Category Archives: International

Chernobyl Children’s Hospital Revisited

By Richard A Street M.B.E. Chairman Chernobyl Children Life Line

We have just returned from our visit to Belarus where we give support to the families and children affected in some way by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. This is a trip we undertake each year and sometimes twice per year. As I have told you there are not the facilities available in Belarus as we take so much for granted in the UK and over the years we have taken many things to support the care of the children and their recovery.

We have purchased a number of items from Rompa especially sensory lights which are not available in Belarus. We are also grateful for the items which were donated by Rompa to use to assist the children’s recovery and time, especially in the Children’s Cancer Hospital, however this year we also supplied some lights to the Social Services in Osipovichi for use with the day patients and users there. All of what we took was extremely well accepted and will benefit all that attend both places.

Rompa Donations to Chernobyl Children's Hospital

Below is a letter I received from Elena the child psychologist at the Children’s Cancer Hospital just before my visit where she is telling me about the benefits of items we have taken on earlier visits.  The letter refers particularly to Laser Sky Projector, the LED Projector and the `magic ball` is the Laser Sphere Projector. I think the letter describes the great benefits gained by the lights at the Hospital.

Thank you once again for your help and support in the work we do with the children of Belarus in giving them some hope in their lives.

Dear Richard!

I congratulate you on the coming Easter holiday! I wish that you, and all members of your family, all volunteers of the organization have everything in the best way. All of your health, joy, strength, happiness, success!

Thank you very much for helping the children of Belarus! I especially thank you for helping children with cancer. Many and many children and parents find comfort when they come to us for relaxation sessions and have the opportunity to observe the starry sky (and other pictures) on the flow of the relaxation room. It became possible thanks to the projectors transferred to our centre. Still in the procedural room of the day hospital a special love is enjoyed by the “magic ball”, shimmering with different colours, which the child can look during the procedure and be distracted, and after the procedure, children can put their hand on it and make a wish – the ball is “magic”! .. This not only raises the mood – it’s comforting!  It is interesting that many children say that wishes come true!

But have not miracles happened during the years of our friendship and cooperation? The day before yesterday I saw Nastya, yes, that girl, who was sick of myeloblastic leukaemia, who was lying in an isolated box, dreamed of drawing, but she could not, because on her right arm was connected a dropper. The very one I gave to the beautiful pencil brought by you said that it was a pencil for your left hand, specially brought by you from England – and she learned to draw with her left hand and was very happy about it (which is important, when you lie in an isolated box and other joys are not available to you! … she did not even have a TV, or a computer to watch cartoons ..) Now this is a big, beautiful girl who defeated the disease and became so strong that she could come to children’s holidays without a mask!  Please accept greetings from Nastya and her family!

If you would like more information about the work Chernobyl Children Life Line do or would like to make a donation you can contact them directly:

Richard A Street, 91 Wharf Road, Pinxton, Derbyshire NG16 6LH

Charity No. 1014274

Tel :01773 810712 / 07816 913787

email richard-street@btconnect.com

Developmental Play – Impacting Children Across The World

The Deepti Centre family 2015

The Deepti Centre family 2015

Occupational Therapists Caroline Clay and Caroline Essame report on the latest news from The Deepti Centre in Kerala, India and the launch of the new training centre that’s impacting thousands of children in rural India.

 

The Deepti Centre is a special school and rehabilitation centre for children and young adults based in rural Kerala, South India. In 2010 we set out from different continents (Caroline Essame from Singapore and Caroline Clay from the UK) to support the development of The Deepti Centre in any way that we could. In fact we didn’t realise how deeply involved we would get. In our first few years there we formed relationships with the children the staff and the parents and found that we shared the passion and drive to provide the very best service for the local community.

 

Good relationships are the foundation that makes the biggest impact in the world, and it’s who you work with and who you partner with that build sustainable change. So we are very grateful to Rompa for their encouragement and support for our children and families at The Deepti Centre.

 So we are very grateful to Rompa for their encouragement and support for our children and families at The Deepti Centre.

At the time of our first visit to the centre there were under 30 children attending daily and our work was mainly directly with the children and drew on our experiences in Art Therapy, Creative Arts, Sensory Processing, Occupational Therapy and seating and posture.

