Asha Bhavan Centre

13 February 2015

Today was a fairly early start, but it certainly wasn’t as early as 5 am in Udayan anyway! We enjoyed a quick breakfast and were then greeted by a minibus to take us the Asha Bhavan Centre. This is a place that provides a home, medical treatment and education for mentally and physically disabled/differently abled children, particularly children affected by cerebral palsy and learning disabilities. Along the way, we saw lots of sights especially when we crossed the New Bridge that crosses the river Ganges (the river we visited yesterday).

When we finally made our way through the Indian traffic caused by the huge road works, we arrived at the Asha Bhavan Centre (ABC) which instantly put a smile on our faces. Outside the building there were lots of children welcoming us with small bouquets of red roses (Friday 13th February is Roses Day here). With our bouquets in hand we walked through the building up to the office are where we were given tea and information booklets about the amazing work that ABC does.

This was followed by a tour of the campus which began in the communal room where some of the children were playing and watching some cartoons. The children were so friendly and wanted us to hold their hands and take pictures, it was really lovely spending time with them. After this, we saw the physiotherapy room for babies and younger children and it was fascinating to see what methods were used to help the physical condition of these children. Next we went the dormitories and saw the long bed either side of the room that was used for many children. Again we met some really happy, friendly children. After this we were taken to the new wing, which held the classrooms for the children of all ages. We stared in the Pre-school classroom and made our way through the secondary and pre-vocational areas. We were able to see not only what activities the children do daily but meet some more of the amazing students and dedicated staff involved in ABC.

After a short but informative presentation, we were given lunch which was absolutely delicious! The highlight of the meal for most was the dessert, which was a rice pudding and a fried doughnut! We then saw a video which gave us more of an insight into how the ABC can have a massive impact in the wider community. The Orthopaedics Department was next where we were shown how they make the support braces for those with conditions affecting their feet, legs and hands. They then showed us the vocational and art and crafts areas and we were allowed to buy small gifts made by the children and young adults at ABC.

By this time it was mid-afternoon and we were brought into the communal room where everyone was sat ready on the floor awaiting the celebration prepared by some of the children. This included dances and a recitation of the poem called ‘Children’. It was a fantastic surprise! What was more unexpected was that we had to perform for the children too which resulted in an organised version of Doe a Deer from the Sound of Music. With an emotional and heart wrenching goodbye, we made our back to the Fairlawn.

Back at the hotel we waited for the men from the market stall where we bought our Indian (mufti) outfits who were definitely running on ‘Indian time’ so we had dinner in the meantime! We then tried on our outfits when they turned up, and we had a very cheesy and hilarious photo-shoot. We are definitely ready to go for Monday night, to wear our outfits for the children at Udayan as we perform at another celebration of the fantastic impact of these centres! We are now ready for bed and for our next experience in Kolkata…

Comments:

12 and 13 Alban

@ 944 days ago

Hello Udayan Team ,

We are all hoping you are having a great experience and we are awaiting for your safe return , which may be hard as we can imagine you never would want to leave. Just like to say on behalf of Alban a hello to Finn which we are certain is representing St Joan Of Arc and Alban to the best of his ability. We are looking forward to hearing about your amazing time at Udayan when you return by sharing your stories of the people you met and photos of your time there.
You are in our prayers , best wishes
from 12 and 13 Alban

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