Inclusion & empowerment makes H2O stand out from the rest
From childhood, Jolly Johnson was interested in social work. A passion that was encouraged by her parents and teachers, who also inspired her to lend a helping hand to the needy.
In her teenage years, she decided to do something unique. She collected her pocket money and got a brand new wheelchair for a disabled person, who had been stuck indoors for lack of mobility. She could not afford a wheelchair. By her one gesture Jolly had changed her life.
Jolly was sure that she had found her calling, which was to work with disabled people. This led to the birth in 2012, of Helping Hands Organization (H2O) at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala.
Jolly says she could not have started this without the support of the eight other people who supported this initiative. The activities of the NGO are spread across Kerala. They have two centres in Thiruvananthapuram that are mainly for kids with autism.
Currently, they have nearly 80 children in both their centres starting from the ages of three years. Apart from academics, they are vocational skills so that going ahead they can stand on their feet.
I hope to make H2O an exclusive village for children with autism and other disabilities. They must be able to learn new things from our space. It must also make them independent later on in life. For that, we need expert trainers and high technology. Most importantly, people must change their attitudes towards disabilities. – Jolly Johnson, Co-founder, Helping Hands Organization.
H2O says it has over 12,000 volunteers in different parts of Kerala. The NGo focuses on three things. The primary one is their focus on kids with special needs. They also recah out to elderly people across Kerala. Then they help children without disabilities who need support.
Like many other NGOs, H2O faces their share of challenges. With no government support, they sometime struggle to make ends meet. With the support of a few donors, they are able to keep their activities going.
“We have a few disabled staff including a wheelchair user and a blind person. They are doing extremely well with us. I believe more skilled people must come forward for empowering disabled people. This sector needs more talented people. Recently, one of our volunteers who passed out as an engineer decided to join us. She works with our centre now. That is the kind of change I am looking forward from youngsters around us”, signs off Jolly.