Rainbow Schools Charity Formed 2012

Rainbow Schools Charity Formed 2012

On 9th Oct 2012 I finally formed a company limited by guarantee for the charity to empower, educate and enable disabled and orphaned children in London and Northern India. :-)
A bank account has been set up and I have donated £200 to start the account.
Next step is to get a website started.
I am so excited!

Parent workshops at 8 centres in Northern India

Supported with training and parent workshops at 8 centres in Northern India.

A short video at “Disha” in sarsa.

Small Beginnings finally starting…

A dream being realised and coming true!
Very soon we will have our charity set up to raise awareness and funds for a special community, a Rainbow School in Punjab that will care for, educate and meet the needs of special needs children and orphans.

We have decided to begin this task NOW and raise awareness of the lack of services and care that this vulnerable group is subjected to. Even in orphanages, children are unclean, hair full of lice and unloved.
Gurleen, our special (needs) daughter has given us the inspiration to use the remainder of our lives for helping these children.
We will be going to India in October to look for support and meet other like minded people who are already in this field of work. Most importantly we will be looking for a suitable site for our community.
The vision for this community is:
A place where children can grow within a loving and caring environment that meets all their needs to live a full filling life to their full potential.
Join us to make this dream a reality.

Research Trip

Research Trip – Special Needs Provisions in India 2010

Visited the National Spastic Society of India in New Delhi and found out about the various schools that they knew about. Made links with centres that supported disabled children in Delhi.

Fact finding trip to India

Sandeep (my wife), Dilraj, Gurleen and I went on a fact finding trip to Punjab – essentially to find out what provisions were already available for children with special needs.

We stayed at PINGALWARA site at Mannawala near Amritsar for two days and had long discussions with Bibi Inderjit Kaur Ji (above photo), who heads the organisation started by Bhagat Puran Singh Ji.

We visited the hostels and schools for special needs children.

Dilraj has writen a detailed and moving account of her experience on her facebook wall – a worth while read that has brought tears to some people!

This is her account below.

Golden-TempleOn route to the Golden Temple, Amritsar, Mum, Dad, Gurleen and I spent time in Pingalwara. Pingalwara is a home for special needs children, unwanted children and unwanted elderly.

Although my visit was short it was very moving. The site is big and split up in hostels of; men, women, special and children. As well as hostels the plot also included a mainstream school (a school for ‘normal children’), deaf and dumb school and a special needs school.

Although many people, anywhere around the world, stare at Gurleen (my special needs sister), they do so more in India due to their lack of knowledge of special needs kids, they are not seen around india (they are killed/aborted or left at temples) So upon entering Pingalwara I felt people would not stare at gurleen … surely they must be used to seeing special needs children…but no…they were shocked to see her! Why? Because in Pingalwara the kids spend time in their hostels and don’t get out! They are understaffed and the effort it would take to take 50 kids out on a day trip for the lack of staff that have would be hard! My mum and I were in tears looking at the children, not stimulated and unclean. The ones that could walk instantly grabbed us and hugged us. They were fighting for our attention. Some of the children that were more able had a school to go to. The special needs school with the help of Manpreet (a previous volunteer and a friend) is good, although it is not used to its full potential.

Pingalwara-2009-hearing-impaired-kidsSpecial needs children are most affectionate, they see love in everything and everyone. They see the light in the dark. They are happy…an emotion ‘normal’ people spend a lifetime in search for. It makes you think…who is really the disabled person?

It made me emotional to think…’what if Gurleen was here?’ It made me grateful that my parents fought to make sure she was in a mainstream school, educating ‘normal’ children about special needs kids. Also the hardships we as a family would have gone through within a superstitious Indian society, had my grandparents not migrated to UK. In the Golden Temple a Nihang Singh said to my mum, “dip Gurleen in the water, she will get better.” If Gurleen wasn’t special I would not be the person I am today, she has taught me to love and see happiness in everything in life…my little sister has more to teach me in my young life. She does not need to get well…we do.

The girls in the girl’s hostel were orphans and deaf and dumb children aged 4 -19 years. They too were very affectionate. We asked them if they wanted to play games with us. The lady in charge of the girls hostel said ‘the deaf and dumb girls will not understand’ my dad and I said…’yes they will’. In fact they understood more than the orphans, they observe more than we do, they see things that we do not. Some deaf and dumb girls did not come and play…in my understanding I felt they thought ‘why would they want to become affectionate to people that are here one day and gone another?’ The young/little girls fought for my attention, one girl hit another to push her away from me.

We had a lot of fun playing ‘simon says’ and ‘duck duck goose’ Gurleen did not want to leave the girls, as we left to see the women’s hostel, Gurleen stayed to play with the girls. When leaving, a 4year old asked me, ‘Would you like to adopt me?’ I didn’t know how to react, all I could do was smile and hug her.

When entering the women’s hostel, which has elderly women ‘normal’ and special, the first thing that hit me was the smell, it smelt of urine. The hostel was over populated with women, it felt like I entered a women’s prison. A woman came up to me and accused me, ‘I saw you drop off your child at the girls hostel!’ referring to Gurleen as my daughter. I explained that she was my sister who stayed behind to play, but she didn’t believe me, and I didn’t blame her for thinking that either, I am sure she has seen parents doing that, it just sadden me.

We stayed in a guest house on site which was for volunteers, staff, Sona, Mona and Chertan. Sona and Mona are siames twins and Chertan suffered Polio and is paralised from waist below. The three of them are very cheeky and charming! Chertan although living seconds away from the special hostel was afraid of Gurleen, but eventually became fascinated by how we (my parents and I) loved Gurleen so much. In fact many of the people in Pingalwara (especially in the girl’s hostel) were amazed, almost as though they questioned: ‘how can these people love a special needs girl and our parents not love me when I am normal?’ Sona, Mona and Chertan are not in the boy’s hostel, the staff say because they need special attention, which is true, but I also felt that they are the ‘money makers’ of the site. People who don’t want an insight to the place but ‘want to do some good’ see them, are charmed and donate money. Which is not wrong, every charity needs money to sustain itself.

I respect the staff in Pingalwara greatly for their dedication to the site. But they lack training, Pingalwara are starving for volunteers that know how to stimulate the children. Pingalwara is improving, and I hope one day, like Manpreet, I can dedicate more of my time to attempt to improve the growth of Pingalwara.

Dilraj Kaur Paul