It’s teatime. Serenade and mom, Elahe prepare a vibrant platter for the children. They sneak in veggies, nuts, and fruits wherever they can. The children, ages 2 and up spend their days at Tasputra Perkim doing physiotherapy and occupational therapy, besides aquatherapy and hippotherapy (purposeful swimming and horseriding lessons), and more.
These children are special, most of them severely disabled. So founder Elahe emphasises nutrition. Sugary and highly processed foods either result in manic or low moods. “Even regular veggies – pesticides and all – don’t sit well with the kids. They get a glaze in their eyes, and are just not themselves”, Serenade explains.
Packing in the nutrition is important, because most of the children come from low income families who cannot afford quality produce. So their daily dose of vitamins, minerals, and fibre are lovingly designed into breakfast, lunch, and teatime menus. Sometimes it’s rice porridge with carrots and Asian greens. Other times, like now, it’s a veggie wrap with egg salad, murtabbal (eggplant dip), and a green juice.
Elahe is queen of the kitchen. She lovingly whips up food for the children as though they were her own. Everything is considered: add honey for wholesome sweetness, soak the almonds so they’re easy to chew, add rice to vegetables to satiate those precious tummies. Fibre is key for a child’s health, especially one who cannot put into words how they feel.
“These veggies are beautiful, we don’t waste a single piece. We cook them, serve them raw, or give them to the children’s and workers’ families to take home. We try to educate them on the impact of nutrition on wellbeing. We are so grateful for such wonderful produce.”
Tasputra Perkim is a not-for-profit day-care training centre for children with special needs. They help low-to-middle income families who cannot afford to send their children to private centres. They depend on donations and support to help every child who enters their door. Anyone is welcome.