YOUNG WORLD

Path to progress

At Pathway :Fun and learning.  

ROHINI RAMAKRISHNAN

A special school that helps you realise you are unique and teaches you to withstand the storms of life.

The kids looked up to Srinivasan, who taught them to use the woodwork implements skilfully and make candles. But there was no getting away from his eagle eye, if they wanted to “bunk” the one hour of work at the vegetable patch. Srivivasan is 18 and has a moderate mental disorder but he is a skilful teacher, a leader whom the “normal” kids respect.

Srinivasan's father died when he was a baby and his mother abandoned him, because he had had a mental disorder. Pathway, Tiruvanmiyur, took him in as a five-year-old, and helped him stand against the storms in his life. When he came in, he had speech, socialising and the moderate disorder problems. But with time therapy helped him.

Natural healing

When Dr. Prasad started his “home” for such kids, the neighbours used to throw stones at them and called them “mad”. But the Doctor made a wise move. In the evenings the neighbourhood kids used to come to Pathway for special classes. This brought them in contact with the special children. Gradually, they learnt to accept them and began to help them with their lessons and in basic care. The financial support and the books and clothes that the organisation gave brought the adults to the centre, who saw that here was a group of special children who need that extra care and support.

And this led to the integration of all the children. Deepak who has a more severe disorder needs supervision in everything he does. But the children of the mainstream school have learned to help the special children and this bonding has brought about a great change in the lives of both.

The 65-acre agro farm in Agili, Melmaruvathur has rice fields to feed the 600 children of the different centres of Pathways. There are coconut, mango and guava trees that bring in revenue too. But 25-acres of land is allotted to vegetable patches where seasonal vegetables are grown.

The special kids with the help of the other children tend to these plots as well as work in the polyhouses — where the temperature is controlled to get a good crop of beetroot and carrots which otherwise do not thrive in Chennai. The children also look after the large plant nursery.

And in this clean and healthy environment, under the canopy of trees, are children learning to stand and face life, with confidence and dignity.



For further information contact: Sudha: 9840084988/ 044 24483949

www.pathway-india.com