Awards are what line the offices of Asha Deepam in the city of Trichy. This school has caught the attention of many for it’s fine work in teaching and developing skills for children with mental disabilities. Under the direction of SCNs Sabina Mattappallil and Elsy Vettickal, Asha Deepam helps children earn respect and build self-esteem for their diversity and special abilities.
The students come from many different backgrounds with varying degrees of intellectual and physical disabilities. A. Sindhu, — in South India, the first initial is frequently a family name assigned to every member of a family — has been at Asha Deepam for nine years. At birth her mother suffered from a mental breakdown and was unable to care for her. Her father had left the family just before she was born. Sindhu was left with her aunt and uncle.
At the age of eight Sindhu came to Asha Niwas and quickly became a star student. She excelled at her work as well as sports. She plays in a variety of athletics including volleyball and handball.
Now Sisters Sabina and Elsy will have to make room for yet another award in the school office. Sindhu will be heading to Athens, Greece, in June, 2011, to compete in the Special Olympics World Summer Games. She will represent India on the handball team.
A remarkable feat for such a young woman, left all alone at birth. With the help of her aunt and uncle and the guidance of the Sisters and staff at Asha Deepam, she has risen to greater heights than just her small village life in Trichy.
The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth can be proud of the work at Asha Niwas and even more proud of the children and the lives they are leading. Especially Sindu, the third special olympian from the school.
Spalding Hurst is the communications specialist with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. He is currently traveling with the SCNs throughout India — learning first hand about their ministry work, helping to connect through technology the global SCN Community, and recording the stories of the Sisters in India.