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Nirmala MenonOn the face it, she probably has no real reason for being there. Nirmala Menon ('Nimmi' is what they call her) works on a part-time basis with the Management Development team at IBM and has an 8-year-old daughter who is a normal child. So, what makes this able-bodied, young lady spend 2 hours of her precious time, twice a week at the Spastics Society and lend a helping hand?

"I think I live a very comfortable life compared to other people I see around me and so I felt I ought to give whatever little I could back to society," says Nimmi. But why choose Spastics Society? Why not, for instance, School for the Blind or some other institution or work in a slum, perhaps? "Could have been anything. I was looking for something to do and the fact that I've been here many years ago, I sort of chose this place" she replies. Six years ago, Nimmi spent 2 months at the Spastics Society of Karnataka then left to work with ONGC and then to Temple University in Philadelphia to complete her MS in Management. She came back, worked for a few years and then when she chose to settle down in Bangalore, the idea of spending time here struck her. "That memory still stayed and I remember I learnt a lot. Initially I was very uncomfortable at the though of being with special children. I liked the way the teachers were treating the children which was so normal," she adds. Though her heart breaks so many times when she sees certain things, she's grown more comfortable being there. Basically, Nimmi helps out with a whole lot of things. She reads for them, she writes for them, she helps in making educational aids, make charts, scribe for them and so on. She's so well entrenched with these kids that at times she misses the pleasant welcome of 'Good Morning, Nimmi Aunty' from them. "Something you don't get anywhere else," says Nimmi.

Now, we did mention earlier, Nimmi has no real reason to be here. We ask her and she replies, "When I see these children I find myself grounded a little more in reality. Because otherwise we live in a world and kind of make a big hue and cry over nothing really." And deep inside probably there's this feeling that investing a bit of her time here wont dent her life and if it brings cheer and joy in someone else's life, so be it.

JaishreeSome parents turn volunteers. Like for example Mrs. Thilothamma, who has been coming in with her daughter for the last 4 years. Around that time there was need for volunteers, so she offered to help. "In any class, anywhere they wanted to, I helped around. But from last June, I'm helping children in the computer section. Every day I'm learning a lot working with these children," she says. It was monotonous to just hang around most part of the day and that got a bit boring. She had the necessary computers skills and decided to put that to good use. Jaishree is another volunteer echoing similar sentiments as the others. She's had Kindergarten training and at the Spastics Society she helps out four days a week with the kids in Playgroup. "Every day is a new experience," says Jaishree who loves coming here. "We have different programs suited to their physical and mental abilities and I work according to that."

Volunteers such as Nimmi, Mrs. Thilothamma and Jaishree are a committed lot. They may have minimal training, but let's not forget that they are mothers too. So, their role is pretty significant. The fundamental issue is that such community participation creates awareness and goes a long way in offering invaluable emotional and practical support.

Give them their rights...
They can! if given a chance...
Spastics Society of Karnataka...
"He's extremely brilliant"...
They make it happen...
Help boost their self-esteem...
Grounded in reality...
Making a point or two...
What's it like as a parent...

"For me it's a Mission..."
Meet Mrs. Rukmini Krishnaswamy
Director, The Spastics Society of Karnataka

Buy from a range of interesting products made by Spastic children.

They Help...
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."
Corporates such as MindTree Consulting, Hindustan Level Limited, the Tata Trust, Smith, Kline and Beecham, TNT Worldwide, The Rotary Clubs and a host of other companies, organizations and individuals have come forward to help children, in some form or the other.
One such organization that's a passionate supporter of the Spastics Society is MindTree Consulting. Rather than commission reputed advertising agencies to design their corporate identity, the 'think-tank' of MindTree conducted a creative workshop at the Spastics school and one of the art works submitted by a student, K.S. Chetan, (Click Here) turned out to be the most powerful visual identity of recent times. The MindTree logo was born.
MindTree went a step ahead. Their corporate headquarters in Basavangudi is a riot in colour. They bought paintings done by the children from the Spastics Society of Karnataka, had them digitized and these colourful blow-ups can be found in each of the six floors at MindTree House 3. (Click Here)
Each year, MindTree buys a variety of handcrafted products from the Sheltered Workshop Unit, SAATH-SAATH. In their own small way, MindTree always reaches out to these children.

 
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