The ‘Ayalkootam’ (neighbourhood group or NHG) concept of Kudumbasree now has a new face in the capital city.

Parents of differently abled children have set up two such groups, or rather, groups based on the concept. A major difference is that these have men as members as well though they are not entitled to any office-bearer post, and unlike other groups of Kudumbasree, membership is not restricted to one particular ward. The two NHGs set up here in December and January, Sneha and Souhrutha, are as of now accepting members from the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation area.

The two have around 40 members, with around 15 other parents evincing interest to be part of the endeavour. The aim is to work for the growth and development of their children. The ‘special’ NHGs, according to Vijayakrishnan, one of the members, have been set up with help from organisations including the Autism Club Thiruvananthapuram and Parivar Kerala. Though similar movements have been sprouting up in other parts of the State over the last one year, it is only now that the capital city is catching on, he says.

Barely four months into its existence, the two groups, which are currently organising a vacation camp for the children at Kamaleswaram Government HSS, are trying to arrange social, financial, mental, and moral support for parents of differently abled children. They also intend to give training in physical, mental, and art activities to the children, for which they are trying to set up a centre, from where awareness activities for parents can be carried out and which can also function as a day-care centre. To be called ‘Pakal Veedu,’ a major obstacle for the project is non-availability of land.

“We are approaching various agencies, including government departments, and public representatives as well to help us in this regard,” Mr. Vijayakrishnan says.

Once the centre is set up, the groups, which can be contacted on 94465 91480, are aiming to launch speech therapy, physiotherapy, and behavioural therapy programmes.