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The Hindu
The Hindu
Special Correspondent

A festive Onam for differently abled students

As Changathikoottam, an initiative of the Samagra Shiksha, Kerala, to help children receiving home-based education and mainstream them gets revived post-COVID-19, the Samagra Shikha, Thiruvananthapuram, has rolled out Onachangathi to gift these students a special Onam.

Changathikoottam was launched in 2019 to provide inclusive education to children who are bedridden and largely unable to attend regular school though they have enrolled themselves. Besides academic support through resource persons of the Samagra Shiksha, Kerala, Changathikoottam envisaged peer-group support to improve their social skills and bringing them into the mainstream.

As Changathikootam gets a fresh lease of life, the first programme planned by the Samagra Shikha, Thiruvananthapuram, is Onachangathi. Since August 30, differently abled students in the city and in rural parts of the district have been getting visitors. Classmates, teachers, PTA representatives, Samagra officials, people’s representatives have been visiting them bearing gifts. They not only bring warmth into the lives of the children, but also make their Onam special, be it through arranging an Onasadya, or a pookkalam in their room, or setting up a swing.

The programme is being organised as a convergence of various departments such as Health, Women and Child Development, Social Justice and others that work for children. This makes it possible to fulfil any requirements that the students may have with the support of other people and agencies involved. Samagra officials point out how a student at Vattapara who required a cerebal palsy chair was provided with assistance by the school PTA president recently or the National Health Mission proposed starting a mobile therapy unit in association with the city Corporation and the Samagra. Similarly, people’s representatives get an opportunity to meet such children and assist them in whatever way they can.

On Thursday, visits as part of Onachangathi were made to the homes of Advaith S., a student of NSS Higher Secondary School, Palkulangara, and Rakshitha, a student of Government Uppr Primary School, Nedumcadu.

The Onachangathi house visits will continue till September 6.

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