Wentworthville fundraiser for disabled western Sydney youth

Since she became a client of the Baulkham Hills-based North West Disability Services last year, Santoshi Ramarathinam has blossomed.

"NWDS, it's a beautiful community. There are parents from so many different parts of the world, and we’re united because all of our children have a special need in some way. We share experiences and challenges so that we are not the only ones," says Santoshi’s mother, Akila Ramarathinam, 51, of Kellyville. Photo: Geoff Jones

"NWDS, it's a beautiful community. There are parents from so many different parts of the world, and we’re united because all of our children have a special need in some way. We share experiences and challenges so that we are not the only ones," says Santoshi’s mother, Akila Ramarathinam, 51, of Kellyville. Photo: Geoff Jones

Before joining the NWDS post-school community participation program, the severely autistic 19-year-old, who has no speech and a hearing impairment, would hide behind her mother when confronted with new people. Today, Santoshi enjoys new company just about every day.

‘‘The fear is gone,’’ said Santoshi’s mother, Akila Ramarathinam, 51, of Kellyville.

‘‘Every day, she gets a new carer — and that’s what we wanted. She’s very cheerful and eating well, there’s improvement in every area. You can see just by her behaviour she’s happy to be there.’’

To mark 30 years of NWDS support for clients across western Sydney, the Vishva Hindu Parishad of Australia has invited community members to a May 24 fund-raiser at the Redgum Function Centre, Wentworthville, to enjoy an evening of classical Hindu dance, music and vegetarian food.

‘‘The aim is an inter-cultural event,’’ Mrs Ramarathinam said. ‘‘Please buy tickets, it’s a good cause. We need more NWDS facilities in so many suburbs.’’

Choreographer Hamsa Venkat said dancers from Lalor Park’s Samskriti School of Dance would perform the ancient Indian dance of Bharathanatyam, which  dates back 3000 years, accompanied by live music by singer Krishna Ramarathinam, traditional drum (mridangam) player Pallavan Nagendran and violinist Varun Ramakrishnan.

NWDS manager Deb Richter said funds raised at the Prana event would go towards a new commuter bus to meet clients’ community access needs.

Tickets: Adults $25, concession $20, children under five free. Details: 9686 4155.

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