By Ashish Hussain
On a recent trip to India during July 2018, I had the opportunity to visit SESTAA’s Early Intervention Center in Goalpara (Assam) when one of its weekly outreach camp was held.
Having known about SESTAA’s work with early intervention for children with special needs, as I made my way to the camp, I was filled with curiosity and hope, expecting to see something wonderful going on there.
Getting to meet the children, and their parents sharing the challenges of attending to and caring for the needs of these children was a humbling experience. It was inspiring to see the therapists skillfully attending to each child, diagnosing their problem and then performing remedial measures, all the while keeping the child’s parents/caretakers engaged about the importance of continuity of those remedial measures and how that can be performed at their homes too. There were many children who had been coming to the camp for weeks and months and it was amazing to hear the conditional improvement happily described by their parents.
Outreach of the camp is incredible, with children coming there from as far as 150 kilometres south and 100 kilometres north. Close to 600 children have attended the camp since its inception few years ago, and the Center Coordinator happily announced that more than 250 are now attending regular schools and in some cases, special schools. By the time the camp wrapped up for that day more than 40 children were attended to.
As I left the camp, I was overcome with sadness for the children, but that was soon overcome by appreciation of the courage shown by these children and their parents, and the hope provided to them by SESTAA’s camps.
“Sestaa”, as the word itself implies, tries to make a positive influence on these children and their parents, and hopes they themselves keep up their “Sestaa” (try) towards a fulfilling life.