In October 2016 there were 150 children attending daily and a growing curriculum of arts, crafts, drama, role play and sensory work to promote learning through play. The recent addition of a sports teacher and band leader has seen our children win competitions in regional events for a variety of sports and music. Though the band consists of mainly drums and bugles and is more rhythmic than tuneful, there’s no doubt that the immense fun is in the taking part and gives a real sense of belonging.

 

Dr Susan Mathew, the director of The Deepti Centre encouraged us to train more teachers across the region as this would have a greater impact on children in different schools. This was a step up for both us and all the staff at the centre, and several events have been endorsed by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI).

watch a video about tactile sensory play:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xgZQzW5BxI&feature=youtu.be

In October 2016 we trained 50 special needs teachers and local Occupational Therapists in a new course “Developmental Play “ another 30 teachers and parents  from Deepti special school also attended gaining the certificate in Developmental Play. The course was so successful that we have decided to offer it in the UK aswell.

 

In January 2017 Caroline Essame and Dr Suvi Pitkola undertook a 2 day conference on the “Development of play and social skills in children with ASD” this time to an audience of 100 attendees.

 

 

Play matters. It’s the language of childhood. It’s the way that children make sense of their world. Play is also the process through which children learn about how their bodies work and how they can use them to have an impact on the world, whether that is through splashing in the bath or waving at someone who waves back. It’s about cause and effect, exploration and identity.

 

Our Developmental Play  course has been designed by Occupational, Play and Creative Arts Therapists with both educational, health and social service backgrounds and brings ideas and expertise to the field of play therapy and play based learning.  It specifically focuses on the stages that children go through to develop through play, so it has particular relevance for people who work with clients with special needs or very young children.

 

It is relationship-centred and based on contemporary research and practice, including:

  • Attachment theory and playful creative relationships
  • Neuro-dramatic play and neuro-linguistics
  • Creative arts education and play based learning
  • Eco-play, nature play and play in the outdoors
  • Sensory processing and bodywork

 

This June will see the launch of the UK training in Newcastle for level 1 of this 3 level certificate course introducing Developmental Play theory and practice.

By the end of the course participants will be able to understand and identify developmental play stages and apply developmental play practice to their work situation.

 

Each level has a three-day training workshop as well as online content, training and resources. Students undergo practical assignments and at the end of level 3, in order to qualify as the advanced practitioner, there is a written assignment to be submitted online. There is also an opportunity to study level 2 and 3 in India in October 2017 and work alongside the course coordinators in their special education practice at the Deepti Special School, so not only will you get to learn about play but also how to adapt it for children with special needs cross culturally.

 

On completion of all levels participants are accredited play practitioners and can register with CREATECATT’s Play Practitioners database.

 

For more information about the upcoming course in June 15th – 17th Newcastle or for details of training in India please contact either of the Caroline’s at :

 

info@createcatt.com

www.createcatt.com

www.facebook.com/createplaymoveandlearn

www.deepticentre.com

 

Caroline Essame and Caroline Clay

 

Caroline Essame and Caroline Clay travel to India every year to work with children at The Deepti Centre in Kerala, India on a voluntary basis. Their unique style of training crosses language barriers bringing creative fun to learning. They aim to impact thousands of children by supporting educators and therapists across the world.

Chernobyl Children’s Life Line Return to Minsk

There were four members of our group that visited Belarus in late April to undertake charitable support as part of our work helping the unfortunate child victims of the Chernobyl Nuclear disaster. As you might remember, back in November (read article)  we were able to take some sensitive lighting that you at ROMPA kindly helped us with, and which made a massive impact on the children who are receiving treatment in the hospital. Well, you will be pleased to know the lights are still being thoroughly enjoyed by the children at the Children’s Cancer Hospital in Minsk and we were able to also let them have the further equipment you were able to donate towards our work. So a big thank you to ROMPA in supporting the work we do in trying to put a little hope in the children’s lives.

One special moment at the Cancer Hospital was when I was asked by a child what I would be doing and I told her I would be visiting the British Ambassador the next morning and she asked me to pass on her best wishes, which I did. I also asked the Ambassador if he would reply with a personal letter which he promptly did and I took it to the girl at the hospital. She was absolutely amazed that she had received a personal letter from such an important person who didn’t know her and it was such a special moment for her. The child psychologist at the hospital told me it was the best medicine any one could give the child as it made her feel special and that someone somewhere was thinking of her and took the time to write to her. To see her face was a very emotional moment for all of us including her mother who was not the only one with tears in her eyes.

