WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
This rehabilitation centre for disabled children aims to provide corrective surgery, rehabilitation and support. Children coming to the centre suffer from various illnesses, diseases and disorders and considerable time is required from all staff to care for them. Club foot and bow legs are one of the most common issues and there are a number of departments set up to correct and rehabilitate children, making an enormous impact on their lives.
The centre runs day care for about 12 severely handicapped children whose parents have to work and cannot care for them. They also care for a small number of mentally challenged children, although limited resources and staff mean that they cannot take more than a few children with mental difficulties as they need specialist attention and long term care.
There is also a small ‘school’, which does not follow the standard syllabus but gives these children the opportunity to keep up with their education to some extent. Classes are totally mixed as children’s levels vary considerably.
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
Your work programme will be tiring and challenging but deeply fulfilling. You will help in the day-to-day care of the children within the centre as well as assisting with procedures and rehabilitation. You will provide vital support to specialist staff and be able to give the children the attention and care they need.
If you come from a specialised field, such as occupational therapy or special needs teaching, you will be able to work in a relevant department. Otherwise, you will be able to gain experience working throughout the centre, interacting with the children, possibly teaching, arranging games and activities and helping out with day to day duties.
Having volunteers at the centre also enables children to get more one to one attention, which can be truly amazing for them, as staff frequently see quiet or withdrawn children totally open up in the course of a couple of weeks.
Volunteers also usually have the opportunity to take part in the mobile clinic which conducts visits and outreach work in the local community.
The centre managers are keen to have more volunteer support and one said that "if volunteers are focused and use their initiative they will find themselves with their hands completely full here, as there is much to be done. We have a programme that will keep them on their toes!"