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Lebenshilfe School

Volunteering in Visakhapatnam

By Karen Nave

This past summer I had the privilege to volunteer at Lebenshilfe School run by Saraswathi Devi in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India. Lebenshilfe is a school and hostel for over 400 students and adults with varying degrees of cognitive delay. About 100 of the students live on site during the school session. I was there to work with staff on programming and brainstorming for children with the more severe disabilities and multiple handicaps. We had weekly workshops on Saturdays and discussed communication styles, goal planning in diverse groups, low-cost/no-cost materials, and using games and activities in the classroom. The staff was warm, welcoming and receptive to new ideas. I learned as much from them as they did from me. The children were delightful and the staff was kind and helpful. India has a rich, unique culture and a different reality than rural Montana and it became quite apparent that we take much for granted in the US that cannot be assumed elsewhere in the world. It was an experience I would not trade for anything, and I intend to continue to volunteer anywhere I might be helpful as often as I can.

Anyone who is considering volunteering through our Volunteer Service Project is welcome to contact me for additional information:

Thanks for the GIVING Funds

By Sarah Devi

All of us at Lebenshilfe in Visakhapatnam, India, would like to thank IASE for being so very generous and providing GIVING funds to help our program. Thus far, money has been provided to purchase supplies for the Token Shop, to purchase new sewing machines, repair older sewing machines and purchase cloth and sewing class items. The students are very happy with the Token Shop. Marg Csapo is to be given credit for the idea. It has truly evolved into a place that all the students want to visit. The teachers are involved by awarding tokens to students who accomplish their tasks in an outstanding manner. During the daily closing session, the students are honored, called to the front of the ceremony, and awarded the tokens. The big smiles on their faces tell the whole story. They are proud of their accomplishments and thrilled that they can go to the token shop to use their tokens. Items range from small snacks, school supplies, little toys, hair ribbons, etc. Four new sewing machines were given to us. Plus 12 older machines were repaired and we received cloth to be used for the students to sew items. They were very excited to be able to sew items such a new pajamas. These were loved so much that a few students showed up the next morning ready for school...wearing their new pajamas!

THANKS to all of you at IASE...we appreciate your kindness and have truly made a difference at Lebenshilfe.

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