ABVK, (Adarsha Bal Vikas Kendra) is a school for physically and mentally handicapped children in Banepa, a small town about twelve miles east of Kathmandu, Nepal. The school is run by Mani Shrestha and has about 45 children and older students with severe learning difficulties and physical handicaps. The Juniper Trust has helped support their work and has raised money for a new physiotherapy unit. The aim of the physiotherapy programme is to help children with mental and physical difficulties to have a better quality of life, one that will require minimum support from their parents in the future. The benefits of the programme will be many. As well as gaining improved mobility through targeted exercising, by visiting the school, children who rarely, if ever, leave their homes will get to socialise with others and be part of a group. An important rule of the programme is that parents must be present when the physiotherapist works with their child. It is expected that eventually the parents will take over, enabling the physiotherapist to work with more and more children.
The school also works as a drop in centre for local children offering regular pre-school classes which have so far been attended by 114 children, 54 of which have progressed sufficiently to join standard schools in the area. ABVK also has a thriving physiotherapy unit which looks after 105 children with physical disabilities and supports young adults with disabilities by helping them produce local handicrafts to generate their first income. It also offers a counselling service for parents.
The Juniper Trust would like to thank Cotswold Outdoors for a £2,500 donation, which was an enormous help for this project when it first began. Then in 2012, JT donated £1900 for a new generator, staff training and a year’s salary for an assistant. In 2013, Angela Davies from KE Adventure visited the school and reported good progress. A total of 24 children and adults (11 male and 13 female) had recently received physiotherapy and counselling; their problems included burns, clubfoot, muscular dystrophy, Down’s syndrome and several more debilitating illnesses. Some of the children/adults have progressed to walking with/without support, sitting without support, controlling the head, body balancing, giving response, moving hands and legs, jumping, and kicking a ball, which helps relieve joint pains. A further £2000 was sent to ABVK in October 2013, which will go towards more badly-needed training of their staff.
The implications of the innovative work of this little school will be immense and the medical department of Kathmandu University are taking an interest in the project as an example of best practice. Donations towards the running of the programme or the replacement of resources will be gratefully received.