For those affected with cancer, treatment period is difficult. Of course it is expensive and prolonged and in many cases painful also. But for children, the treatment period become worse if they miss school and lose friends.
Cankids…Kidscan, a family support group working for children with cancer and their families based at New Delhi, takes an active role in bringing this children back to school and thus by improve their morale to face difficult times in life.
Cankids provides a range of services to children which include:
- Medical assistance for treatment and investigations
- Emotional and psychological support
- And most importantly Education for children during childhood cancer and effective reintegration of the child in the society
Usually the children are kept out of school during the first phase of treatment as they undergo different cancer treatment therapies like chemotherapies, surgeries, radiation and so on. Cancer treatment reduces their immunity and increases the risk of infections. During the treatment and after, the child and the family need support to enable the child to continue with his/her education.
Factors involved in not sending the child back to school are:
- Lack of finance(the entire income is already spent on treatment)
- Lack of desire and motivation to go back to studies due to lose of health , self esteem and lose of friends and even the late side-effects of cancer treatment.
- After effects of prolonged treatment. (Often children may not want to be separated from parents and parents become over-anxious )
Education and reintegration programs implemented by Cankids…Kidscan to bring children back to school and to life are:
- Learning activity program at clinics and Canshala schools
- Educational assistance and sponsorship program
- Facilitation and mentoring Program
- Kidscan Konnect (KCK) Program
Learning Activity Program at clinics:
The learning activity program is implemented at the hospitals to provide the child an atmosphere of school and to continue the learning process even during treatment without going out of the hospital.
Besides learning and other academic activities, the program also includes outings, picnics, education excursions etc. All festivals are celebrated at clinics so that the child familiarizes with Indian culture. Over 3000 children are benefitting every month through these non-formal Learning activity clinics in Hospitals.
These are schools where the child continues his/her studies formally. These schools are in collaboration with the BMC school in Mumbai. The child studies formally here and continues his education during treatment and gets back to the previous school where he studies after his treatment.
Education Assistance :
Through this program, we motivate and help the child to join school after treatment by providing financial help and guidance.
280 children have received financial support for regular School/ College education through our Educational Assistance Program.
We provide educational assistance of
- Rs. 5000/year upto 5th std
- Rs 6000 /year from 6th to 8th standard
- Rs 7,500/year from 9th and above
The scholarship program is for children who are cancer survivors and for children undergoing treatment.
The aim is to:
a. Recognize the indomitable courage and honour the bravery and spirit of the children who show exceptional will and determination to succeed and excel in various aspects of life despite their battle with cancer.
b. To encourage and motivate cancer-affected children to pursue a normal and natural academic and extra-curricular life.
c. To prove the society that cancer is a disease that can be tackled with a positive attitude and spirit.
Sponsoring a child means support for his/her education through school and college
These are children:
a. affected with cancer and being thrown out of school because their parents cant pay their fees
b. of our parent support group (who come back to work actively and support the cause)
c. who are siblings of children who become terminally ill and/or die and from financially struggling families.
- Career counseling and guidance
- School fees and regular communication with School Authority
- Admission and Readmissions
- Waivers, and other concessions
- Stigma and psycho social issues
- Sensitizing school children/classes when a child in the school/class has cancer
It is the movement of childhood cancer survivors, with a view of spreading the message of Childhood Cancer is Curable.
We believe they are the real champions to give the HOPE to the world that the cancer can be treated and have a very normal life.
At present the KCK has units in most of the Northern Hospital Units and a new chapter is opened in Chennai.
D-7/7, Vasant Vihar,
New Delhi- 110057,
Phone : +91-11-41663670/71/72
Fax : +91-11-41663671, Helpline : +91 9810002791
Web : www.cankidsindia.org
This article was first published in the India edition of ehospice. Visit this edition for more palliative and end of life care news and features from India.