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In addition, there is a Physiotherapist whose job is to try to make up for the skin-hunger (need for physical touch in all warm-blooded animals) that was left unfulfilled due to a mother’s absence at an early age. Such a clinical approach was found necessary because the foster parents find it difficult to meet the need for physical affection of several young children at a time, most of whom were severely deprived. Also the puritanical and hypocritical culture of this country creates a distance between an older child and adults who are not blood relatives.
Most of the children are from poor, rural families within a 30km radius of Familia. Many of these children arrive malnourished and neglected. Some were abandoned at birth, others were abandoned later because one parent died or left home and the other parent remarried. In all situations, the children’s survival would have been in doubt without the intervention of Familia. Increasing requests from the local community to take in more children is such that, because of lack of financial means, Familia is compelled only to take the most extreme cases where immediate intervention is necessary for the survival of the child.
All the children are given the opportunity for normal schooling and higher studies or professional training according to their aptitude. The children also attend special classes organized at home under special teachers in vocal and instrumental music, Indian dance, drama, basic computer skills, fine arts, sewing, knitting, embroidery, etc. The older children also lend a hand in the mini dairy, vegetable and flower gardens, Biogas plant and Organic Manure unit. We believe that in a country of mass poverty like India, the highest priority is growing food. Modern schooling, media and life styles influence the children to shy away from such activities and fill their minds with dreams that will never come true because they had a bad start in life. Like other families, it is ultimately part of Familia’s responsibility to ensure that the children become settled in life, either through marriage or employment. Grown-up girls are helped to get married. Grown-up boys are helped to settle down for a job and make their own house.