Welcomed With Open Arms!

Krysta, Josina, Madison, Sara and I are settling in nicely at Samuha. The students bought their traditional Indian dress  (selwar kameez) in Bangalore and had them tailored by a friendly man at his house they somehow found in a back alley.

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Krysta, Madison, Josina, and Sara at Shree Gavisiddeshwara Jatre

That night we took the overnight train from Bangalore to Koppal and were graciously greeted by Hampanna (Assistant Director) and the Samuha staff with flowers and a hot breakfast. Samuha is a very peaceful and beautiful place. The sun is shining, the sunsets and sunrises are breathtaking, and the people are the kindest I have ever met.

Samuha is an incredible place! They have so many successful projects and initiatives that it deserves a separate post. Before coming here I heard a lot about the early intervention centre and the spinal cord injury centre. But, I have quickly come to realize that those initiatives only scratch the surface of what Samuha does and how many people they help. This includes rehabilitation, training for teachers, to helping persons with a disability find meaningful employment.

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Overnight train from Bangalore to Koppal
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Overnight train from Bangalore to Koppal
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Overnight train
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Welcomed with open arms!

In the afternoon I was invited to attend a ceremony where Samuha received the State of Karnataka award for best centre for people with a disability. The award is extraordinary because typically in India you have to apply to receive such a prestigious award. Samuha did not apply, they were recognized by the government for the outstanding work that they do here.

Hampanna included me in the ceremony and thanked the Samuha Overseas Development Association (SODA) and all of the Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Nurses, and students who have come to Samuha in the past to help make it what it is today.

After the ceremony Hampanna explained:

“It is because of all of the stakeholders that we have achieved such success. This program does not belong to one group. If all of the stakeholders take the program as their own, together we will achieve even more. Although we are separated from SODA by distance, we come together for a common goal. Send my thank you to everyone at SODA and all of the professionals and students who have come before.”

Today, we spent the day in the early intervention centre (EIS) with Prabhaker, the CBR worker in charge of the centre. We saw children with Cerebral Palsy, Developmental Delay, and Orthopaedic conditions. We feel very fortunate to be able to learn from such a competent and experienced therapist.

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Prabhaker and his daughter (Left) with Ayyallappa (Right)

Upcoming posts to look forward to:

Students’ First Impressions

Shree Gavisiddeshwara Jatre Festival

Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Worker profiles

and many more!

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