Sandesh means “message.” The message this organization wants to spread is of Love and Equality for all human beings—disregarding the ability. Sandesh is a community for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Registered as a Charitable Trust on 30th May 2008, it is a day care facility which aims at bringing happiness to the lives of all especially the most vulnerable ones of our society. Sandesh is registered under the Disability Act 1995. We have 80G, 12A (income tax exemption) and the FCRA certificate. We are an inter-religious community, a way of life where religion is not the factor that divides us.
An inclusive environment that leads to a dignified life for every individual with intellectual and developmental disability.
Create an inclusive environment that empowers all individual with intellectual and developmental disabilities by enhancing their abilities through various therapeutic activities, care and equal opportunities for a dignified life.
- Safety for all
- Inclusiveness and mutual respect
- Inter-religious community
Story behind setting up Sandesh
Sandesh has been a dream for many years with the mission of creating a community that empowers and dignifies intellectually disabled individuals. Sandesh was registered as charitable trust on 30th May 2008. The preparation journey took over two years until Dr Molly Abraham, founder of Liza home agreed to begin this mission at her vacant building in Lingarajapuram, which needed repair and renovation. Finally, we officially invited Shiva – 7 years and Priya – 10 years old with mental disability and no verbal communication to Sandesh on 8th September 2010. Number of disabled members reached to 15 within no time.
The initial idea of a residential home became a day care facility as the need for parents to leave their child in a safe environment as they go to their domestic work. With the help of local social workers, we came to know that many families who were locking their child with mental disability while going for work. It was hard for each parent, but this was the only option they could do for their child safety.
Sandesh became a ray of hope for many families. Most of them have been rejected from other homes and special school due to their poor financial background or with their severe disability. We welcomed all who needed care and support to grow to their potential with respect.
The community is founded upon simplicity and humbleness. We believe in humanity. The culture and inter-religious aspect of respecting all religion, their festivals and celebrations attracted many staff and volunteers from India and abroad. Soon the teams were blessed with many friends and well-wishers all over the world.
During all these years we have constantly re-located our centers to many places due to lack of infrastructure or the buildings were on sale. It was painful to re-locate each time as it takes lots of energy to find a suitable place and settle down. Even the members with disability have to go through a lot of insecurity and fear of losing the community and their friends. It was sad, with change in location we have lost many of our members.
Sandesh has introduced day care facility with physio, occupational, and other various therapies for severe and profound disabilities. Pre-vocational and vocational training is provided to people with mild and moderate disabilities to make hand-crafted products. In all these years, Sandesh has made an identity with the products in vocational unit and is able to work with many companies for their corporate gifting. The appreciation from friends and well-wishers encourage the community and the members to be more creative and productive. Sandesh’s dream of providing a dignified life to our members started stepping towards a reality. Our members above 18 years are paid for their work. This token of appreciation made them more independent and responsible at work and home.
All these years, Sandesh has taken many steps forward—made beautiful friendship around the world, celebrated life of each individuals, has been able to spread happiness to many, and has given them hope and desire to live. We have witnessed many success stories.
Journey so far
Sandesh got registered as a Charitable Trust on 30th May 2008. However, we started working actively from 2010. It is a project supported by friends and well-wishers. It is great to have friends who feel Sandesh is their own project and thus take responsibility by spending their time, providing resources, helping in the vocational unit, and celebrating their special days with us in the community. The resourceful people and professionals give their supports and impart skills in various sections of this community.
Sandesh supports individuals by imparting feeling of self-dignity and empowers them to grow to their fullest potential. Most of the members are coming from a poor background and with mental disabilities. We consciously made the decision that Sandesh will support for the care, therapies, and training of the members from poor economic background. Nutritious food is provided to all.
We start the program at 9:00 am and continue till 5:00 in the evening.
Sandesh members are diagnosed with the following different mental disabilities:
- Mental retardation (mild, moderate, severe and profound)
- Down syndrome
- Cerebral palsy
It has reached out to more than 200 families. Each of whom has received hope and courage to face the life with dignity and smile. This has been an incredible journey for us and we wouldn’t have achieved it without people’s support.
