Ekadaksha Learning Center for Children with special needs

What we do - Ekadaksha Learning Center Chennai - By Stephen Eastop

Navratri celebrations 2019 at Ekadaksha Learning Center, ChennaiEkadaksha's festivities are in full swing this year. As we all know, in India, once festivities begin, it never stops. It's one festival after the other giving everyone opportunities to be creative, get dressed up and develop a bond of togetherness. 

Navratri at Ekadaksha indeed felt like a family function, wherein all the teachers and children got together to prepare for performances with a lot of creativity and enthusiasm. Nithya (A main teacher) and Ganga (A volunteer) got together to plan this whole event. They planned, coordinated and executed this amazing programme beautifully. As mentioned earlier and in the words of Ganga, "It was nothing less than a Family function". This is what we strive for - For all our staff and children to be one big family, for this community to be one big family - to unite and bring about a sea of change for those with special needs. 

This year, every house group was given a theme which projected the significance of the festival of Navratri. The nine days of the festival involves the worshipping of the various Goddesses while the tenth day is dedicated to appreciating our Gurus. In this years peformances, while teachers narrated, each child was given a role based on their strengths and capabiliites. By doing so, we could see them perform independently and with great motivation. So let us take a look at the performances of each house. 

The red house represented Goddess Durga and told the story of how She saved people from the evil asura (demon). Goddess Durga battled with the asura for nine days and finally on the tenth day, she got rid of him completely. This day is celebrated as Dussehra. Click here to see the performance of the red house - The story of Goddess Durga. Apart from our performance, if you would like to know the entire story, you can click this youtube link for your information. 

The yellow house gave the significance of Goddess Lakshmi who represents Happiness, Wealth and Knowledge. One of the children was Goddess Lakshmi while the others showed pictures of her traits. Click here to see the perfomance of the yellow house - Representations of Goddess Lakshmi. To know a little more about Goddess Lakshmi click this link

The blue house gave a performance based on Goddess Saraswathi, the Goddess of education and knowledge,to show all the art forms in India. This included forms of traditional crafts, sports as well as professions. There is a famous Tamil saying 'Aaya Kalaigal 64' which means that differnet forms of art exist and its is Goddess Saraswathi who blesses people with unique talents. Click here to see the performance of the blue house - The different Art forms. Art forms in India are extremely wide spread. While we have adopted many modern methods, the traditional arts and methods in various professions continue to be a part of our heritage and existence. A quick link to the the significance of Goddess Saraswathi during Navratri is right here

The green house showed us the importance of Our Gurus - Our Teachers who have given us the knowledge to become what we are today. They have provided us with guidance to be victorious in our lives. This victory is celebrated during vijayadasmi. On this day we pray to all those who improved our knowledge and make sure we begin our wonderful journeys in different professions. The children showcased teachers in different fields who are honoured by their students. Click here to see the performance of the green house - The importance of our Gurus. 

The children of Ekadaksha learnt all about Navratri pujas and blessings through their wonderful performances. What the children gained was indeed what Navratri is all about:

*Victory and confidence to use their strengths

*Happiness to be appreciated 

*Education about the festival and how to be a part of a huge function

*Respecting themselves and their Gurus.

The day concluded with a thanking note and an invocation to all our Gurus. A few more pictures which cannot be missed - Click here. Thus, with the blessings of Goddess Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswathi and that of our Gurus as well, one can lead their lives in the right path, gaining victory and winning over all evils. 

Onam celebrations 2019 at Ekadaksha Learning Center, ChennaiOnam, the festival of Kerala (India), with flower decorations, boat races and Onam sadhya (An elaborate spread of the cuisine of Kerala) was celebrated at Ekadaksha. It was a fun time where the children competed in two different games:

-Tug of war (A game of power): Two groups of children were made to face eachother and hold a long cloth. A line was drawn in the center as the boundary. When the command was given and the whistle was blown, they had to pull with all their might. The team that pulled the other over the boundary was the winner. This game made us all laugh like crazy. Some children pulled and pulled while others allowed themselves to be pulled. Some just held on, while others let go of the cloth. They had one thing in common though - Excitement:-)

-The Poo kolam race (A race of flowers): This relay race again involved to teams who had to pick flowers and make a flower decoration while taking turns with their team members. The children were fascinated with the flowers and enjoyed arranging the design. Well, some of them loved plucking at the petals as well:-)..

A delicacy of Kerala, banana chips, was served to one and all. Click here to see the children in action.

 

Workshop on holistic parenting by Mr. Veluprakash 2019 at Ekadaksha Learning Center, ChennaiEkadaksha's first workshop of the year - A workshop on Holistic parenting by Mr. Velu Prakash. 

In this new era of technology and modernisation, we have forgotten all about our traditional ways of life. Mr.Velu has taken a wonderful initiative to bring this back into our lives. In this workshop, he gave parents tips on foods to avoiod, while giving suggestions of traditional and more healthy substitutes. Apart from this, he gave points of hygiene of mouth and body using the old methods. An important note was that all products we use inside (food) and outside (eg:creams, soasps, toothpaste etc.) our body will be absorbed by our body. Therefore, we need to put in a thought of the products we are using in and outside our body. However, he also mentioned that allopathy is necessary in emergency situations, so be practical - You need to decide when to go traditional and when to go modern. 

Mr. Velu stressed on one of the super danger food - white sugar - he gave is the whole process of its making and scared us all:-). After listening to this, most of us would not want to touch this sugar again. But then, we have to give a break, and we served the most amazingly sweet tea/coffee to the participants along with the other danger - Maida:-).. It was the very opposite of what he was telling us, but everyone did enjoy it:-). However, next time sweet tea/coffee/biscuit - bye bye... We need to get some healthy stuff. Wonder what it will be:-)

He also spoke about the soul journey of a child and mentioned how important nature is in our life. Playing near trees, in parks, on the beach - This can do wonders for our bodies, more so ever for our children's bodies. 

So let us all strive to bring back the traditional ways in our life whils also being practical. Thankyou Mr. Velu for this insightful workshop. We wish you the best in this interesting venture. Click on this link for a short video and some pictures of the Holistic parenting workshop.

National Sports day India 2019 at Ekadaksha Learning Center, ChennaiIn India National sports day is celebrated on August 29th every year. It is indeed a day to promote as well as celebrate fitness and sport in the country. With a fast moving lifestyle, health and nutrition has been long forgotten by many. However, with such intiatives like the "Fit India Movement" , the citizens of the country are now gaining an awareness into the importance of a fit and healthy nutritious lifestyle. Everyone, young and old, seem to have taken to this movement and it is a rage all over social media as well. 

Children with special needs tend to develop health issues like obesity, diabetes, stomach issues etc. due to many factors one of them being the lack of movement or a movement which is not channelized. Parents of special needs children also are prone to health issues due to high amount of physical and emotional stress. Therefore, it is high time, fitness and nutrition become a LIFESTYLE - A WAY OF LIFE. Parents need the energy to cope with stress as well as be there for their children always while children need a path to channelize their energies - This can be possible through BEING FIT AND HEALTHY.

The National sports day events were conducted at the Ekadaksha Premises. The events included sack race, running race, bean bag pick up race, bean bag balancing race and hoops race. Eevry child participated in the race suited to his capabilities and interest. There was cheering, enthusiasm and encouragement all along. There were winners who got smiley badges and there were all the others who performed very well. Every child understood the rules of the race he/she participated in. They were aware that they were in a competition and enjoyed themselves without any apprehensions. Indeed a beautiful fit day for all the teachers too. 

Click here to see the participants in action and the winners ever so happy

 

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