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Himabindu Chitta /
Swayamkrushi was started in 1991 by Manjula Kalyan as a home for mentally-disabled girl children. Since then it has grown into a widely-acknowledged institution and a brand name in itself. Today, there are homes for both girls and boys, as well as an old-age home, a home for destitute women, and more others.

Unlike other institutions that follow the "residential hostel" model, Swayamkrushi has established a new and successful model of caring for the mentally retarded - keeping them in a homely household atmosphere. The "Swayamkrushi girls" live in rented homes near the main Institute building, where they learn to do household tasks by themselves. There is one caregiver for every 4 girls, and a set of 8 girls with their 2 caregivers live in each house. These caregivers are themselves destitute women who have been trained to look after mentally-challenged individuals.

After a period, the mentally-challenged girls learn to perform routine tasks very well, and even seek employment outside as domestic workers or Food World staff. While working independently boosts their self-esteem, the experience of living alongside "normal" neighbours who interact with them helps them cope with the mainstream of society and not be intimidated by it. Kalyan feels that keeping the girls in isolation inside an institute does not help their condition. Treating them as normally as possible is the best way, she feels, to help them become self-reliant.

The education of the girls is taken care of by Special Educators who operate in the Swayamkrushi building itself. The girls (and now boys as well) come to the Swayamkrushi Institute every morning to attend classroom teaching sessions. Both practical knowledge (reading the time, depositing money in a bank) and vocational training (carpentry, tailoring etc.) are provided.

Membership And Volunteer Opportunities
Sponsoring a single child's educational and other expenses is the best way for the community to contribute. People who would like to be more involved could even develop a personal bond with a child of their choice, and come visit him or her.

If you own a house in the Karkhana area, you could give it to Swayamkrushi on a rent-free basis for its use. Alternately, you could offer to take care of the house rent for a single Syamankrushi home.

Also, the organization takes in small work orders for assembling cardboard cartons, packing objects and so on. You could encourage your company to outsource such work to Swayamkrushi. And donating old clothes, books and other household objects is always an option.

For further details, please contact Manjula Kalyan at the numbers given.
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