The Project in Bangalore India:
What has been achieved by the "Friends of Camphill India" so far?
A first family house for 12 mentally disabled adults, house parents and 3 co-workers has been built on a piece of land outside Bangalore. Next to this house a star-shaped workshop building was constructed, in which the disabled residents can carry out various activities according to their abilities. Around the buildings a garden has been laid out where vegetables are grown. The whole community has their own water supply through a bore well. By beginning of May 1999 the buildings were occupied and slowly the number of residents and co-workers is growing. The workshop building will have to be equipped with facilities for producing different crafts. The ongoing financing of day-to-day expenses still has to be ensured. The aim is to become self-sufficient through produce from the workshops and garden. Running Cost per month for a residential community with 12 mentally disabled adults and 5 co-workers.
Five Years Later…..
More than five years have passed since our community was inaugurated.
During this period we have grown into a well-established residential home for 24 men and women with special needs. One more family house, Santvana, was constructed and inaugurated in December 2002. More co-workers have joined us and some have left again. Over the years many young volunteers from other countries worked with us for limited periods. The garden was transformed from wilderness to lush greenery with plenty of fruit-bearing trees and a great variety of vegetables. The water shortage is more or less solved. We have two bore wells that provide sufficient water for the houses, and a sewage water treatment plant was added during the construction of Santvana, from which we now get plenty of water for the garden.
The community attracts many visitors: family members of our residents come regularly; student groups from other institutions are interested in our work, many friends from foreign Camphill communities spend time with us, and there is always a very warm welcome for all.
Over the years many special events have been observed, amongst them the baptism of little Uma, the marriage of Ladu and Anusuya (two of our Indian co-workers), the passing away of our dear resident Raju.
There were holidays for all in the community: one summer a bus took the whole group to Conoor, on invitation of Susan’s parents, Mrs. and Mr. Philip. Another time it was a train journey to Pune, to spend a week with the friends in Sadhana Village.
Religious festivals, anniversaries, birthdays and other special events are celebrated with plenty of enthusiasm. Often a play is performed, where all in the community join in and this always provides a colourful change from the daily routine.
As a new experience groups of residents were taken to several industries in the vicinity. This gave them a chance to come face-to-face with the working world and was an eye opener for many.
Our annual workshop in Social Therapy has become a regular activity. During an intensive week speakers from other Camphill communities share their experience and knowledge with our co-workers and other interested participants. Lectures, discussions, artistic activities, eurhythmy and singing give our co-workers an opportunity to learn more about the richness of life in a Camphill community.
Fundraising has been an ongoing activity. Souvenirs were published over three years and funds were collected through advertisements. The annual Christmas bazaars and sales at the Valley School are always a welcome outlet for the products from our workshops and proceeds from these sales flow back into the workshops for purchase of new material. This year greeting cards were printed and sold successfully and we also published a brochure that gives an all-round picture of life and people in the community.
The recently opened bakery will, in the long run, also be a source of income. But more important, a group of our residents can now gain new values by learning about discipline, continuity, punctuality, hygiene, and quality – all aspects of a regular job.
In our workshops the residents learn how to weave, make candles, do pottery or help in papermaking - always under the guidance of co-workers and volunteers. Using their hands to create something of value does not come easily to our residents and often takes months of patient perseverance. But sooner or later each one finds the work that suits him or her. Whether it is tearing up paper into tiny scraps, whether it is rolling minute clay beads, learning to embroider or experimenting with simple weaving, there is progress and the results are encouraging.
After five years, we can see that the further growth of our permanent Indian co-workers is dependant on a deeper education in Social Therapy. Through our contact with KPAMRC (Karnataka Parents Association for Mentally Retarded Citizens) we realized that others also share this particular need. Therefore we are happy to announce that in November 2004 “Friends of Camphill India” has started conducting a part time course in “Social Therapy” which will be spread over a period of 3 years. This is meant especially for those individuals who are interested in the field of “community building” with and for adults with mental disabilities and would also include parents, social workers, special educators and anybody interested in social renewal.