When a parent gives birth to a child jointly, he or she is normally ‘special’ to the rest of the world. The importance of a child has never been exchanged for anything. But the parents’ struggle with the child becomes the most difficult when they are called ‘special’ in medical terms. Special children or specially capable children, no matter how special their parents are to their family and even to a whole part of this world, even today a class of people have not been able to take the thought out of their minds. Not specially capable, but gradually becoming naturally capable; All it takes is a little companionship, proper therapy or training and much more patience.
In the heart of Kolkata itself, a rehabilitation center called ‘Sangya‘ is trying to bring such children back to a normal life. The fifth anniversary function of ‘Sangya’ was held on 17th May 2021. Due to COVID-19 pandemic situation, this year’s event had to be done virtually. Prof Dr. Somnath Sarkar of Rajabazar Science College was present as a guest, and also health & lifestyle blogger Srikona Sarkar was also present in this programme. The entire program was conducted by Mrs. Mitalee Nandi, President of this organization. Regarding the activities of Sangya, Mitalee Devi told, “Sangya was born suddenly. It was as if there was a sudden wish in the mind. Our aim is to make the child the companion of the parents in the form of Sangya. ‘Sangya’ was born on May 17, 2016. 5 children came in her lap at starting of this organization. Today, about 35 children are included in Sangya family. From Canning in South 24 Parganas to Kolkata Howrah and even from Jamshedpur, children are coming to Sangya, we are really overwhelmed, blessed. In addition, members of Sangya went to various NCC camps and tried to explain the current CADETS so that the rate of obstruction is reduced. Here is an attempt to teach to inspire a competitor to learn from the company of people. In addition to those who have been with Sangya since its inception, such as vice president Ravi Vaswani, Special Members Kuntala, Kashmira, Syllvester, Sagar, Mita Madam, Sangya has been able to bring these children back to a new healthy life.”
The Children of ‘Sangya’ participated in the program fluently. The names should be mentioned those of them, Bihan Banerjee, Adrit Roy have been suffering from autism since birth, but have returned to normal life through proper training, counseling and therapy. Another member, Oendri Ghoshal, suffered from cerebral pulsy, but her presentation makes it clear that the black cloud has cut from her life. Kanishka Dey, mentally retarded, but the news channels at her fingertips. Inspired by the work of Red Volunteers during this pandemic crisis. So as per Red Volunteers’ activities, make her mother’s symbolic fever and fed her water, food and even medicine. Arnab Das is the one whose journey of Sangya remains incomplete without mentioning it. Arnab is suffering from multiple disorders, he has autism, mental retardation, clinical blindness. He has been taking regular training since the birth of Sangya, and recited a whole poem. Mitalee Devi, the head and president of the organization, has been working for many years with specially abled children. Coming here, she is handling the training, therapy and counseling of the children by herself Has become their another mother.
I talked to the parents who brought their children by Sangya. They told a long story of their experiences and struggles.
Oendri’s mother Bidisha Ghoshal said, “My daughter had 90% disability, so normally the various parts of the body could not move properly. Before the therapy and classes by Sangya, my baby could not stand properly when we went. She used to do therapy with things. As a result, she tries to come and work on her own and overcomes her own fears when she comes. She could not see with her eyes when she was so little, that too is right when she comes Couldn’t connect with anyone, got a different family by Sangya. From Vellore to NIMHANS in Bangalore, we have traveled everywhere for her treatment. She is still undergoing treatment in Vellore. According to her, Sangya is not a classroom, but a playground. Get well soon. Right now she does everything alone, starting to eat by Own hand. I didn’t think that good days would come in our life like this. Inspired by my Mitalee ma’m, I started doing B.Ed in Special Education myself, to better understand these problems.”
Sarthak’s mother Jhinuk Mukherjee’s experience is a little different. Reminiscing about the first day, she said, “We were in Switzerland at the time, Sarthak was just three years old, a German doctor said my son had autism, he had 20 special features of autism. The disease was completely unknown to us . He is undergoing treatment. Then we returned to Kolkata for a check-up and was treated at NIMHANS in Bangalore and Karnataka. Even today my son does not need any medicine, where as therapy is still going on. Then come back to Kolkata and brought him to Sangya, its being four years in Sangya. The behaviour of Mitalee Ma’m, her patience, affection, motherhood, simple therapy has made Sarthak much more normal. He sings the songs very good from a young age, plays the piano, recites the poem very good, Sangya has created the confidence in him. I would like to mention that, this condition of the children greatly affects the marital life of the husband and wife, and the child can understand this complication about the parents very well. So keep your relationship simple, keep it good, it will make them better even more. We have no idea how sensitive he is. Patience is what mothers need most in this difficult fight.”
Ayan’s father Shuvendu Mondal shared his experience, he said, “Ayan was first treated in Peerless Hospital for about two years. Then he was brought to Sangya. Sometimes as a friend, sometimes as a teacher or as a mother Mitalee ma’m taught him everything.”
Rikta Biswas, a resident of Jamshedpur, has only six months of experience. After three months of face-to-face therapy, I now rely on online counseling. Her twin son Rishi & Riddhi has come to Sangya to bring back to a healthy life. “My sons were overly hyperactive. One could read and one could write,” she said. In Sangya’s therapy classes, they are treated with wrapping therapy and hugging tightly, so that the nerves are activated. In just one and a half months, they became very normal. I am their mother, Mitalee ma’m is like my mother.”
One couldn’t talk, one couldn’t walk. In most cases the disability is emotional. Even today society calls these children ‘abnormal’ or ‘crazy’. But with proper therapy, counselling and a little empathy, they are getting back to normal. ‘Sangya’ is showing the direction of a new path with the touch of motherhood. Parents are joining in the way of tying up. Everyone here is a friend, a walking companion.