If you’re reading this and are not disabled then you are among the fortunate majority of Indian population that does not have to live with a disability and has access to education and employment as a basic right.The other 3.8% of Indian population, unfortunately, has some or the other form of physical disability which deprives them from having access to equal opportunities towards education and employment in our system and society.
Recently I got injured and had to wear a cast in one leg for about 15 days. Life with only one fully functional limb was a revelation to me. I could appreciate the hundreds of obstacles that a differently-abled person must face in their daily life. Be it crossing streets or walking on roads riddled with potholes or going up a few flights of stairs – it opened my eyes to the plight of millions of persons with disabilities who are bravely battling it out and still holding their head high with or without support and guidance from us.
Fortunately there are people and organizations that are working selflessly and tirelessly, to uplift and empower these specially abled brave-hearts.
Shishu Sarothi is one such non -profit organization that has been working with a proven track record in the area of early intervention and rehabilitation, education, arranging livelihoods, providing advocacy and legal aid and creating awareness for children and persons with disabilities in North East India since 1987 .
They have been working towards creating an inclusive world where children and persons with disabilities have equal opportunities and are empowered to participate freely and live fully with dignity and respect.
How does Shishu Sarothi empower the Disabled?
Shishu Sarothi has 13 dedicated units that cater to specific needs of the person enrolled with them including –
1. The Early Intervention Unit – This unit offers services for early detection, screening and management of high risk babies and infants for diseases that can cause disabilities.
2. The Centre for Inclusive and Vocational Education (CIVE) – This unit is run like a regular school with the big difference being in chalking up Individualized Educational Programs for each child. The parents are closely involved throughout the training program. Multi-sensory and low cost teaching learning materials are designed and provided for more effective teaching and learning experiences.
3.The Information and Communication Technology Laboratory (I.C.T.L.) – This unit is responsible for imparting comprehensive computer aided training programs for the children and make them proficient in basic applications and to build their computer skills.
4. The Training and Human Resource Development Division -This unit runs government approved training programs with the aim of creating a cadre of trained rehabilitation professionals.
5.The counselling unit – The Unit assists parents in understanding the special needs of their child by assessing psycho social aspects related to disability, and to cope and manage the situation.
6. The Disability law Unit (North East) – The DLU offers help in litigation, conducts sensitization programs for all tiers of the public and advocates policy changes in favor of the disabled.
7. Disability Employment Unit – It empowers the disabled by facilitating access to employment opportunities both in the public and private sector.
SUCCESS STORIES –
Rida Arman Hazarika , a child who was diagnosed with Delayed Developmental milestones , though she was physically independent, she had a habit of pinching herself and being very aggressive at times. She was also socially shy and lacked self-confidence and did not get well with others .Her parents were worried as they wanted her to have a regular schooling.
After regular counselling and Behavior modification sessions,along with I.C.T. lab training to boost her confidence and skills, Rida has made significant improvement , her self-confidence has upped and she has been able to make friends and socialize, her aggressiveness has reduced and she now helps her mother at home. Not only this but most importantly Rida cleared her 10th standard exam from National Institute of Open Learning (N.I.O.S.) scoring 75% and is now pursuing her 11th Std from N.I.O.S.
Debotri Dutta – This young girl was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegic CP .C.P. is a condition that affects the movements, coordination, mental development and even vision, speech and skeletal system of the person affected.She could neither walk properly nor speak properly when she was brought to Shishu Sarothi. Her parents were clueless about how to deal with her.
She has been undergoing sessions at ther Functional Unit where she is being imparted pre-vocational training and the ICT for computer skills .Her parents were regularly counselled and the parents are now supportive of her.Debotri can now do basic calculations and write her and her parents’ names, she has learned the skill of block printing and beading as part of vocational training to lead an independent life .Her parents are now hopeful of a better future for Debotri .
Rida Hazarika, Debotri Dutta , Tamanna Mahanta ,Pooja Das are just a few success stories of children whose lives have taken a turn for the better and who are finding their foothold in this competitive world through Sishu Sirohi.
Timely diagnosis, intervention, counselling and vocational training and legal help are the keywords when it comes to taking care of a disabled child.
Most importantly funding,resources and encouragement from the government are intrinsic if we want more Tamannas and Ridas to come out of the shadows, spread their wings and soar.
World Bank data on the total number of persons with disabilities in India suggests in between 40 to 80 million. It's very surprising that Their numbers are more than the total population of many countries in the world, and India has one of the highest numbers of people with disabilities globally.
persons with disabilities live a very challenging life. Their ‘disability’ is often seen as their ‘inability'.. There have been many cases where employers have denied a job to a candidate with a disability, citing the usual ‘not found suitable’.
The main problem lies in the psyche which considers persons with disabilities a liability, and this leads to discrimination and harassment against them and their isolation from the mainstream. We have a moral duty to remove the barriers to participation, and to invest sufficient funding and expertise to unlock the vast potential of people with disabilities. Most importantly,persons with disabilities should themselves be made active participants in the development process.
better education and more access to jobs, people with disabilities can become an integral part of society, as well as to earn their living by themselves.
Sometimes having a scare like a broken leg can help remind us of all of the blessings that we truly have. I am thankful for these organizations and people who have seen great success. Everyone needs support, especially people who live with disabilities.
Yes , the broken leg opened my eyes to what others are going through on daily basis.I am grateful that I am not deprived and that makes me feel that I ought to do something for those who do not have the luxury of being normal.
What an amazing organization that Shishu Sarothi is with all of their efforts to care for the Indian people. There are so many people with miscellaneous disabilities in the world but organizations like Shishu Sarothi amaze me with how they work to help. I love how Shishu Sarothi takes the time to work with different levels of disabilities while still trying to treat them as "normal".
I love reading about organizations like this. We all should be grateful for organizations like this. It makes me feel good to know that there is true selflessness and a genuine compassion for others in this world.
Thanks Ramona ! For all the good work that they are doing – money and resources are still a problem .So it would be great if you spread the word.If everyone makes a small contribution, it can become a a big help.
I'm really sorry that you had to go through that, but very greatful that you chose to share your experience of enlightenment afterwards. Things like that really do help us slow down and enjoy what we do have. I'm glad you're doing better and that you have so much information about these kids and the organization. Keep it up!
I love how the organization has been able to incorporate compassion and kindness for the disabled. They need all the support they can get as you said and it's inspiring to know you're doing a great work by putting in the best you can for them.
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