While we were in Minsk we took some diabetes testing equipment to the endocrine hospital and also visited an orphanage, the British Embassy and many other places around the City. At every place we visited we took lots of toys for the children and tried to make it a very special day for them in their lives.

After leaving Minsk later in the week we proceeded to the town of Osipovichi where we visited school No 4, the school from where we take our children from when they visit our area for a convalescing break during the summer. Whist there we had an opportunity to meet the parents and the children who are due to be coming in July and enjoy a concert in the school. The remainder of our time in Belarus was spent visiting homes and families to get a better idea of the problems these unfortunate families have to deal with on a daily basis and again there were many emotional moments as we visited these wonderful people, that despite their poor conditions always made us welcome and were so hospitable in every way.

We will be continuing with our work helping these unfortunate children and if you know of anyone who would like to join with us or host a child in their home please pass on our details to them. Likewise if there is anyone who would like to support us in any other way please pass on our details. Chernobyl Children Life Line is a totally voluntary charity with no salaries or huge on going costs, so you can be assured that any support given is used for its intended purpose and very much appreciated.

Richard A Street
91 Wharf Road
Pinxton
Derbyshire
NG16 6LH

Email: richard-street@btconnect.com
Web: www.ccll.org.uk/pinxton

Caroline Molloy at the Deepti Centre

The Deepti Centre, Kerala, South India

By Occupational Therapist Caroline Molloy

Caroline Molloy at the Deepti Centre

Caroline at the Deepti Centre

Five years ago, I heard a mother speak about how hard it was to get services for her disabled child in her town in India and how she was determined to make a change by opening a special school herself. When I offered to help, it was in fact by means of a bit of fund raising or helps with accessing some resources. I never imagined that I would be taking an active role in the development of the service and that through it I would find that same light of commitment which is still burning strong after 5 years and 5 trips to India.



The Deepti Centre is situated in Kerala , South India. It is a rural, lush community popular with tourists as a holiday destination. The local language is Malayalam, although English is spoken by most people and taught at school. The word “Deepti” means light in Malayam, and from the very beginning it has been a shining example of love and care in action, that has family values at its core.

Deepti CentreDeepti was started as a centre for children with cerebral palsy, although it has broadened its remit to admit any child with special needs in the area. It was founded. By Dr Susan Mathew, who has is a mother of 4 sons whose youngest was born with cerebral palsy. Her son Jyothish is the inspiration behind Deepti, not even Susan would have imagined the growth of Deepti from 1 to 71 children in 5 years.

Our aim for our most recent trip was to set up a sensory room, in a small building next door to the physiotherapy room. We were very thankful for a significant number of items from Rompa which are now part of the sensory assessment crate, which we have left ready for use. It’s true to say that you don’t know what is missing until you realise it’s missing, but we hadn’t realised we had so few resources for our children who had visual problems. Once we had been to the shops to buy heavy suiting material for black out blinds, we were able to equip the new sensory room with battery operated lights, and soft lighting so that the Occupational Therapist could create a relaxed and calming atmosphere for our children with sensory needs. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when one of our boys was given a flashing light ball, he rolled it around the floor, held it up to his face, and we could see he could see it! He called to his mother “I can see the light, I can see the light” it was indeed a very moving experience.

Deepti CentreOur time at Deepti is always so short, and this year we stepped up and delivered our training program from the local hotel conference suite. This enabled us to professionally film all our training, so that this can be edited and translated into other languages, which will have a significant impact in rural communities across Asia. As an accidental consequence, our training was also filmed by 2 Keralan TV stations and was on air for 8 mins on national TV. I can’t tell you what impact that had on our mothers and families, to receive that kind of media attention, and acknowledgement that both they and their children had significance and value.

