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Saadhya Insights: Edition 3

Saadhya Insights: Edition 3

Empowering Minds, Fostering Independence on International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Differently abled community comprise over 2.21% of the total population in India and is highly prone to developmental challenges due to different social attitudes and inadequate infrastructure. Voicing for ample reservations and rallying for more supportive infrastructure capabilities will not only empower people with special abilities but also help spread the awareness on social inclusivity.

What is a Disability? The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities defines disability as resulting from the interaction between impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers. Disability, often perceived as ‘inability,’ leads to discrimination and challenges inclusion.

Intellectual Disability

Among the many types of disabilities, Intellectual disability is a condition where an individual lack adaptive skills to work with tasks or interact with the outside environment. They primarily include speech, comprehension, self-management (dressing, bathing and feeding), resource management (monetary or kind), academic (read, write and learn), employable and socializing capabilities. To address this flaring concern both at the local and national level, we need a nuanced approach.

Though the Government of India made empowerment efforts by introducing the Right to Person with Disabilities Act – 2016, the initiative saw very narrow progress of just increasing the disability quota from 7 to 21 while side lining system dependency, funding and creating alternative livelihoods to make them self-reliant.

Our Approach

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3 provided us with an opportunity to reflect on the progress and persistent challenges faced by the intellectually disabled community while fostering inclusivity. As a result, Saadhya designed an empowerment approach to nurture, empower intellectually challenged community to make them more self-reliant meanwhile spreading the call for an inclusive community.

Personalized Learning Approach: Since holistic education remains our core mission, we have well-informed faculty who cater high personalized learning and care to intellectually challenged students, thus fostering their commitment to Inclusivity.

Skilling: Our vision extends far beyond the classroom walls. We place strong emphasis on basic life skills, recognizing the transformative power they hold in shaping the future of students. Designing a personalized and all-round curriculum, Saadhya strives to equip students with futuristic skills that will make them valuable resources to industries as well make them self- reliant.

Fostering individuality: The journey towards self-reliance begins with a focus on identifying individual strengths and capabilities. We provide apt environment to nurture and develop those abilities and skills to make the intellectually challenged people more confident and take pride in their endeavours. By laying this foundation, we make this community face the uncertain future with much confidence and drive value in the society.

Exposure to Livelihood Opportunities: Vocational education at Saadhya is not merely a means to an end; but a pathway to empowerment. Individuals above the age of 18 years are eligible to take up this opportunity. The opportunity exposes them to a variety of vocational skills, arts and crafts to practical life skills such as cooking and gardening. These initiatives are designed not only to provide students with marketable skills but also to instil a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Nurture financial Independence: One of the key pillars of Saadhya is its commitment to enable our students with financial independence. We recognize the importance of preparing students for life beyond the classroom, and this includes equipping them with the skills necessary to navigate the world of work. Through partnerships students have the opportunity to earn a livelihood, while also fostering a sense of independence and self-sustenance amongst students.

Foster Inclusivity: Saadhya’s vocational education initiatives are not limited to the walls of the school; they extend into the community. By promoting awareness and understanding intellectual disabilities, we strive to create a more inclusive society where every individual is valued and recognized in every sphere. Community engagement programs also provide students with opportunities to showcase their skills and talents, breaking down stereotypes and fostering a culture of acceptance.

Our students stand as trailblazers of what can be achieved when dedication, compassion, and innovation come together. As we make strides to achieve an inclusive, empowered, and positive future for intellectually disabilities, we appreciate and welcome your continued support in our endeavours. As we observe this International Day for Persons with Disabilities.

We celebrate the intellectually challenged community for their courage, make-possible attitude, and willingness to achieve and stay as change-makers in the society.

Healing Perspectives: A Homeopath’s Journey

Hi I am Riswana S. I am currently pursuing a Postgraduate degree in Paediatrics at the Government Homoeopathic Medical College in Bangalore. Every Thursday becomes memorable and special as I volunteer with my colleagues to visit Saadhya School to spend quality time with Intellectually challenged children.

In my role as a volunteer, I engage with parents of these specially challenged children to gather critical challenges faced by the community. Having assessed the challenges through diagnosis, we build innovative solutions through homoeopathic medicines tailored to needs of each child.

Apart from homoeopathy care, we also help children challenged by motor skills with physiotherapy treatment through regular hospital visits. Our conversation with the parents reveal the trust and confidence they have on Saadhya School in taking total responsibility of ensuring that their children are safe, sound and happy through personalized and rounded approach.

