Mannackannad Special School

This is a very special project now with nearly 60 very special children aged from 5-16.   (There is also a section for young adults, aged 16-30.)  They are helping (very successfully!) to change attitudes towards physical and mental disabilities. In only a few years, Sr. Rani-Joe and her team have transformed what must have been almost feral children, unable to talk, not used to wearing clothes or even toilet trained, kept hidden away in their parents huts. Now these children are bright and happy, wearing their school uniforms with pride, receiving whatever education they are capable of and some are now actually earning a wage to help their parents.

Those for example, who are deaf-mute, do very well in their studies. Some have developed more practical skills. All are encouraged and their achievements praised. They all have their daily chores, opening the windows, picking up litter, fetching the register, along with daily routines - assembly, singing the National Anthem, simple exercises etc. and it is the constant repetition which helps many to learn. If any of the children who are unable to take themselves, want to go to the toilet, they put the back of their hand to their forehead and one of the physically able, older children will take them.

We started to help the school several years ago by paying for toys to help with the children's education.  Excerpt from letter from Sr. Rani-Joe. 'Thanks a lot for your gift for our special school children. We had bought playthings with that money. I shall give you some idea about the things that we bought - there were bicycles, wooden duck, wooden horse for rocking, football, basket ball, hand ball, shuttlecock game, toys of different kinds, picture charts, pictures, dolls, building up sets, numbers and letters etc. Children were so excited to see the new play items.'


We then started sending out sturdy wooden toys - the children too easily broke the plastic toys available in India.  We also made regular contributions to the huge medicines bill.  The cost of drugs is on a par to the cost here and most of the children are on some medication - especially for epilepsy.  Any ideas welcome, especially if we could get some contribution from the drugs manufacturers.


The children all participate in dance and a couple of years ago, Sr. Rani took a group of them to a Kerala State dance competition. She spoke to the audience, explaining that her children all had various mental and physical problems and so they should not expect their dancing to be up to much, but it was a good experience for them. The children then proceeded to give a perfect performance to rapturous applause, the audience unaware of two teachers in the front row using sign language to guide the children.

Amazingly, the Indian government does not recognise 'Special Schools'  and so this school does not receive ANY financial help!!!

The money we gave in 2008 was used to buy musical instruments as Sr. Rani thought that this would be another challenge, achievable with regular practise. She purchased a set of traditional Kerulen drums as she knew of a retired drum teacher who had the patience to teach them. Now they are so good that people hire the group for functions and processions. They earn anywhere between £45.00 and £75.00 (!) which is shared amongst them and given to their parents. How proud are they that they are earning money - and who would have imagined that it was ever possible! Some boys have now been placed in regular normal employment and are doing very well.   Girls who are able, are already being taught to sew and some work in the tailoring centre, on the campus.


Some of the most useful things we do cost so little!  This small boy has no fear and will run away if he is not held onto all of the time.  In the past he has run onto the roads many times, has jumped off a cliff and even into a big pond - and he cannot swim!  So we sent some children's reins with a long strap, so he can have a little freedom and still be safe.

This is the newly refurbished building which will be a vocational training centre.  They will continue to make candles, and will start book binding and making washing powder and cleaning materials.

This School is really helping to change attitudes towards people with disabilities!  The children are doing so well and there is a cabinet full of trophies and medals they have won.

Thanks to Mr McBride, Rowan Gate School, Wellingborough and Hunsbury Park School, Northampton for helping Mannackannad School.
2011 - The school is now 10 years old and needs some repairs and redecorating.  So they have asked us for some money to do this.  It is quite a big amount of money so we hope to be able to give them some both this year and next.  We sent out £150.00.

2012 - £576 sent and in February 2013 we received this thank-you letter:-

My Dear Loving Julie,

Love and Greetings from Sr. Rani.   Thank you very much for your generous contribution to Holy Cross Special School Mannackannad. I have received from Sr. Lizy the Sum of Rupees 47322/-.  I have no words to express my sincere thanks to you. Really it was a great help in time of need.  I  am really struggling for money.  It is very difficult to run the school because the number staff and students have increased.  At present we have 90 students and 22 staffs are working in the special school.  Here all are doing well by the grace of God and keeping fine. Once again thanking you. 

I wind up with much Love and Prayers

Sr.Rani Joe

2013 - £600.00 sent out.

2014 - £400.00 sent out.

2015, 16 and 17 - sadly we did not have sufficient funds to help them these years.  It is SUCH an important project as physically and mentally challenged children are not recognised by the Indian government, so they don't run 'Special' Schools.  Any help very welcome! 

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