Special Needs a ChanceSpecial Needs a Chance is a club in Virginia Commonwealth University whose objective is to raise awareness and money to build schools for children with Autism in the developing countries like Nepal. In many third world countries like Nepal, children diagnosed with autism are often neglected and considered as a burden and shame to a family, and are sometimes chained inside their own house. However, in the western countries like the US, where we are brought up, autism is well understood as one form of disabilities. In fact, a lot of taxpayers money is used to fund such students. However, in countries like Nepal, such children are not very lucky, because parents and society often neglect or shame such children due to lack of awareness and lack of schools/opportunities. Nepal’s government still doesn’t consider “School of Disability” as a need and doesn’t allocate funds. Despite this challenge, one strong woman in Nepal started a school to support such children. It is called Special School for Disability and Rehabilitation Center (SSDRC). Founded with just 2 students about 10 years ago, this school has now grown to 45 with the support from private donations. Founder of this school, Sabita Uprety, has a vision of converting this school/institution into leadership academy, training center, so that she can cater to broader population all across the South Asia. We came to learn all about this well established organization called , Mission Rebuild Nepal, which is currently working towards raising funds to fulfill Sabita’s dreams by helping build schools in its own property, and therefore, provide more and better space for such children to prosper and learn. Due to the good reputation of Mission Rebuild Nepal, and due to tight alignment of SSDRC with our club’s objective, Special Needs a Chance club has decided to dedicate towards this cause by raising as much funds as it can. In order to accomplish this goal, we led and participated in the following activities so far.
- Valentine’s Day card events: In order to raise money, we made hand-made Valentine’s Day card to sell at VCU. We sold each card for $1.00, and sold about 100 cards. At the end we raised hundred dollars.
- Our big project was volunteering at King’s Dominion. Ten of our club members went to King’s Dominion to volunteer for eight hours and earned a total of about one thousand dollars.
- The students part of the VA star program in Northumberland High School in Heathsville, VA. built special laptops for the children with autism in Nepal. These students worked extremely hard by installing software programs to help with the learning for the children in Nepal.
- The teacher who led this was Mr. Jay Lightfoot and his students, Shelby Smithart, Hailey Wallace, Black Edwards, and Phillip Bingham.