The birth of a child in a family is usually welcomed with great joy and expectations, but this happiness slowly disappears as they learn about the disabilities of the child. No matter what disability, the parental reaction takes a different course in time. The dependency of the child on the family is the most important factor in the process of accepting the child with their abnormality. Most of the parents find it too difficult to accept a special child into the family, due to several reasons such as economic status, lack of time and patience, embarrassment or marital stability.
“This is where Riya comes into picture as a helping hand for these families and children. We like our kids to live life like we did or better than us. Every kid deserves to play and study with all the other kids. But we understand that raising a special child could be a handful, and it could be even scarier to raise a child with physical disability. When you don’t know what to do, who to call for help, where to start, which way to look or just runaway. All parents ask for is a miracle that they would just become normal and start walking and be independent.”
RIYA Foundation started with the goal of keeping in mind the hurdles of people with special needs and their parents. Riya Hope Farm is currently located at Kulshekar in Mangalore, India. It aims to be an integrated place to normalize lives by providing comprehensive care. The objective is to make available a long-term variety of non-time-limited housing. The center provides residential homes, individualized services, care, rehabilitation, education and training.
What Riya offers is not a miracle cure but an opportunity to live life again. The more effort a child puts in, the better control they’ll have on their mind and body. In most cases a child’s condition is due to malnutrition at early stage. Riya provides a facility for these kids where they can live a healthier life. They have strict-diet workshops to teach them how to deal with different scenarios in life. Physical and psychological therapies by trained professionals meet their mental needs.
Working with special children coming from financially-backward families means that schooling, uniforms, teaching aids, accommodation with healthy and hygienic food and trained staff becomes a huge challenge. It’s not only run with the intention of stabilizing the disabled but also to provide them an opportunity to work. Riya Foundation is looking at empowering them to be like us.
The only thing Riya Foundation wants to ensure is that these children are not banished from their families (which is common in poor families). We’re also willing to take care of the kids for life. We ensure they’re trained in simple tasks ensuring he or she can earn a living doing things like photocopying or working at restaurants or coffee shops.
In the future, Riya Foundation plans to invest in better learning aids, an upgraded training center with better teaching aids, cots and bunker beds, basic gym equipment for daily exercising and many more things to benefit the children. With lack of government support and awareness, funds to meet day-to-day needs become difficult.
A parent feels proud when their child reads a book or draws a painting. So imagine what a special child’s parent would feel when they see their kids do what normal kids do. If this small gesture can put a smile on these faces, then so be it. I want to see the kids smile, walk with pride and not be teased for a disability. -