Persons with moderate to severe disabilities often need lifelong training in adapting to changes that we take for granted. At Swavalambana, we hope to enable a better quality of life at all stages through such training. Rather than work as a service provider, we partner with families and caregivers, to support our community through the shifting demands of adult life.
The first to be established of FAME India’s four entities was the CENTRE FOR CHILDREN, which has grown from modest beginnings in 2001 to serve over 3000 children so far. The Centre has children who have a variety of neuro-developmental disabilities: cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple disability, autism, all in the moderate to severe end of the spectrum. Our child community ranges from the age of 2 to 18, and is categorised into 12 learning levels. Each child has a special curriculum called the Individualised Education Programme (IEP), devised in consultation with special educators, therapists and parents. The IEP includes literacy and numeracy skills, but physical dexterity, self-care and Activities of Daily Living are given equal importance. A significant number of the children reached by the Centre are from underprivileged sections of society.
KARUNA, our respite care centre was started alongside the school in 2001. First housed at a small building in Jayanagar (Bangalore) which it shared with the school, Karuna is now a full-fledged centre of its own. Here, we serve the most profoundly disabled adults in our community. A day at Karuna contains a mix of therapies and activities for physical and intellectual sustenance, as well as regular recreational breaks and team outings. Karuna cares for and engages those members of our community most likely to be confined to home, in the absence of a safe, affordable alternative for working caregivers, as well as those who need respite and quality time for their personal needs.
In 2005, SWAVALAMBANA, our Day Activity Centre was opened, to cater to adults who have moderate disability and can participate in directed activities.The differently-abled adults at Swavalambana continue to need care and training, in an environment that emphasises not merely productive work, but Activities of Daily Living, socialisation and recreation. At FAME, we believe that equipping persons with neurodevelopment disabilities to achieve economic independence is highly desirable, yet we are wary of making such independence a goal in itself. Our experience tells us that livelihood skills are a means to much more valuable ends—self-confidence, a more fulfilled life, as well as some reduction in economic stress especially for underprivileged families.
Our OUTREACH program serves the needs of special needs children in rural areas since 2016. So far, we have reached 21 villages and provided interventions to over 900 disabled children.