Total members with disabilities – 77
- Early intervention/outreach – 22
- Day Care for members with severe and profound disabilities – 16
- Pre-vocational unit – 7
- Vocational unit – 22
- Early education – 10
Total number of staff in various units – 24
- Early Intervention; Day care for members with severe and profound disabilities; Counseling; Therapies; Early education – 9
- Pre-vocational unit – 2
- Vocational unit – 5
- Driver – 1
- Cook – 1
- Housekeeping – 2
- Administration – 4
*Some specific support like Counseling and Administration is having part-time staff
Key accomplishments in 2018
New bus: We are happy to let you know we have been successful in getting a big bus for Sandesh. We thank all the friends who supported us. Now all our members can come and go back home together in a safe vehicle. This addition has helped us extend our work timing also.
Partnership with Dhwani Foundation: It has been one year now since we started working together with Dhwani Foundation. We have learnt a lot and I am happy to say that Sandesh has grown in making all the policies required for an NGO in place. We have upgraded ourselves in every way possible. This will surely support us to provide a better place for all members and staff at Sandesh.
Early intervention: Two staff members (Ms. Bibiana and Ms. Shaheena) were trained in early intervention. Both of them did a good work and now Sandesh is able to run the program well which focuses on children between age group of 0 – 8 years. Early detection of disability supports in minimizing the effect on the child. It also focuses on training the mother as well as supporting her and the family to accept the child who will be different and will need more care than the others. We are planning to focus more on this program in the coming years.
TCS 10K marathon: Sandesh took part for the second time in the TCS 10K and this time almost the whole community participated. We were so happy to be with thousands of other people running/walking together. It was a big awareness program for us. Thanking all the friends who supported us to be a part of this big event.
Speech therapy: Sandesh has partnered with Dr Chandrashekar Speech and Hearing Institute, and we now have regular speech therapy sessions in Sandesh. This has been a very important addition to our activities. This is very beneficial especially for our little ones.
First-aid training for all staff: It was an important training for all staff in Sandesh. This was organized by Dr Subramanian and Dr Deepa from Seventh Day Adventist Hospital. Everyone benefited from this training and this also helped us understand our members well. Thanks to both the doctors for giving their time and energy to Sandesh.
Medical camp: In August, a medical camp was organized in Sandesh by the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital. It was a complete check-up for all our members which was very beneficial.
Acupressure training/workshop: Georgina P., an expert in acupressure therapy in Bangalore, came to do a one-day workshop-and-training in acupressure for parents and staff at Sandesh. This was specially done for the children who are with severe and profound disability and with epilepsy. It was a beautiful day. Parents were very happy and looking for more such training sessions.
Splash painting day: A colorful day was organized by Concern India. Our members and staff were happy to join for this day and be a part of all the special schools and communities coming together for a fun day.
CCTV camera: Sandesh is fully under CCTV surveillance. This has helped us upgrade our safety measures.
Workshop on sanitary hygiene: RutuChakra NGO organized a day for training on hygiene. All female members of Sandesh attended this workshop and were benefited by it. It was good to see that everyone took it very seriously. Parents were also asked to join for this day. We are thankful to Ms Sanjana Dixit and friends who organized this day for Sandesh.
Visit of Mr. Bertrand Figarol: A good friend of Sandesh, Bertrand from France visited us in October for a couple of days. It was so nice to share our life with him. He has been a good support for all of us. We were lucky to have some time from him as he is very busy person. He has helped us in getting SFA (Sandesh Friends Association) in France. Thanking Bertrand for all his blessings and for journeying with us all these years.
Diwali work: Like every year, our work unit was busy in finishing all the orders for Diwali time—the corporate gifts items. Sandesh this time reached out to some new friends while our old friends continued to support us. This has been a big blessing for us to have work throughout the year. This festival of light is definitely giving life to us in many ways.
