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Published: January 31st 2013
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Customer Service at the LSF Workshop. Occupational Therapists. Speech Therapists. Physiotherapists. Remedial Masseurs. Organisational Assistant. Grant Writers. Graphic Designers/Wordpress/Computer Gurus with Microsoft Office knowledge (specifically excel) for assistance with bookkeeping/management. IT Database Consultant. Contact us:- http://www.lifestartfoundation.org.au/contact
Towards the end of 2012 we commenced outreach work at a Homeless Shelter for aged and disabled youth and adults.
The shelter is "home" for approximately 130 residents.
They have a bed, albeit bare wood or metal, they are given some food which never looks inviting or nutritious and they have a roof over their head, but not much else. Actually nothing else except each other.
This is IT
for most of the residents that for one reason or another have found their way to this place or have been placed or left there.
Some of the residents are old and frail, many of whom have had strokes or who are profoundly disabled and bedridden. Many residents have very complex disabilities with conditions ranging from Cerebral Palsy, Polio, Agent Orange related disabilities, Down Syndrome and probably many conditions that are not diagnosed. Many can't walk, many can't talk.
I have learned much through my involvement with these people about non-verbal communication and still have a lot more to learn! When we remove talking as a means of communication you are left with just a lovely shift
of energy between two people or in this case a group of people.
I struggle with the question "why do we have endless patience with our dear non-verbal animal friends and our darling babies who can’t talk ?"... but adults who are non-verbal seem to be cast aside with little or no patience shown by others to try to communicate with them.
Despite the bleakness of their surroundings and the somewhat hopelessness of the situation that they are in, the Lifestart Foundation team are always greeted with smiles from ear to ear, exuberance and enthusiasm from each and every gorgeous person there.
We are offering Physiotherapy sessions three times per week to help with mobility and wellness and a recently commenced Activity afternoon is providing stimulation and therapy via art and craft sessions.
Both Physio and Activities afternoons are I am sure the highlight of an extremely long and boring week. Both sessions are available to young and old, actually anyone who can make their way into the room can join in. Some are wheeled in and some literally crawl in. I have never seen such enthusiasm to
be part of a class or session! The residents benefit from both Physio and Activity time on so many levels that I probably can't put into words adequately.
Suffice to say that the Lifestart Foundation team gives buckets of love, kindness and humanity to a group of gorgeous people who have been starved of the most basic of human rights.
My sincere thanks to our Physio team Alison (Australia) and Sang (Vietnam) and our Activities co-ordinators Sheila (U.K) and Carmen (Germany) and Hien (Vietnam) for their work at this shelter.
To improve the lives of these people is an enormous task, one which we are approaching slowly, gently and carefully.
At all times keeping the best interests of the residents as the main priority. This is a government run shelter and we are presented with many challenges almost daily.
One of our more recent supporters Steph from Dubai has written a fabulous blog about her experience at the shelter with our team a few weeks ago. It is a great read with some terrific photos. Take the time click here... maybe have a box of tissues on hand
too.... http://sweetnektar.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/life-is-like-a-box-of-chocolates/ Read more about the Lifestart Foundation Free Disability Community Centre by clicking here Read the previous blog about the Lifestart Foundation Free Disability Community Centre here
UPDATE FROM THE LIFESTART FOUNDATION FREE DISABILITY COMMUNITY CENTRE Interested in Volunteering?
Arm yourself with as much information as possible about your host organisation, read their website thoroughly and I would suggest that you read this blog on International Volunteering
For those of you who are little techno challenged like myself if you click on any of the words in blue it will automatically link you into that subject. Don't forget to have a look at our new website and find out how you too can support us from anywhere in the world.
Lots of Love from Karen www.lifestartfoundation.org.au
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Visit us at: LIFESTART FOUNDATION WORKSHOP
77 Phan Chau Trinh Street, HOI AN. VIETNAM You can read the blogs of previous Lifestart Foundation volunteers on the links below. Meet Sahar from the UK Al and Robbie Meet Trisha from New Zealand Art Classes with Lone from Denmark 9th August 2011 Ruth: Teaching English in Vietnam 31st May 2011 E: Why Vietnam Rocks 9th Dec 2010 Sue: Capacity Building and Cleaning Up Mud 29th July 2010 Mark and Mary: Teaching English as a Second Language November 2009 Tropical Storm Ketsana - A picture is worth a thousand words Cycle Vietnam for a Worthy Cause – Jan 17th 2009 Doctor John – Jan 14th 2009 Memory Portraits – Jan 14th 2009 Birdman Returns – Jul 15th 2008 Meet Sherry – A dream volunteer – Apr 30th 2008
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