Central Institute on Mental Retardation is the executive wing of the All Kerala Association for the Mentally Retarded (AKAMR) which works for the total development of the mentally challenged which includes the Developmental Centre for the Mentally Retarded (DCMR),DPI Junction hiruvanathapuram and Ashakendram, Kairakamuri, Ernakulam , which are special schools for the mentally challenged students, Jeevan Prakash Child Centre(JPCC), Montessori Kindergarten, Teacher's Training Centre at murinjapalam, Thiruvananthapuram, Agriculture-Horticultural Rehabilitation Farm for the Mentally Challenged, Kuttichal, and Freedom Centre which is a centre for Performing Arts for and by the mentally challenged are the different development centers managed by Central Institute on Mental Retardation( CIMR).
Each centre reflects the philosophy of CIMR which dedicates itself to the total development of the mentally Challenged individual. The different centers represent the various facets of development and interaction that were fostered by CIMR embodied by its motto "Not Less Than You".
Freedom Centre the centre for performing Arts for and by the mentally challenged has grown out of the conviction that the Mentally Challenged irrespective of the degree of their disability can develop into good performers of art given proper care, training and continuous practice. The performance of a contingent of students from CIMR securing the 2nd prize during the Republic Day Parade 1999 stands as a true testament to this fact.
The eye opening fact being that the judges had no knowledge whatsoever about the special status of these students, while judging their merit.
Rev. Fr. Thomas Felix CMI and his team of sisters is the power house behind this effort, striving for the welfare of the mentally challenged for the last Forty Years. Freedom Centre was envisaged as a performing and training centre for mentally challenged students. A place for not only teaching, and also providing a venue for the students to showcase their talents to their families and to the nation as a whole, their to assure them that more than equal to their brother and sister and to the world that they are not a liability but equal citizens who can earn their living if the world can accept their talent and expertise and give them appropriate postings in public schools as special teacher assistants.
The centre was originally inaugurated on 28th May 2000 in a 32 cent plot with an old building and an open air auditorium by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who is now the president of our country then in his capacity as Principal, Scientific Advisor to Government of India. Freedom Centre is the world's first Centre of Performing Arts for and by the Mentally Challenged.
Today in the same plot a modern auditorium with the capacity to seat 80 people, accommodation for 20 students, 5 teachers, class rooms, kitchen, and dining rooms have been developed. The centre provides world class facilities for the training and a venue for the performance of these skills as part of the learning experience.
The Freedom Centre will admit a maximum of 5 students a year, and the course duration will be 3 years. They will have an opportunity to be trained in the performing arts, dance, drama, and in the skillful handling of various musical instruments under the guidance of experts in the respective fields. The candidates will have completed 10+2 in the special schools and will have a proven record and interest in the area of performing arts and musical instruments. The first batches of students have already completed their first year of training.
Fr. Felix's vision sees these super kids getting absorbed into the system as teachers of art in special schools and thus enabling their long term integration into society. On the 20th of May, 2007 we are stepping closer to realizing these dreams with the dedication of the Freedom Centre to our nation.