Tony Allinson, for 25 years associated with the Sylvia Wright Trust, the last five as a Chairman of the Trustees, was formally inducted as an Honorary member to Headingley Rotary at their January 16th meeting. He was proposed by Peter Woodhead, who had worked closely with Tony over the funding Headingley Rotary had organised for a new aqua-therapy pool for their unit for disabled children. A card to mark Sylvia’s 80th birthday was passed around for members to sign.
Tony followed this by a comprehensive illustrated talk on the Sylvia Wright Trust, from its inception in 1982 when Sylvia, a high-ranking nurse and trainer, moved to India to use her skills in an area with virtually no medical care. She first ran a mobile clinic, joined in 1985 by a hospital, replaced by a modern unit in 2002. The Indian state provision has improved so much since 1982 that she has been able to hand the hospital over to Indian doctors.
In 2009 she opened a Nursing College which originally offered 3-year diploma courses to 20 nurses per year – originally all female due to the accommodation. But of late, male nurses can be accommodated – this last year just one man joined, but they are confident numbers will grow as their examinations record is excellent.
Another facet of the charity is the School for the Deaf – which started 25 years ago. This has 200 children aged from 4 up to those taking A levels. Some move on into higher education. There have been enormous strides in provision over these 25 years. Physical screening of the children is done to ensure there is no curable physical cause of the deafness. Trained staff are used including specialist audiologists, speech therapists etc. Modern technology is used – all children are fitted with digital aids an initiative started when Rotary gave 37 pairs of aids, which were allocated to the youngest first. These are invaluable in aiding with hearing and consequently their speech. IT is taught in state-of-the-art classrooms. They work with “Hear the World” charity to equip students to take their place in a hearing world…students are taught in English (a valuable commodity in the jobs markets).
The most recent development is the provision of a quality day-care service for the disabled – replacing two very basic centres in a region where disability is widespread due to poverty, poor nutrition and cultural acceptance of cousin-marriage. The newest addition has been one with which Headingley Rotary has been involved – the provision of the hydro-therapy pool. This is used for physiotherapy – exercises are much less painful in warm water but also for relaxation and play for the children. A great deal of care had gone into the pool design and maintenance specification and they were pleased with the end result.
Tony was thanked for this inspiring presentation by his proposer, Peter Woodhead.