If you would like more information about the Deepti Centre please visit www.carolineinkerala.wordpress.com

Sensory equipment brings joy to children’s cancer ward

At the Children’s Cancer Hospital in Minsk last November, Christmas came early for the patients and staff as two members of Chernobyl Children Life Line Pinxton and East Derbyshire Link visited Belarus to present to the hospital some sensory lighting for use with the children suffering from cancer. The sensitive lighting were part of a consignment of sensory equipment purchased from ROMPA at Chesterfield who also donated some items in support of the charities efforts.

The hospital in Minsk is very different to those here in the UK. It can be a very dull, unhappy place for the children receiving treatment there, with the most basic of facilities. From what was seen, and feedback from an earlier visit our link decided that it would be a wonderful gesture if we could provide some sensory equipment for use in the ward to brighten it up and create a more relaxed and happy environment for the children and their families. Richard our link chairman and Tony vice chairman and host family member took over these lights and delivered them to the hospital where they were extremely gratefully received! Below are some quotes from a letter written to Richard from Elena the child psychologist at the Children’s Cancer Hospital in Minsk. I think it says it all really.

Dear Richard and friends,

sensory-equipment-chernobyl
Thank you very much for your visit and for all these wonderful presents! As you remember the girls, who came to the cabinet to meet you, asked me to give them the Laser Sphere Projector to their ward. They were so happy and pleased the next morning! They were full of emotions! They said that it was a magic and beautiful thing; they had never seen such a marvellous thing before. Even those in the ward, who wanted to sleep, were trying not to fall asleep and got pleasure from the projector. In the morning they again switched on the projector and got wonderful emotions to start the day. There were so many happy faces, the children’s and their mums’!

To be honest with you, morning is not a good time for our patients, as many of them don’t feel well and some of them have to go on unpleasant treatment, very often the mood of our patients isn’t positive at all. But that morning when I entered the ward I met all of them full of life and vigour, especially when I allowed them to leave this thing for the whole week, as they thought they would have to return it in the morning, as it belongs to the hospital. Moreover, I was really shocked by one of the big girl. It’s not a secret to everyone that hospital is a dull place like prison, where nobody wants to go or to stay, especially our place, it’s a difficult place to be.

One of the older girls, who was from that ward, when she knew that “a magician thing’ was going to stay for the whole week in their ward, she said: “ it’s a pity that I go home, as I wouldn’t have a chance to see this beautiful thing, but I will stay for more than one day!” I have never had this before that children feel sorry that they are going home and they want to stay in hospital! Even a very good concert never left so many emotions in children’s minds. Can you imagine how much happiness the projector brought to the children, as they want to stay! Thank you very much again for this!

You have left now, but the memories of your visit are still here with us. Today we had a talk with the elder girls about your visit with Tony. We were talking about such wonderful people as you, who have BIG HEARTS, who are able to open these big hearts to other people, who suffer greatly and who have problems. People who have had their own difficulties and problems in life, hasn’t become indifferent, more over their hearts are so huge, that they gave a place there for the children from another part of the world, – from Belarus. Their hearts are as strong as they were able to make the children’s sufferings into happiness and pleasure, being with these people.

Thank you for helping my patients to come through their sufferings and get hope and happiness!

Elena Klochko.
Psychologist of the Children’s Cancer Hospital Minsk ( Belarus)

This is why the members of our link do what we do, and every year open our hearts and homes to host the unfortunate child victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster who live in Belarus. Hosting is for four weeks during the summer and offer a life changing opportunity to the children who are still suffering the aftermath of the horrific Chernobyl nuclear disaster. But with the problems of Belarus and Chernobyl put aside the children can enjoy themselves while receiving a much needed recuperative break. The link usually brings a group of around 18 – 20 consisting of children and their leader to the UK who stay with host families in and around our area. Breathing our clean uncontaminated air and eating our fresh clean nutritious food boosts the children`s immune systems which can last up to 2 years, hopefully adding to their life expectancy and offering some hope in their difficult lives. This is further enhanced with the provision of a two years supply of multi vitamins for each child on their return home to complement their poor diet at home.

It`s a truly wonderful life changing experience for everyone involved. My children and I host every year and we all absolutely love it. We all enjoy the day trips and visits to numerous places around our area, with everyone getting involved and having fun. The children both English and Belarussian mix well forming strong bonds and becoming firm friends…many even referring to each other as “Belarusian or English brothers and sisters”. It is such a rewarding and enjoyable experience and the children will take home with them hope and memories which will last a lifetime.

