Therapy for Families

Therapy for Families

Stories From India
"In 1987 I read an article about a center of people with cerebral palsy in my hometown and I was immediately motivated to sign up as a volunteer. Many years later, I am still here doing this important work.” Zulekha Lawla Islam, who works at the Vicente Ferrer Foundation (VFF) is the director of a residential and rehabilitative program to help people with disabilities in Anantapur.  She spent 27 years specializing her work in Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Ghana and Vietnam. Have you seen any commonalities between people with disabilities in different countries? In some countries people with disabilities are recognized in official government programs as well as social movements, but despite advances people with disabilities still face many barriers. A report by the World Health Organization 2011 indicates that 80% of…
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Fighting Against Tuberculosis

Fighting Against Tuberculosis

Stories From India
The 2016 Global Tuberculosis Report, published this month by the World Health Organization (WHO), demonstrates that tuberculosis (TB) is a global crisis.  Although TB related deaths have been reduced by 22% more than 10 million new TB patients have been diagnosed around the world.  The United Nations states that “the tuberculosis epidemic is greater than previously estimated, a reflection of the data provided by the surveys conducted in India and their new policy of monitoring.” India is part of a group of 6 countries that registered 60% of the new patients.  Together with China and Russia, these countries account for 45% of the cases of multi drug resistant TB. According to Dr. Gerardo Álvarez-Uría of VFF, director of the Hospital of Infectious Diseases of Bathalapali, the international reports of tuberculosis deaths…
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Volunteer Speech Therapist Bring More Than Talent

Volunteer Speech Therapist Bring More Than Talent

Stories From India
In 2015, VFF launched a speech therapy project for children born with hearing impairment to develop oral language skills. The speech therapist, Marina Escarda, is a volunteer for the project. She brings affection and laughter in the therapy sessions. With the help of volunteers and speech therapists like Marina Escarda, VFF USA is helping hearing impaired girls in rural India develop their speaking abilities What are the difficulties encountered by deaf people in rural India? In India people with hearing impairment become are isolated from the community. In my work every day, I see how people who work with me even limit their interactions to sign language or pointing only.  For the deaf students, lip reading, sounds, and other “verbal” clues are important tools to understanding.  Deaf students can make…
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Newborn Health, Healthy Development

Newborn Health, Healthy Development

Stories From India
  A staggering 16 Million girls between the ages of 15-19 give birth every year worldwide. The lack of sex education strongly contributes to the rate of early pregnancies, as well as the lack of prenatal and postnatal education. As a result, India currently accounts for the highest number of newborn and child deaths in the world. VFF USA is working to lower infant mortality with sex education for youth, as well as prenatal and postnatal education and care. One of the most successful methods has been educational workshop for teens and mothers, where they are invited to openly talk about sexual health and reproduction. Rumni, a Health Coordinator in the Narapala area, shares with us the challenges they are overcoming by starting the  conversation. “The knowledge base about sexual…
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Tennis Lessons in Anantapur

Tennis Lessons in Anantapur

Stories From India
Anantapur is a regional capital and a hub for rural villages. The city has a population of more than 200,000 people; although on any given day the markets, schools, and activity centers fill with thousands of people from nearby villages accessing opportunities.   Anantapur as a “city” has a mixed population of migrant workers, rural farmers, and urban businesses. Discrimination among socioeconomic groups is one of the city’s most paramount challenges. Rooting out systemic prejudice against low income groups is essential for community development. The Rafa Nadal Tennis Center is committed to breaking down centuries of intolerance and inequality  by bringing kids from all over the city together, to play tennis, and develop their  English skills.   Xisco Mercadal, a professional tennis instructor who runs the programs said,  “Children do…
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Harshad Bharatti: “Having a disability doesn’t make me less of a person.”

Harshad Bharatti: “Having a disability doesn’t make me less of a person.”

Stories From India
Harshad Bharatti was born in Dudekunda, a small town in Kurnool district. At the age of three she became ill with flu like symptoms, and soon the situation became worse as she began to feel numbness in her legs her family rushed her to the hospital. Polio paralyzed her legs. The long and difficult recovery period from the infection has left her childhood memories without much opportunity to play with other children. Harshad may have had a difficult childhood, but today she is thriving at the VFF fair trade shop making hand crafted jewelry. VFF employs more than 300 women with disabilities to make handicrafts. Equality starts with job skills, and the handicraft trainees have succeeded in becoming financially independent through their work. How did you learn about the opportunity…
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Job Ready from Rural India to the Biggest Multinational Corporations

Job Ready from Rural India to the Biggest Multinational Corporations

Stories From India
Seeking jobs in India for rural young professionals is extremely competitive. Manisha never gives up. With support from people like you she is #wishingwell for the future. She knows it won’t be easy, but because of her education with VFF anything is posible. She says, “it is important to be independent”. Help students like Manisha get the job of her dreams. Join VFF USA and you can be a part of our #wishingwell movement with rural communities. You can make wishes come true. It’s a bold statement. But one we think is true with your small gift. You decide to donate $25 as a holiday gift for your mom who made every sacrifice for your education. Your mom receives a holiday card from you describing the generous contribution you made…
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Hearing Impairment and Inclusion: A Challenge in Rural India

Hearing Impairment and Inclusion: A Challenge in Rural India

Stories From India
Hearing impairment and hearing loss affects more than 68,000 children in the state of Andhra Pradesh, according to the 2011 census. “In rural India, there are numerous challenges for people with disabilities. In the case of deaf students, the principal problem is communication because many stereotypes still exist,” says Sudhamani, the director of the inclusive primary school of Bukkaraya Samudran. After a yoga session, guided by sign language, reading the newspaper, a shower, and breakfast, the students meet on the main patio of the school to have an assembly, also in sign language, in which the “faculty poses a question and the students have to figure out the answer for the following day. It favors integration among them, the school personnel, and the faculty since they have to find the…
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Language is Opportunity for Rural Young Professionals

Language is Opportunity for Rural Young Professionals

Stories From India
Sreelalitha  works in the technological capital of South India, Bangalore, as part of a business development team researching Canadian companies. She learned French in the Professional School at VFF.  Sreelalitha voice has the qualities of a famous singer, but she isn’t turning out soundtracks, instead she creates leads and relationships for business opportunities. Before beginning the course Sreelalitha was completely unaware of the existence of Quebec. She did not speak a word of French. She was selected along with 40 other students from poor families in rural India to receive computer and foreign language classes for one year. She speaks Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, English and now French.   French is not the only language that she has mastered. Being from a rural village, her schooling was always in Telugu, a…
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Safe Homes, Clean India

Safe Homes, Clean India

Stories From India
  In the evening gloom of their dirt courtyard, Saralamma and her two daughters are growing desperate. They last answered nature's call 13 hours ago, but it's not yet dark enough to venture into the fields. For generations, most of the 174  families in Gollapalli, Narpala, Anantapur, southern India have survived  without toilets. They've grown used to holding their bladders and bowels, being stalked by wild boars and snakes. In July 2016, the village decided that it was time to solve this challenge. The community development committee has prioritized the construction of 9 homes with bathrooms for the most marginalized families in the village. India leads the world in open defecation. More than 636 million Indians lack toilets, according to the latest census data, a crisis that contributes to widespread unsafe…
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