Picnic day: Thanks to Blue Jean Network for giving us yet another beautiful day. All of us had a day’s outing in Club Cabana. It was so good and relaxing after the hard work we all did during Diwali time. Thanking friends from Blue Jeans for all the love they continue to show us and making us feel special.
Volunteers and intern: We are happy to have with us volunteers and interns who come regularly to Sandesh and help us in spreading our message of love and equality.
This year too we had interns from Valley school. They all fill our life with happiness and energy.
We also had young MBA students from XIME Bangalore. They all were very helpful and enjoyed their time in Sandesh. We had volunteers from companies like Sapient, Harman, Cisco, Huron, and Anmol, as well. Each time they come, we make new friends.
Our overseas volunteer Lina Popp from Germany left after spending 6 months in Sandesh. We miss her. Hope she will be able to come and spend more time with us in future.
Heartfulness Meditation: Every Saturday, the staff team comes together for meditation. This is organized by volunteers from Heartfulness Meditation. This is a blissful time. It helps the team to relax and get recharged.
Christmas party: This year our Christmas party and annual function were very different. The Bangalore Football Turf (BFT) organized a beautiful day for us. All of us were invited to have a full day filled with fun and activities. This was a fundraising event for Sandesh. All the parents from Sandesh were invited to join. The parents and student of the Football school were also present. It was surely a great day. We thank the management for all their hard work and thoughts for Sandesh. We will be able to have a cutting machine for our Work Unit. This will make our work easy and professional.
Sandesh garden project: With the initial support of The Adhyapana Trust, we started our garden project. After that we were supported by two friends who helped us make it bigger and better.
With the support of Ms. Nupur Jain, we were able to cover a part of our terrace and make it a small green house. Ms. Ritu on the other hand, helped us connect with Make My Garden team and get good pots and plants to make our garden green. The project is coming up well. We have learnt a lot and did some good work during the festive season. Our members are happy to learn more and get involved.
Parents meeting: We had a good annual parents meeting. All parents were happy; some of them were concerned about the future of their child, while some were concerned about the behavior changes that continue to make life tough. It was good to give all of them a report of their children in Sandesh and the future goals. The parents also decided that they will come together and set up a Parents Association. This will be mainly a support system for the parents to work together as a team.
Early education: This is a new program/unit of Sandesh. Focusing on little ones, it imparts functional academics and life skills with the aim to enable them to join a special school. This unit is very organized and the members are with moderate and mild IQ levels. It is an important section as the child would get enough care and training at the right time and thus his or her future can be different. Goal setting is an important part of this unit. Working together with the parents is crucial as without the partnership of parents, the child will not grow and achieve the goals.
Strategic plan for next 3 years: Our plan is ready for the coming three years. This has been made after a lot of discussion and thinking. Our growth now will be having a definite path and this will make us more efficient. All people who are supporting us will be able to know what is happening in Sandesh and where are we heading to. Reporting and evaluations will be made better and effective.
Our future plans
Coming three years are very important. To focus on our strategic plan and build the quality of activities in the community.
- To have all staff with minimum wages as per the legal requirement from the government of India. This is an important step for Sandesh. This also means taking more responsibility.
- To make more partnerships for Sandesh with companies and bigger NGOs.
- To give more focus and time to fundraising and awareness program for Sandesh.
- To give regular evaluation and reporting to the donor.
- To organize regular staff training programs to ensure efficient and effective training and care in Sandesh for the members with disabilities.
- To aim for getting own premises for Sandesh by 2022.
- Invest in proper machinery for the Work Unit to be more efficient in making the products.
- To have good board members who will support Sandesh in overall growth.
- To work closely with Government.
Call to action
If you want to volunteer your time organizing or participating in special events or have an idea that can help promote the enrichment of our lives, Sandesh welcomes your involvement and ideas. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply give us a call @ +91 8147090019
No. 48/49, Ammani Byrathi Khane Village
HBR layout, Hennur Bande
Ph: +91 8147090019; +91 9845616049
*Inputs as provided by Mrs. Nupur Singh, Public Engagement Manager, Sandesh
To read this article in Hindi, click here
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