The Mother’s Training program at KIRAN began in 1998 as our other initiatives brought to light the need for encouragement, education, and resources for parents of young children with different abilities. The fear of the unknown causes many young parents to feel discouraged and helpless when navigating the diagnosis of their children, but we believe that with the proper tools, all parents are capable of empowering their children to their fullest ability. Although our initial target was mothers, we have found that enabling fathers is equally as important. Through a team of neurologists, doctors, physical and occupational therapists, caretakers, psychologists, and special educators, we invite couples and their child to stay with us for five days to expand their knowledge, encourage their confidence, and create a specific plan filled with short-term goals.
We have used our years of experience to create a weekly layout that optimizes the number of families able to attend Mother’s Training and the benefit of their experience.
Although we are unable to sustainably operate the program without payment from participants, we only ask the families to contribute what they can for their housing and food, administering our professional services without cost. With KIRAN transportation from Lanka to our centre, we begin the week with healthy food and a detail explanation of the schedule to make our families feel as comfortable as possible. The first two days are dedicated to physical, education, communication, and health evaluations in order to create a management plan for each child. The rest of the days are dedicated to bringing a new understanding of individualized rehabilitation practices, legal agency, health and nutrition guidance, and therapy for every family. Overall, the week aims to enable parents with a new sense of capability and pride to carry throughout their parenting journey.
Although Mother’s Training is able to reach more and more families every year, we know that the demand of jobs, responsibilities, and travel often prevents families from attending. In addition, the presence of intimidating diagnoses, social stigmas, and misunderstandings can leave parents feeling unable to find help. However, being the “ray of light” that KIRAN is, our Mother’s Training team is filled with passionate individuals dedicated to sitting with, listening to, and working beside these struggling parents. Raj Kumar is the director of Mother’s Training and he leads with a passion for convincing parents that they are capable of helping their children. His goal everyday is to increase the amount of parents that can say, “Now with confidence, I can do something for my child.” The spirit of our staff is the driving force behind this program and with it, Mother’s Training has grown into a flourishing department.
For the past 20 years, we are proud to see that the Mother’s Training program has only grown in the face of obstacles. With each session, we realize that we have just as much to learn from the families that participate as we have to teach them. As we watch parents from different social, religious, and economic backgrounds live, learn, eat, and share in hardship and triumph together, we know that Mother’s Training makes change on a communal scale. Letting our “bottom-up” philosophy guide the way, we know that the families we serve will play a vital role in the growth of KIRAN’s outreach and advocacy throughout our greater community. Looking to the future, we hope to continuously seek more sustainable and inclusive approaches to Mother’s Training in order to make it the most accessible platform possible.