New Delhi [India], Sept 23 (ANI-NewsVoir): Taking the concept of inclusive education to villages, Adarsh Charitable Foundation with the support from Blind People's Association inaugurated a center for special education at the SS Rathode School, Mahudi, Gandhinagar on September 19.
Biju Mathew, Vice President and Head CSR, Adarsh Charitable Foundation, Dr. Bhushan Punani, Executive Secretary, Blind People's Association and Nandini Rawal, Executive Director, Blind People's Association were present at the event. Ishwarsinh Chavda, President, Sarva Seva Mandal, Mahudi and Former Minister, Government of Gujarat, Amarsinh Rathode, Secretary, Sarva Seva Mandal, Mahudi were also present.
Disability attracts a lot of stigma, mostly due to lack of awareness about the issue as well as the facilities available for persons with disabilities. Not only the person who is disabled, but even the family needs to be supported and helped to deal with the situation. Our field workers went door-to-door surveying not only in Mahudi but even the nearby villages to find any children with disabilities. Counseling the family and making them aware about the reasons why they should send their child to school was not an easy task.
Many parents refused to send their children to the school because it was far from their home and it was difficult to travel. Some parents also talked about the stigma, especially for the girl children, worried that it will affect their future as they may not be able to get them married. There was also fear that these children will be labelled as being sick or different and the family will be treated badly by the villagers.
Amid all these challenges, a total of 80 children have been identified across age groups. These children will be assessed by our special educators and based on their abilities they will be included in the regular schools and those with severe disabilities will be provided education in the special resource center in the school. For those children who cannot come to the center, home based education will be provided. In this group, children with learning disabilities like dyslexia or slow learners are also included.
This project adopts a three pronged approach:
-The field workers will go to schools in Mahudi and nearby villages and identify children with special needs. They will go to these schools and teach the children in the school premises.
-The field workers will make home visits and identify children with disabilities, and those who cannot go to schools, they will teach them at their homes.
-The field workers will enrol children with disabilities who can come to the Special education center in SS Rathode School, Mahudi, and teach them at the center through group and individual learning activities.
"Just like we accept people from different castes, gender as our own inspite of their differences, disabled people are not any different and hence we need to treat them just as normal as anyone else," said Rawal.
"This special education center will only be successful if the villagers and the school administration understand the needs and encourage disabled children to move past their disabilities to achieve something great in life," added Biju.
He also urged the villagers gathered for the event to be more sensitive towards the disabled children in their community and send their children to the special education center in the school.
Adarsh Charitable Foundation has adopted Mahudi village to try and create a model village. Improving infrastructure of the SS Rathode School, provision of library books, laboratory material and improving toilet facilities are some of the work being done in the school.
Self-help groups and youth groups are also being formed, to help create sustainable livelihood in the area, and improving the quality of living of the entire village community. Adarsh Charitable Foundation is also organising several health camps to bring medical care to the doorstep of the villagers. (ANI-NewsVoir)