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Walking towards hope

R Sriram Srinivas, who has multiple disabilities—mental retardation and spastic diplegia—takes a breather during his yoga session at home. P Settu, his yoga therapist, who has been teaching Sriram two years now, says that Sriram used to be inattentive and restless, but now follows instructions well and has mellowed down significantly.  



Images and text by Naveen P M

Walking towards hope (2/9)

M Vanitha, Sriram's teacher, helps Sriram wear his dance apparel before the start of the 'World Differently Abled Day Cultural Programme' at Don Guanella Special School in Chennai. Due to Sriram's condition, simple tasks such as putting on clothes can become a chore and he often ends up needing some assistance. 


Walking towards hope (3/9)

Sriram rides his bicycle—fitted with a custom-made backrest—flanked by special education teacher, G V Arumugam. Arumugam has known Sriram for 15 years and was initially hired to teach him basic reading and writing skills. On Sriram's parents' request, he started to assist Sriram in walking and then taught him how to ride a bicycle so he could improve his muscle tone. 

Read Sriram's story here


Walking towards hope (4/9)

R Devi helps Sriram read a clock at Sai Sri Ram Training Centre. Sriram has difficulty reading and writing even basic words, and has a hard time grasping universal concepts such as time, date, and money. Devi is Sriram's favorite teacher. Sai Sri Ram Training Centre has eight students with special needs, two teachers, and a domestic help. The school functions from 10 am to 3 pm and keeps the students busy with a plethora of activities such as coloring, computer games, and yoga.


Walking towards hope (5/9)

M R Karthik, physical trainer, subjects Sriram to one of the many "balancing exercises" to improve his balance and correct his "scissor gait". Karthik has been training Sriram for the last two years. "In the beginning, Sriram could hardly stand for a minute on his own and displayed a lot of traits commonly seen in persons with Intellectual Disability (ID), such as lack of eye contact, droning, drooling...," says Karthik.

Read Sriram's story here


Walking towards hope (6/9)

Sriram and his classmates from Sai Sri Ram Training Centre perform to a medley of Bollywood songs at the 'World Differently Abled Day Cultural Programme' held in Don Guanella Special School, Chennai. P Dharani Kumar, a professional choreographer, composed the dance moves for this performance. He visits the school every weekend to teach dance to these students. "Sriram usually has trouble recollecting and executing my dance moves but he stepped his game up through some spontaneous moves," he said. 

Read Sriram's story here

Walking towards hope (7/9)

Sriram is ecstatic after receiving a silver medal for the Standing Long Jump event. His driver, D Alvin (right), and Sriram's mother, R Vanitha, gather around to congratulate him, at the Special Olympics Sports Meet held on YMCA Grounds, Chennai. Sriram shares a special bond with Alvin and the two can often be seen engaging in healthy banter. 


Walking towards hope (8/9)

Sriram does a lap of backstroke at The League Club, Chennai. His parents introduced him to swimming at the age of seven after a doctor suggested hydropathy as treatment. Sriram has been training under U Sathish Kumar, swim coach for children with special needs, for one year now. Sriram won four gold medals in as many events at two swim meets for para-athletes held last year in Tamil Nadu.


Walking towards hope (9/9)

Dr J Paul Devasagayam, Area Director, Special Olympics Bharat, Tamil Nadu, reviews Sriram Srinivas's progress with his mother, R Vanitha, during one of their monthly meetings at his 100-square-foot office in Purasawalkam, Chennai.


Is your workplace creating an environment of stress?

The WHO lists the factors that make a workplace stressful and offers suggestions on how organizations can reduce employees' workplace stress
Aaheli Dasgupta

What is workplace stress?

Any response people may have when presented with work demands and pressures, and which challenges their ability to cope can be called workplace stress.

How is work pressure different from workplace stress?

Pressure is a very important aspect of any workplace; it helps a person stay motivated and alert. However, when pressure becomes excessive, it can be more damaging than productive.

What makes a workplace stressful?

Stress is experienced by individuals differently. However many agree that the less support a person receives, the more likely they are to experience stress at work. It has been found that the way work has been designed and the way organizations are managed are primary factors that determine whether a workplace can be harmful. A reference document created by the WHO ( World Health Organization) terms these 'stress related hazards' and identify them in nine categories. These may serve as potential red flags to look out for. They include:

  • Lack of support from the organization (in terms of resources, help etc.)

  • Lack of clarity about organizational vision and practices

  • Poor communication from managers 

  • Unclear job role

  • Too much work or too little work

  • Lack of growth, financially or work-wise

  • Unequal/insufficient pay

  • Job insecurity

  • Little or no decision making power

  • Underutilization of skill

  • Inflexible or unpredictable working hours

  • Inadequate or unsupportive supervision

  • Poor working relationships

  • Bullying, harassment or violence

What could an organization do to make the workplace healthy?

Several organizational factors can influence or create stress related hazards at a workplace. An organization can ensure the following to make the workplace healthy:

  • Ensuring that employees are aware about the structure, practices and purpose of the organization

  • Ensuring that the job requirement and employee's skill match

  • Clear job role and expectations

  • Clear communication channels in the organisation

  • Ensuring an amicable workplace environment

This list has been curated from Work and Organization Stress by WHO.

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