If you would like to know more about our charity and the work of the Chernobyl Children Life Line, would like to offer your help, offer support either by donating towards the cost of bringing the children to the UK or you are interested in hosting one of these wonderful but less fortunate children then please get in touch. You really can make a difference to a child’s life.

Contact;
Richard A Street (Chairman)
Chernobyl Children Life Line (Pinxton and East Derbyshire Link)
91 Wharf Road, Pinxton,
Derbyshire.
NG16 6LH
Tel: 01773 810712/07816 913787
Email: richard-street@btconnect.com
Website:www.ccll.org.uk/pinxton

Dan & Kate’s Recent Trip To ASHA in Orlando!

It was with great heartache that Marketing Manager Dan and Product Manager Kate left the cold drizzly grey UK and flew out to Orlando in November to go to the ASHA Convention. ASHA – The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association get together on a massive scale with hundreds of seminars over 5 days and an exhibition area.

Dan & Kate took this opportunity to meet with existing suppliers and also to look at new products that are available across the pond that we can bring to Rompa and to Winslow to develop the speech and language product range! (As well as an opportunity to soak up a bit of winter Sun and enjoy the local surroundings!)

We met a lot of fantastic people and saw a lot of great products so keep a look out for them in 2015!

Romanian Retreat, Casa Harului (House of Grace)

In March 2014 an Occupational Therapist wrote a lovely letter to us asking for donations for a Mission Trip organised by the Hilton and Barn Churches based in Inverness. They were going to provide therapeutic input for disadvantaged children at a Romanian retreat, Casa Harului (House of Grace). We provided a large quantity of foam for seating adaptions, a therapy roll and staff members sent up hand-made sock monsters and toys as well as three large bags of sensory/craft materials for use during the trip.

For more information please contact team co-ordinator Mike Robertson on 01463 239 785. Read on to find out how Morven and the team got on.


Dear Tania,

On Monday 28th July, 10 children with disabilities aged 2-10 years old (either Down’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy or Autistic Spectrum Disorder) arrived at Casa Harului with their parent or grandmothers to stay for respite, whilst their children/grandchildren participated in the holiday camp programme. 18 orphaned children ranging from 12-16 years also attended with one of the Orphanages’ carers. What wonderful children they all were.

Our first day was spent meeting the children and forming relationships  with them, and helping them to settle into the holiday camp. Thereafter, there was a daily programme following the Biblical theme of “Creation”. After breakfast, some of the team played with the children and used the sensory-motor toys, which were purchased for their use, and the ones donated. The children then heard the Bible message for that day, whilst I did a teaching session daily for the parents, on different daily living activities – positioning & handling, feeding, dressing, hand function/play – and they got the opportunity to ask questions specific to their children and needs. We had a disabled adult interpreter to assist.

Following this, the kids engaged in a craft activity relating to what they had heard in the Bible teaching – we made light-reflective mobiles, clay birds/fish, “grass” heads, painted stones and added glow-in-the-dark stars & moon, animal felt puppets. All creative and sensory, and lots of fun. We also did some creative prayers e.g. thanking God for things we can see, hear, feel, taste and smell. After lunch I spent time with parents/grandparents identifying ways I could help their children with sitting, feeding and providing activities for visual impairment. I adapted some pushchairs and wheelchairs to provide better support using high density foam that was donated, and using strapping and buckles or sew-on Velcro. The afternoon session was a general craft. The children decorated bags, T-shirts, we did face painting and we did sensory stations (feely boxes, shaving foam & paint, glittery play dough, made “smelly” tissue paper flowers, made peppermint & orange fondant creams, feely bowls with rice/sand). After dinner we had time to worship together, some children even did some solo singing and played instruments – they were awesome!

It was overall a wonderful “family” atmosphere, much love was shared, lots of joy was seen, and the place and setting was so full of peace. On the last day the children and leaders made a large collage together depicting the days of creation. It was colourful, full of texture and very creative!

