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A Maryknoll priest who established Nepal’s first day care centers for mentally handicapped children has returned to the country for a special program to help 12 young people take control of their education.
Hong-Kong based Father Adam Gudalefsky, 82, held the program from June 9-11 for the children from three day care centers in Kathmandu.
The program to help those with learning difficulties was held at the government-run Nirmal Bal Bikas center in Kathmandu.
“We have to learn to treat these special young people as adults and target the parents and the family as well, since they are the real teachers,” Father Gudalefsky told ucanews.com.
“We have been trying to empower young people with handicaps to learn to educate themselves in some 50 countries and over 300 schools or centers throughout Asia and beyond,” said Father Gudalefsky, who is also director of the Interaid charity for needy children.
Filipino Sister Concepcion Madduma of the Immaculate Heart of Mary congregation, who accompanied the priest, also conducted sessions for teachers on psychology and sex education.
“Four children from our center got the chance to prepare for adulthood by learning about their rights, responsibilities and hidden leadership qualities,” said Ganesh Parajuli a teacher at Navajyoti School.
Navajyoti was founded in 1979 by Father Gudalefsky and was Nepal’s first day care center for the mentally handicapped. It is now run by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.
“After arriving here on tourist visa in 1977, three other Maryknoll priests and I conducted the first survey on mental health in Nepal.
“In 1979, we reported to the government that 15 percent of the population had mental handicaps due to poor health facilities and insufficient diet,” Father Gudalefsky said.

Members of the SCN family work for justice, serve the economically poor, and care for the earth. You can join these efforts by offering financial support to Navajyoti School.
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