I walked into the classroom where the children use specialised equipment to help mobilise stiff muscles and Satheeswari was on the bicycle machine. It's one of the reasons why going back is so exciting - meeting children that you met a year back and seeing the progress they have made. Meet Satheeswari...
I remember that in November 2015, we'd not long had the equipment for our disabled children. It had been specially made and had taken ages to come. When I saw Satheeswari on the bike, I wondered how long she might last. The question was answered quickly - 2 minutes. Already, she wanted to get off, her legs couldn't move the pedals, it was hard, she had very little strength and I could see she just wasn't interested at all. When I walked into the room this time however, she was already on the bike... peddling away, not a care in the world. No one was helping her and the teachers had to ask her twice to get off the machine so that someone else could go. Ok, so let's be fair, it's been a year and a half since my last trip, of course you'd expect some element of progress, but I couldn't help wonder, if I would have made the same amount of progress over that period of time.
The other thing I couldn't help notice about Satheeswari is that her personality had changed. When I'd met her before in 2015, she kept her head down, wasn't interested in talking, looked like she just wanted to go to sleep. This time, I couldn't help but notice a sparkle in her eye, and she was talking more. The teachers stood her infront of a poster in the room and pointed to different modes of transport which she was able to identify. I was beginning to wonder if she only knew them in that order when the teacher started pointing at another poster of flowers quite randomly, and again, she was able to mumble something that resembled what the teacher had pointed at. I was impressed, but more than that - excited!
To see pictures of some of the other children, click on their names in the 'cloud' below!