07 Dec Sharing with Samvedna
Last Saturday three volunteers from Samvedna, the centre for children with mental and physical disabilities in a nearby village, visited Woodstock. They led a training morning for the seven Woodstock students who go to the centre once a week to interact with the children there as part of a Community Engagement project. The volunteers spoke about a range of different disabilities including cerebral palsy, autism and Down syndrome. They explained the causes and best ways to interact with people with such conditions, always relating their teaching back to the children at Samvedna whom our students know. Our students experienced in a very minor way what it would feel like to be blind using blindfolds, and to have cerebral palsy by trying to draw a flower using their feet as hands. They realised that while they were only experiencing this for 15 minutes, many face such challenges for their whole lives.
The team had recently visited two of the children’s homes. One of them had a good family support system and the other did not. This meant our students could compare both children’s environments and relate what they had seen to what they were now learning from the volunteers.
On Friday 2 November our student team organised a Christmas party for all the children that attend the centre, along with their parents and the volunteers. The team decorated the library and planned a range of activities, from dramatic story readings to pass-the-parcel. A particular highlight was blowing bubbles from the Quad balcony during lunchtime and watching Woodstockers of all ages getting very exciting and leaping to catch them.
The volunteers had told us that they have no heating during the cold winter months and clean water was unreliably provided once a month. Our students decided to do something about this. As a Christmas present to the centre, Woodstock donated an electric blow heater and water filter, which were given as gifts at the party.
Maria Reaney, Community Engagement
For more information about Community Engagement at Woodstock, visit: