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Asha Kiran Ashram – Rays of Hope House

The centre opened officially in August 2009 as a day centre, having been running on a small scale in the church building before then. It quickly obtained government recognition, and over the years it has attracted a lot of attention as a model of excellence. It has expanded over the years, and now offers residential accommodation for children who cannot commute daily.

Currently 20 to 30 children are brought to the centre by autorickshaws (small taxis) and larger vehicles each morning. The homes of a further 20 or so children are too far away for them to commute daily, and these live in the centre. All the children have a varied programme of physiotherapy, academic teaching which is tailored to their various abilities, games designed to develop their physical abilities, vocational training and so on. They also receive mid-morning milk and a nourishing lunch. The staff include five teachers, five classroom assistants, a part-time physiotherapist, a cook and an administrator. At the end of the day all the day children are taken back home.

Helping a disabled boy to draw

New Building for Asha Kiran Ashram

Physiotherapy for Ramkumar

Each child is carefully assessed when they join, and a structured programme of three-month targets is set for each so as to make sure they develop in a balanced way. These are reviewed regularly and updated with more demanding targets as appropriate. Children who need physiotherapy receive it, and we are investigating the possibility of providing speech therapy as well, subject to funds becoming available. Over the years, children have grown, developed and learned. Immobile children have been enabled to move, and some who could not even sit up can now stand and walk. Some have been enabled to join, or rejoin, mainstream education, and others have been placed in appropriate employment. Parents have reported that their children are developing beyond their wildest dreams.

Our current project is to expand the buildings with a dedicated physiotherapy hall. Building costs in India have shot up; a suitable room now costs about £12,500. The funding is now in place, thanks to grants from two charitable trusts and a generous supporter, and building work is under way. The vision is that, in addition to providing treatment for the children at Asha Kiran, poor villagers who cannot afford treatment can also be helped as outpatients. We’re looking forward to seeing the final result!

Learning to walk with the parallel bars

Assessing a new pupil

I did it – despite cerebral palsy!

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