Joy Mathew (Juju) is one of the students from Central Institute on Mental Retardation (CIMR) with Down-Syndrome. Juju has participated in the Para-Olympics Basketball competition which was held in Spain, 1992. In this competition, Juju was representing INDIA and was also a member in the Republic Day parade.
Juju’s achievements were spread in many fields for the disciplined life, attractive personality, achievements in physical and cultural activities. Being independent and efficient in lifestyle, Juju has become a role model for the mentally challenged persons to have an extra-ordinary life.
Juju was born in September 1972, as the second son of Adv.Vivekananda and Dr. Glorine at Kottayam district, Kerala, India. Juju was raised up with good facilities and care and it took some time for Dr. Glorine to notice the signs of mental disability in Juju. Like every mother, Dr. Glorine hoped that situation will improve and consulted many expert doctors for therapies.
Dr. Glorine understood that Juju needed special care from scientifically trained people. There was no much guidance on mental disability those days in India, so Dr. Glorine visited England for research purpose by Indian Government. The research was to understand about mental disability and the services offered for the mentally challenged people.
Fr. Thomas Felix CMI, the founder of CIMR and All Kerala Association for Mentally Retarded, became an exemplary for Kerala and throughout India, in the field of Mental Rehabilitation. Fr. Felix created different teaching methods for complete development of mentally challenged people which provides training such as singing, dancing & swimming, etc. Juju had minor improvements after receiving these trainings.
In 1960, Fr. Felix started travelling around India and abroad for several studies on mental retardation and visited around 40 countries to study the training method which were considered the best.
In the field of special education, Fr. Felix started the first school in Kerala named as AshaKendram and formed a new syllabus on complete mental and physical development of children.
CIMR and Developmental Center for the Mentally Retarded (DCMR) were founded in Trivandrum, Kerala, India and many other students were trained here with Juju. Children were trained with the concept of 3Cs – which is the basics of life. These showed great improvements which led to have the 3Cs concept with more practical and social learning activities for children. At DCMR, Fr. Felix started training on swimming and this helped the intellectual growth in children. The confidence and mental growth Juju received after swimming made his family immensely happy.
CIMR provided many opportunities for Juju. ParaOlympics in 1992 took place in Barcelona & Madrid, Spain and the basketball team that represented India was CIMR. Training provided under 3Cs and the sports training produced India’s best basketball team from CIMR. When the team represented India, Juju was in ‘standby’ position. Thus, CIMR team became a part of the event that had a sure space in history. Children excelled in National & International trips and performances and they got the recognition. Juju had great interest in playing veena and his teacher took great effort in showing and teaching him how to play. During cultural programme, Juju showed interest in playing ‘veena’ along with his friend AL Ameen. Father Felix strongly desired that his children should get more opportunities than normal children and should be capable of handling them. The opportunities given by Fr. Felix & his team through CIMR are incomparable. Dr. Glorine deeply believes today that the CIMR training transformed Juju’s life.
Veena as Juju’s instrument gave him big opportunities which took him to Delhi and more places for performing. Juju’s family specifically followed what Fr. Felix taught about special children’s ‘integration’ in the family. Today Juju is an asset to his family. Due to his development, he has almost an independent lifestyle today where all his duties can be done by himself without any help. Juju wakes up every morning at 4am and loves to exercise in his treadmill. After watering the plants, he reads the newspaper and Juju is often known by all as a perfect gentleman. Without comprehension, competency and creativity, development is impossible in mentally retarded children. Today Juju has a responsible job and he has become an important person among all staff as the formal student of CIMR and as an employee. Joy Mathew a down syndrome kid who reached CIMR at the age of 8, today is an employee with many responsibilities and an important member of his family. From the disabilities of down syndrome to the training under the syllabus of 3Cs, he achieved competency and success in life.
CIMR is an enabler of such extraordinary lives.