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Howrah South Point Homes for Handicapped Children

Author Lapierre with physical therapist Lallita Singh and Nadia, a little girl undergoing treatment for a severe muscular disease at the Lalkutti Rehabilitation Center near Calcutta.

  • Support of Howrah South Point (HSP) an organization that runs several homes for physically and mentally handicapped children in Calcutta, and in Jalpa´guri, north Bengal

  • Financially supported by Lapierre since 1986

In 1983, the founder of HSP, French priest François Laborde, approached Lapierre for money to support a network of homes for some of India's most underprivileged. Few suffer a plight more desperate than children afflicted by both poverty and severe handicaps. Because of the special treatments they require, care of these children is particularly costly. Lapierre immediately undertook the support of all 125 children. In addition, he provided the funds to support a similar home and school in Exprantanagar, a low-income area outside of Howrah.

Howrah South Point has adopted a three-part system to help handicapped children:

  1. Physical rehabilitation. Thanks to "Kinés du Monde," a French organization of physical therapists, the Indian staff of HSP is trained in the latest methods in rehabilitation. Daily physical therapy sessions bring about dramatic improvements in even the weakest of children.

  2. Education. HSP devotes particular effort to the intellectual growth of its children. Teachers work with children on curricula specially designed to meet their needs.

  3. Preparation for the future. Through special workshops and job training, these handicapped children learn the kind of skills they need to play an active role within the community.

This home for physically and mentally handicapped children, supported since 1986 by the Lapierres, rehabilitates and educates children from the slums of Calcutta.

The Homes

  1. The Lalkuthi home in Howrah accommodates 78 handicapped boys and girls. Two experienced physiotherapists (one from Kinés du Monde) are permanently on site to attend the children and provide training to the didis responsible for their care. A pediatrician monitors the health of the children with weekly visits.

    Workshops on skills, including batik, embroidery, tailoring, decoration, and others, are regularly conducted in the Lalkuthi home. There are special classes for deaf and mute children, as well as those suffering from particularly severe mental handicaps. The children are regularly taken out for picnics and excursions. Some even take part in Special Olympics-style sporting events for the disabled. Moreover, thanks to the HSP, each year a number of handicapped children with operable conditions are able to have the surgeries they so badly need.

  2. Three other homes located in Jalpaiguri, North Bengal, provide homes for an additional 100 handicapped children. There, in the magnificent foothills of the Himalayas, the children learn to surmount their handicaps through educational facilities, workshops, and farming. A visit to one of those centers, where the odds are beaten every day, where children once condemned to death are given a marvelous second chance, is a profoundly moving experience.