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Mary Rice Center for Special Education

With the boarding closing in 2004, there was a lot of extra space. The genesis of Mary Rice Centre began in the year 2005 with two Autistic children and one Special Educator. There being no Special School / Centre for special children available in North of Kolkata. on the request of the father of an Autistic boy the Mary Rice Centre was started. Today we have 36 students in the age group 4 – 18 years.

On the Staff we have 4 professional Special Educators, one Vocational Instructor and 2 care givers. Mary Rice Centre caters to the needs of children with Mental Retardation, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Hyperactivity, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder),. Sensory problem, Down’s syndrome, Learning Disability and Slow learner. Infact, we take all children needing special attention.

With the boarding closing in 2004, there was a lot of extra space. The genesis of Mary Rice Centre began  in the year 2005 with two Autistic children and one Special Educator. There being no Special School / Centre for special children available  in North of Kolkata. on the request of the father of an Autistic boy the Mary Rice  Centre was started.

Today we have 36 students in the age group 4 – 18 years. On the Staff we have 4 professional Special Educators, one Vocational Instructor and 2 care givers. Mary Rice Centre  caters to the needs of children with Mental Retardation, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Hyperactivity, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Sensory problem, Down’s syndrome, Learning Disability and Slow learner. Infact, we take all children needing special attention.

Aims and Objectives:

The aims and objectives of Mary Rice Centre are:

  • To create an awareness and opportunities for integrated education as per the capabilities of each child.
  • Preparing  for vocational training for the future rehabilitation / supported employment.
  • To provide a strong support and parental guidance to parents and siblings to accept the reality of the child’s problems and encourage them  to make their child as independent and self reliant as possible.
  • Special educators are encouraged to plan innovative and flexible programs, which cater to the needs of each child individually.

According to the situation and background the children the children are divided according to their age and cognitive level. Thus we have:  Care group, Class KG, Grades I, II, III, IV and Pre-Vocational students. Every child is tested by a Clinical Psychologist to get an idea of the psychological profile and also later to monitor their yearly progress We provide  integrated education as per their capability. Individual Training as well as group activities are  given to the students. We also provide different activities like Life Skill Training, Activities of daily living, Domestic skill, Physical exercise, brain gym, Mediation, Behaviourial management therapy and Basic computer application. Frequent small evaluations and twice a year elaborate evaluation and examination are done in a child  friendly manner.

Keeping in mind that we have a large number of students  with Learning disability, autism, ADHD, Down’s Syndrome etc., we have  to set up a Occupation Therapy (OT) / Sensory Integrated Therapy (SIT) room. This will be operational shortly. At present we refer them to an outside agenecy of Occupational Therapy but many of our children to could not avail of it due to distance and high cost. Hence it was decided to open one of our own which would benefit all our students.

We hope that this therapy will help the students for better development of:

  • Cognitive development / gross and fine motors development
  • Problem behaviour will be reduced.
  • Speech will be developed faster.
  • Will help for integrate education

Self-confifence and their potentiality with develop at a faster rate.

Class 11 & 12 NIOS
St. Mary’s Orphanage & Day School

In January 2004 the orphanage housing over 300 boys in St. Mary’s Orphanage and Day school had to be closed due to  various reasons. During this time that it was decided that the Brothers with the help of a staff member, Mr. George A. Rozario, would look beyond school and thus conduct Open Schooling classes for the boys of the orphanage. Since our sister concerned, St. George’s school provided free school upto NIOS  Class X, a good number of the orphans in the school were accommodated there. However there was a need to provide scope to those who wished and also capable to study at the next level. Thus the Brothers along with Mr. Rozario began classes preparing boys for the NIOS Class XII Open School System as well as teaching them two Vocational Courses.

The NIOS project is totally managed by the Brothers. Presently there are three Brothers involved as part of the teaching staff in the NIOS section. We also have Mr. George who acts as the coordinator and another volunteer who takes regular classes for the students. Last  year we have appointed an additional teacher as the part of the teaching staff in the NIOS with the hope of having greater choice of subjects for the students.

As stated earlier, we presently have basically only one paid staff member and one volunteer apart from three Brothers (teaching gratis) who take regular classes for the students.

In class  XII we have 30 students of which 17 are gentlemen and 13 are ladies.
In class XI we have  30 students of which 16 are gentlemen and 14 are ladies.

