Thursday January 23, 2020
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A ‘Destination’ for your special child

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image: time.com

Guwahati: The story starts ten years ago, when a mother ran around from one school to another with her autistic child, in the hope of getting an admission. Unfortunately, she had to face rejection or the cold shoulder from almost all the schools in Guwahati.

She then promised to herself that no mother should suffer the way she did and that’s the reason she started Destination, a home for children with special needs. Beginning in 2005 with one inmate, Destination has, over the years, grown to accommodate 75 children with special needs so far and evolved as a trusted destination for parents having children with special needs.

“My son Rishi, who was suffering from cerebral palsy and autism, was just 12 years old when we came to know that his condition is not going to improve and that he will need special care for his entire life.

“We have already consulted different doctors across the country and the reply was the same from everywhere. However, back in Guwahati when I took him to the schools for admission, most of them not only refused admission as he is a child with special needs but even their response was not good,” said Rupa Hazarika, who started the novel “Destination” initiative in 2005 to shelter, education and care for children with special needs.

“Rishi was the first inmate of Destination. We started this residential facility in June 2005 and in the first year itself got about 20 inmates. Now we have 75 inmates and Destination has become the most trusted place for parents like me. Even now, we are getting lots of requests from parents to admit their children but due to space constraints we have not been able to extend our seats,” the 42 year old Hazarika told IANS.

Hazaika, who lost her husband in 2009, later completed a Diploma in Special Education, learning more about the care to be provided to these children and trained up all her staff so that best of the care can be given to the children.
Although initially started as a center for children with special needs, Hazarika soon had to admit adults.

“Till we started Destination, there was no such organization or shelter home for these children. Actually, people were not much aware about children with special needs. There is a general tendency to neglect them often terming them mentally retarded.

“Initially, we started this as a school for these children, but later we registered it as a NGO,” Hazarika said, adding that Destination, run with assistance by the Assam government’s social welfare department, also gets funds from the central government and donations from well-wishers and the corporate sector.

The residents are both males and females and they are aged between four and 70 years. “An inmate died recently at the age of 80. The number of minors is 41. The inmates include some who were ditched and dumped by their families. Every time the police here come across a mentally-challenged without an address, they take him or her to Destination,” Hazarika said, adding that the number of inmates has been going up and it is a matter of worry as they cannot keep more people in the same complex.

“A few years ago, the Assam government had selected 15 NGOs like us to shelter these children and people with special needs. We were assigned the Kamrup and Morigaon districts. However, we have been writing to the government to give us some land so that we can have one more complex to house more people. However, nothing was done in this regard,” said Hazarika, who has turned her own house into Destination.

Apart from taking care and giving love to the inmates, the center trains them in basic computer-application, paper bag-making, hankie embroidery, envelop-making, making greeting cards and the like. It has 27 staff, including special educators, caretakers and trainers. A psychiatrist periodically visits the center and if any inmate falls sick, he or she is taken to the government-run Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.

“Not all of them can learn. We train those who are found fit for it. I spend my time with them to ensure that they are properly taken care of. We celebrate all festivals and they take part in each of them,” Rupa said.

“The children with special needs normally face discrimination at home from their parents. Most of the parents are not aware about their needs and they ignore them due to ignorance. This is the major problem,” Hazarika noted.

“I have started the journey in 2005 and I have been learning about these children since then. It’s really great to live a life with them and on each of them I see my son,” Hazarika concluded. (IANS)

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Balmain East: Then and Now

Balmain East has changed from a working-family suburb to a thriving busy area. Balmain East has changed from a working-family suburb to a thriving busy area

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Balmain
If you’re looking for some time away from the hustle and bustle of the city life in Sydney, Balmain is just a 10-minute drive away. Wikimedia Commons

Located just 6km west of Sydney’s city centre, perched on a peninsula in Sydney Harbour, Balmain cemented itself primarily as the home of working families. It has a strong industrial background and was the home to coal mines, shipbuilding, metal foundries, boiler making and engineering.

 Governor Hunter granted 550 acres to colonial surgeon William Balmain in 1800 and from then on, the first settlement of the Balmain peninsula was slow due to the lack of transport to the area. However, it’s now easily accessible by car, public transport and even by a ferry crossing.

Beyond Sydney

 If you’re looking for some time away from the hustle and bustle of the city life in Sydney, Balmain is just a 10-minute drive away. You will definitely want to visit the area, so be sure to compare car rentals in Sydney to find your perfect vehicle.

 The area is charming and well known for its numerous pubs and friendly village atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to while away the time with peaceful walks, a spot of shopping and tasting the local food – all with fantastic harbour views. Darling Street, running from Rozelle all the way to the water’s edge at Balmain East Ferry Wharf is the best place to begin your adventure in Balmain.

Balmain
Located just 6km west of Sydney’s city centre, perched on a peninsula in Sydney Harbour, Balmain cemented itself primarily as the home of working families. Wikimedia Commons

Admire the views

 As Sydney is just across the water, Balmain’s Thornton Park is the perfect spot to take in the fabulous views of the harbour, city and Sydney Harbour Bridge. The park has picnic tables available for you to sit and enjoy your lunch while you soak up the sights before getting back to your adventure.

Spot of shopping

 No visit to the area would be complete without taking a gander around Balmain Market, one of Sydney’s oldest markets with a history dating back to the 1970s. Stroll around the historic grounds of St Andrews Congregational Church, to find an abundance of handmade products, jewellery and giftware, as well as a selection of tasty food to suit everyone. The market is open every Saturday from 09:00 to 15:00 in summer, and every second Saturday of the month thereafter, weather permitting.

Wine and dine

 Balmain is known for its fantastic selection of eateries and bars. We’ve taken a look at the places you need to pay a visit to when you’re in the area:

 

  • Efendy Restaurant

 

Enjoy contemporary Turkish cuisine in a restored Victorian mansion. If that wasn’t enough, Efendy also has an intimate cellar cocktail bar. You know you’ll be experiencing genuine Turkish dishes; the Efendy kitchen team is entirely Turkish, with each member representing a different culinary region

  •  Our Place on Darling

This is a cosy bar/cafe with rustic wooden tables and a courtyard – a perfect place for all seasons. Our Place on Darling serves modern Australian cuisine with a range of events throughout the week. Enjoy live music every Sunday night between 18:00 and 20:00 and if you’re up for a challenge, Our Place also has tech-free Tuesdays where if you make it through dinner without your phone or device, they will give you a free chocolate brownie and ice cream.

Restaurant, Wine, Glasses, Served, Dinner, Celebration
Enjoy contemporary Turkish cuisine in a restored Victorian mansion. If that wasn’t enough, Efendy also has an intimate cellar cocktail bar and restaurants in Balmain. Pixabay

 

  • Rossopomodoro

 

For wood-fired pizzas, classic dishes and a fresh selection of Italian and Australian produce, including antipasti, prosciutti, pizza rosse, pizza bianche, and pizza vegane look no further than Rossopomodoro.

ALSO READ: Know About the Risks of Intellectual Property Theft

 Balmain East has changed from a working-family suburb to a thriving busy area. For a relaxing day-trip soaking up the world-famous harbour and sampling local delicacies, this is the perfect destination.