Clara D’Souza, Spark of Life Master

From Disability to Ability

By Clara D’Souza, Spark of Life Master Practitioner and Chief Operating Officer of Adhata Trust and founder of Adhata Community Centres in Mumbai, India.

Since November 2018, Clara has worked on introducing the Spark of Life Philosophy to her team of 18 Social workers, adding quality of life to the elderly they support in the 10 Day Centres.

It was a positive experience to introduce the Spark of Life Philosophy to my team of 18 social workers. It is the right time and the right place to practice this innovative idealogy for moving from the society’s perception of disability to ability. To add heart and soul into each any every member of the NGO (non-government organisation) Adhata Trust, working towards adding quality of life in the lives of the elderly with this practical philosophy of love, affection and care.

Since the education, in practice I can observe my team in their every step, practicing humanity by connecting with a loving heart to heart, soul to soul. I believe this is helping to build a strong bond of togetherness, which is motivating the staff to be more creative and in turn remain with our organisation. Each and every member coming to all ten centres are welcomed with smile and personal greeting. The young trained Coordinators experience joy of having the elderly with them and for the elderly it is an unconditional bond of love and belonging.

After the first team training we had the following feedback-

  • Ms.Dipti Joisher, Gerontologist: ‘I am glad that I have attended this training because it was very well explained in precise and simple manner.  Our Trust motto is to work towards enriching the human relationships and to develop the culture of care in our centers with unconditional love, and the Spark of Life Philosophy also speaks about the same. So to implement the Spark of Life Philosophy in our centers we need to give a special focus to the emotional needs of the person with dementia.
  • Ms.Anuradha, Masters of Human Development:  As a professional and Spark of Life Philosophy Practitioner, one needs to build the skills to connect with people (who has Dementia & Elderly), to have unconditional love for them, to have genuine concern for them.  The Spark of Life Philosophy gives hope to live their life meaningfully.

The Club Programs of Art based therapies, Zumba steps, Bollywood dance, Dance Movement Therapy,  and indoor sports activities keeps them energized and a reason to dress up to look forward for a dose of daily happiness rather than any pills. A medicinal herb of love and purpose is added in their beautiful garden of self.  A lady with  early onset dementia was enrolled to the centre and our first Spark of Life Education was just over so the Coordinators were equipped to make them a part of the Adhata Family. Further, she was involved in various activities, exercises, yoga and art based therapies, which helped her talk to those around her. A friendly environment with non-judgemental attitudes facilitated self-acceptance and her challenges were minimised.

Since some of the centres are in schools and colleges, the children interact with the elderly, they plan games and fun-filled activities, which nurture their emotional quotient and leaves a gleam in their eyes.

Since my graduation as a Spark of Life Master Practitioner my learning continues through their various modules designed by Dementia Care International to enhance our skills further. The first module was on Goal Setting, which so appropriate and a tool to segregate our goals for long and short term. It highlighted on how to remain focused on our goals and to priorities our work. Similarly, we had a learning session on Appreciative Inquiry, which help us to focus on the positive energies in the team and how it can be generated to build creative community. A strong and encouraging line taught is that being a Spark of Life Master Practitioner is a catalyst of inspiration for the team to go beyond the status quo and awaken a desire to bring positive change, to be driven by a passion for change, optimistic to see and dream of a different future.

For a developing country like India, where mental health is a taboo, dementia is memory loss and Alzheimer is a curse for the family and where caregiver is a challenge, we need  ambassadors of change to bring Spark of Life Philosophy to the masses. More Spark of Life Master Practitioners to work with empathy, unconditional love and ignite the spirit of humanity.