Whispers of hope, photo essay by Abhishek Nandy
[A]s we moved inside the big hall, there were stares all around. We could sense a feeling of anxiety and fear on the faces and people getting restless; we were strangers. So it took us a while to get familiar and be friendly with them, and no later we offered them some chocolates we were greeted with the most beautiful smiles by these beautiful souls.
We were at the ‘day care centre for the mentally challenged’, a NGO managed by Mr. Babu Rao, an employee of Tata steel, at Jamshedpur, along with the parents (of the mentally disabled) as their members.
The centre has 25 children (both boys and girls) who suffer from four types of disabilities – autism, cerebral palsy, multiple disabilities and mental retardation. These children are engaged in different types of physical activities and singing. They are also taught and engaged in different types of candle making so as to help them generate some income and make them self-reliant. Children earn a stipend of Rs.20 per day (Rs.600 per month) for their services. These candles are later on sold in shops, school meals and in trade fairs.
The Centre is a boon to these differently abled souls; the aim here is to provide a healthy and proper care to the mentally challenged people, to understand the difficulties faced by them in carrying out their day to day activities in life and help them overcome the same, as there is a saying ‘Hope is being able to see that there is light despite of all the darkness.’ (Abhishek Nandy)