Where Special Needs Children Make a Difference

Editors’ note: In the March issue of ONE, Anubha George reports on the vibrant life within the walls of Snehadeepthi Special School in Mannuthy, India. More than a boarding institution for children and young adults with special needs, the school offers a place to be loved and to call home. Anubha shares her witness of this school’s special charism — and of the religious sister who runs the school — in this audio report. A full transcript follows.

There’s a brightness to Snehadeepthi, a school for children with special needs. It’s a school in Kerala, in Mannuthy to be exact. Mannuthy is a place known for its garden centers and plant nurseries. There are about a thousand of these here, full of native and exotic trees and colorful flowers. January is mango blossom season in Kerala, and today the air feels lush, fresh and fragrant. 

Snehadeepthi means the light of love — an all-encompassing love towards humanity. Sister Pushpam, the principal of the school, is the epitome of this love for all human beings, irrespective of their shortcomings weaknesses, or indeed their failures. She’s petite and quiet. But appearances, as they say, can be deceptive.

Snehadeepthi is run by the congregation of Samaritan Sisters, or CSS, as they’re popularly known. Their motto is “Go and Do Likewise.” Sister Pushpam is devoted to Snehadeepthi. She runs the place in an orderly organized way, but most importantly, in a calm, compassionate, and empathic manner. She is devoted in the service of Christ.

The children here are well-settled. Yes, they’re intellectually challenged, but there’s a joy and an innocence you see in them, which touches and melts your heart. It’s the joy of being alive, of spending time with others, playing, singing, and dancing. They clearly enjoy being here where they’re cared for, where no one judges them or feels pity for them. Here, they’re loved, well-looked after, cherished and valued. At Snehadeepthi, they make a difference.

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