How many children do you have at Deepam?
Up to 30 children and youth attend our special education program for the full day, five days a week. Additionally, approximately 15 babies and small children come with their parents as outpatients for 1:1 therapy sessions, either daily or several times per week.

Over the years we have worked with several hundred children and their parents. Some came only once for an assessment, others come several times a week and some have been with us for many years. A few of them attend main stream schools and come to us for therapy sessions. Not every child comes to Deepam regularly. If they live too far away we can help only with advice. Some need medical care and we help them with special investigations, operations or appliances. Sometimes the whole family needs support and we help for nutrition and supplements; in some cases for housing, training or admission into a boarding school. Every child and their family have different needs and need to be addressed individually.

What happens with the children who grow into adults?
The more skilled ones we can gradually integrate into the outside world. Some find training or a workplace with our help. Some of the less able students with more severe learning disabilities are unable to integrate into work. They may have poor concentration, limited perception skills, often poor fine motor skills and need substantial supervision and support. Some of them look physically mature but might have underdeveloped cognitive and emotional skills. Still they need to be addressed differently from the smaller ones. At the moment they are staying at Deepam because there is no other option for them. Unfortunately there are currently no adult day care programmes locally. A few of them who have been coming since the very beginning of our project have made a lot of progress, but there is not much possibility to make further improvements. We cannot tell them to stop coming because for many of them there is little help at home, not even sufficient food and health care. Often we have discussed if we should separate the oldest from the younger ones and divide the program into two parts. As we have managed to find suitable solutions outside for the older ones with better skills the ones with very limited skills who are not “productive” are left. Most of these young adults need social care rather than work or training. For several years we have experimented with making floating candles and greeting cards. This requires good fine motor skills which only a few of them have. To run two day care groups, we would need to split our students and team which would mean that more funds would have to be raised, more staff members found, and more space made available. When we are ready for this step, it will probably happen.

How is Deepam funded?
We are entirely funded by donations, mainly from private donors and a few smaller organizations (see also under “Donations”). As we grow, our budget is also rising. We have only made new developments when we could sustain them financially. In the recent years, the prices for basic goods in India have risen enormously. Therefore, our monthly expenses keep rising. We must raise the salaries of our employees so that they can keep up with the hike in living costs.