The NIOS class XII, has played a big role as it improves their learning experience plus having a class XII certificate has greatly enhanced their job opportunities.  Also because of the soft skills and career guidance, the students knowledge of the spoken English and their self-confidence increases. All of these play a big role esp. in the hospitality industry and BPO centres where most of our students hope to get  gainful employment especially due to the knowledge and fluency of spoken English.

Enrolment  comes mainly from our sister concern, St. George’s free school. It is wonderful to find so many wanting to better themselves by continuing on with their education. Most of the students take up vocational courses and the two areas we concentrate on is Catering and Hospitality. These help them to get jobs that can sustain them and their families. A few go for higher college studies.

Deserving and hardworking students are helped with sponsorship to follow professional catering and hotel management courses and quite a few of them have got excellent jobs in the airlines industry, and in 5 star hotels. Some have also managed to get placements abroad and on International Airline . Apart from regular contacts and monetary assistance, they are also helped in improvement of their linguistic skills, esp. English and guided on how to face interviews and prepare themselves for the various entrance exams and secure job through various contacts and good Samaritans known to us.

Evening Feeding Program

The school is located just outside the municipal limits of the city of Kolkata. Dum Dum is a junc tion where not only local train stop but also a junction through which many outstation trains pass through. It also the main hub for the city metro train services. Thus it attracts a whole lot of people from the rural areas even as far as Bangladesh, This is especially when the rural areas face problems, wherein their normal means of earning a livelihood is rendered impossible, especially due to the failure of the monsoons, floods or various other economic factors. The city of Joy is a wonderful city where literally everybody is accommodated. We have all sorts of people in the city, from the very  affluent to the very poor. Dum Dum station which is situated just beyond the boundary of the school and being on the peripheral boundary of the city proper is a place where the unwanted of society and the rejects in society often find themselves.

Over the years the brothers have looked beyond their borders and tried to help these vulnerable people, especially the very young, women and elderly. A few years ago, we had the “platform project” wherein children who had run away from home for various and varied reasons and come into the city eventually finding shelter at the Railway Station were helped. The “platform project” was an attempt to try and get these children to come to St. Mary’s  and give them a basic education and a means to earn a livelihood. It also provided them a space where they cold be themselves especially on the football field. After rendering this service for  many years the  project was closed due to lack of Brothers in the community to sustain  the project.

However in 2005, a new venture was started to help the old and destitute people who are found in and around the area. Some were disable or too old to  mange a living by begging on the streets and on the platform. The project started with 20 people but today we are providing a decent evening meal for around 130 people, mainly old, a few women and a couple of kids as well.

The main objective of this project is to provide these people with at least one decent meal a day especially so that they do not have to  go to bed hungry.

This project started because with the orphanage closing, the need was felt to reach out to those who lived lives of quiet desperate just beyond our walls. It was noticed that the old and the very young, the most vulnerable section of society were hard pressed even to get one decent square meal a day and since the brothers were busy in school during the day, the evening feeding program was decided upon by the community when the brothers were relatively free.

The project was started with the funds coming from the school. It is still sustained with the help of the school funds and from sponsors and donors.

Local people who are aware of this feeding program occasionally want to be a part of the program. Hence on a big occasion like birthdays, wedding anniversary, or death anniversary etc, they would sponsor  the feeding program for the day, at times they give  money which  covers the feeling cost feeding for the day and even at times for  more than a day.

It is encouraged those who have sponsored the meal for the day to be present. Some also bring an additional sweet meal which serves as a desert for the people. The feeding program includes children, mostly migrants from outlying  villages who have no support in the city and are left to thier own devices to make a living and get enough to eat at the end of the day.

The people who are fed everyday look forward to getting a good decent meal each day. This can be seen by the no. of people who wait at the gate each day waiting their  meal. Quite a few line up outside the gate, an hour or more before the feeding program begins.

There is no great benefit of this  project other than it being a pure Christian Charity. If it weren’t for the project, many of these  people would go to bed hungry. The project at least ensures that they have some solid food, especially those among them who are weak and can’t manage to earn a living or are just too old and weak.

Once a month, in collabortion with the Missionaries of Charity Brothers, who visit the site with their ambulance, basic medical treatment and medicines are also provided for those sufffering from basic ailments or pain.