, so that they absorb the skills.”
To facilitate this, the school has special educators Rubia K. Naik and Ramachandra Bhosle on the staff. Geeta Kavlekar is their Vocational Assistant, Bernandina Vales teaches music, Vinashree Naik is the PE Instructor and Kanaya Naik is their in-house physiotherapist. The visiting faculty includes physiotherapist Carla Sousa, Counsellor Percy Cardoso and Deepak Gurav who conducts dance therapy. The arts and craft team has Sonal Saglani, Maya Kuncoliencar, Nagraj Achari and Reema Kakodkar, teaching the children skills like knitting, crochet, drawing and painting. The medical team of visiting doctors comprises Dr Atchut Kakodkar, Dr Priyanka Raikar and Dr Naresh Babu. Many of these professionals work for token fees, and some perform these labours of love absolutely free.
“The parents of the children also need counselling,” says Rajoo, “Dr Atchut Kakodkar comes in every Thursday, and checks and treats the children, and even the parents if needed.”
Chetna Charitable Trust’s ambitious project will be built in three phases, at an estimated total cost of 10 crore rupees .The first phase has been budgeted at Rs 4.53 crores. The architect of the project is Mr Rajeev Sukhtankar and the engineer is Mr Vidhyadhar Kakodkar. The Trust welcomes support from the public in the form of sponsorship of classrooms and other units.
Streets wishes Chetna’s trustees, employees, volunteers and students a hearty Christmas and best wishes for this noble project.
For more details on how you can support Chetna’s School contact: Rajoo M.Naik 8007738007 or Nandesh Vasta 9422057383