It was hard to say goodbye to the children and parents/grandmothers on Sunday 3rd August, as we had got close to over the space of a week. They were thankful for the help and love received. Never before had they received such acceptance, practical help or been equipped to deal with their children before. It was a blessing for them and for all the team. We handed over to Barn Church team for the second week of mission. They would be greeting another group of disabled children attending the camp for a week on the Monday as we left to return home. All the large items donated were left at Casa Harului for others to get the benefit from. Some of the purchased items I got from Rompa were issued to parents to take home for their children – tactile toys, scissors, pencil grips – the rest of the items were donated to Casa Harului. I made up a feely bag for one boy with cerebral palsy and severe visual impairment to play tactile games with, he and his mother were delighted.

All the crafts the children made were put in the bags they decorated, and a “Nessie” keyring, Haribo sweets and a sock monster were added They took their goodie bag home with them when they departed from the camp. I saw some of the little ones holding their sock monsters in their hands as they drove away!

Some of these children have never had a holiday before, nor have they had so much stimulation and fun during the school holidays, so it was a blessing to give them that, with all our fundraising. All the crafts the children made were put in the bags they decorated, and a “Nessie” keyring, Haribo sweets and a sock monster were added They took their goodie bag home with them when they departed from the camp. I saw some of the little ones holding their sock monsters in their hands as they drove away!

It was truly wonderful to be part of the team, and it would not have been as special, without your generous and useful donations. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  We really appreciate your support.

Kind regards,

Morven Ball  & Hilton & Barn Church Youth mission teams (Inverness)

Visitors from Across the Pond

This week we welcomed George Carmel and Crystal Paulitzki to Rompa HQ. George is the CEO of Flaghouse Inc, the company that owns Rompa, and Crystal is General Manager of Flaghouse’s Canadian operation.

Rompa and FlaghouseThe week was filled with productive meetings with Rompa suppliers and several of our international partners also made the journey to Chesterfield to take advantage of the opportunity to meet George and Crystal in person.  One of Crystal’s primary roles is the promotion of Snoezelen in Canada and her first trip to Rompa revealed lots of opportunities for collaboration in the future.

Thanks to George and Crystal for taking the time out of their busy schedules to come and see us.

A week at FlagHouse Canada

Toronto's CN Tower

Toronto’s CN Tower

In November of last year I spent a week at the FlagHouse office in Toronto, Canada working with their designer Tom Heber, and the rest of the team. Everybody made me very welcome and made my first experience of Canada a memorable one.

The time spent with Tom was valuable on many levels, not only to introduce him to his brand new software, but beyond this I made new friends and it has bought the working relationship of the two companies closer together.

During the week at work I did manage to fit in some sight seeing and experience some of what Toronto has to offer. I saw the city at dusk and night; I also experienced dinner at the top of the CN Tower in the revolving restaurant. Once I got over the initial slightly queasy feeling of motion sickness I sat back and enjoyed a lovely dinner and conversation while taking in the amazing views over the city and the lake.

Since leaving Canada I have maintained contact with Tom and we speak most days to discuss software and design projects. I have left not only having seen Canada but also shared professional experiences and made new friends.

I feel very privileged to have been able to travel with work and to have such a warm welcome from our parent company across the pond.

From Russia wi’ Love…

Jason Fletcher

Jason Fletcher

Rompa travelled to Russia to support our long standing and valued partners Rehab and Medical through a week of public events. We met people from all sectors of health care from students in colleges, to Ministers of social services and health care.

The Conference Room

The Conference Room

We travelled from Kazan to Moscow, to spread the word of Snoezelen with evidence based research and practices, which was kindly provided through the work of Dr Lesley Collier. We also explained innovative technologies and environmental control for caring and preventative measures delivered by yours truly.

Jason, Lesley and the Rehab Medical Team

Jason & Lesley and the Rehab and Medical Team

“I never ceased to be amazed by the commitment and effort that is obvious within health care providers. In Russia, the passion to respond to worldwide recognised challenges is very much present and active.”

We presented lectures at a Technical college in Kazan to talk with students who are learning about sensory environments, and who are still striving to find their specific professional area of interest.

Finally we delivered seminars to existing Rehab and Medical customers who are either in need of re-vamping existing equipment, or who wished to further understand the current state of equipment and updated research available.

“I personally feel honoured to have been a part of this exciting venture through Russia, and I feel privileged to have worked with professionals within Russia’s care sectors performing at the highest level.”

“I must have drunk my own body weight in vodka. It would have been rude not to though…..”