Dr. Sumangala, my fellow colleague, accompanies me on this journey. It is only by Saadhya and Sambhav bringing these patients, we came to encounter this unique opportunity of serving people with special ability. The homeopathic care that we render to every child provides us with a unique experience. Interacting with parents of these children has motivated us to understand the critical challenges, conditions and remedies to enrich our profession at the same time appreciate the novel leadership Sambhav and Saadhya takes in caring for those individuals prone to hopelessness and despair about life and their future. Catering to this patient demography has compelled us to advance our assistance through homeopathy care as well carry back enriching and lifelong experience in our own career paths!! It’s not just about medical practice; it’s about offering hope and support to families navigating the complexities of raising children with intellectual disabilities.

Finding Purpose in Passion: The Transformative Journey of Kalavathi & Mani

Mrs Kalavathi’s professional journey as the technical head and faculty member at Saadhya began with a profound commitment to special education. Having worked with children with various intellectual challenges, including Down’s Syndrome, autism, and AMR, she brings a wealth of experience to her role as a technical head at Sambhav/Saadhya. Before joining this esteemed institution, Mrs Kalavathi was introduced to the world of special education by her mentor, Dr. Meena Jain, Founder, Sambhav Foundation. With little knowledge on disabilities, she committed herself to learn and grow under Dr. Jain’s guidance.

Reflecting on her early days, Mrs Kalavathi confided the initial nervousness and challenges she faced during interacting with children with behavioral issues. However, with time and dedication, she grew confident and accustomed to the unique needs of each child. As soon her potentials gained recognition from Dr. Jain, she played a pivotal role in the lives of countless intellectually challenged children ever since. She recounts a poignant incident where a lost three-year-old intellectually challenged boy was brought to Sambhav by the police, she took a proactive care to mould him into a talented dancer from a stage where he could not communicate. Getting hands-on technology, she is now able to deliver her services through digital format to increase learning engagement and broadening thinking abilities. This include from music to storytelling. Her digital communication has made collaboration and cooperation highly possible among the parents and educators in addressing behavioral issues, assess individual needs, and create personalized learning plans for each child.

Looking into the future, Mrs Kalavathi expressed the need for a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, and speech/language therapist. She also highlighted the necessity for a more spacious environment to facilitate activities like co-curricular activities along with mainstream learning.

Saadhya stands as a safe and vibrant haven for intellectually challenged children to thrive and make a difference under the guidance of Mrs Mani, another caregiver at Saadhya. As a dedicated counsellor, she has not only transformed the lives of countless intellectually challenged students but gained upending experience personally as a mother of a special needs child.

My journey with Saadhya is deeply personal as my daughter is also a special needs child with Down’s syndrome. Her dual roles as a counsellor and a parent have given her a unique perspective, enriching her ability to connect with both the children and their families. Joining Saadhya was not just a professional decision but a passion,” says Mani. Having worked with Srishti before joining Saadhya in 2006, an NGO founded by Dr. Meena Jain, Mrs Mani’s association with the organisation has been steadfast since its establishment.

Recalling special moments, she notes the profound impact Saadhya has had on her life. “I am really fortunate to be part of Saadhya family and despite my child being specially abled, I feel it is my responsibility to care for her. This sheer determination invariably influenced my career at Saadhya. I support Mani in her rounded development initiatives and activities while understanding stories of different children. Vocational training is one of thrilling time where we deeply connect with students in cooking or otherwise.”

Addressing the fears and challenges faced by students, Mrs Mani emphasizes the step-by-step approach adapted by Saadhya. “From holding a knife to chopping vegetables and eye-hand coordination to washing the vegetables and eating them, we train them. Given her personal experience, Mrs Mani plays a crucial role in involving parents in the education process. “I know the pain of the parents. But sharing my own experiences keeps them motivated to care for their own children with special needs,” she states.

Extracurricular activities play a pivotal role in the holistic development of Saadhya’s students. Mrs Mani underscores the significance of role play and dramas in teaching social cues and on the other hand activities like dance and music classes act as stress-busters as well as realizing one’s hidden talents. Coordinating in these activities brings in inclusivity and there is no room for indifference in the school,” she asserts.

Kalavathi and Mani’s inspiring mentoring journey leaves us with no doubt that mentorship is a gift and transformative vocation that can transform lives barbed by social prejudice, economic insecurity and hopeless livelihood into differentiators and change-makers.

Volunteering at Saadhya is a Lifelong Experience for Anindita Verma. Let’s Discover how?

At just 15, Anindita Verma discovered his interest in volunteering with EKYA ITPL giving her the first lead as part of his school curriculum. Moreover, the exposure to Saadhya through her school was a thrilling experience that made her dedicate the rest of her time to embark on a volunteer journey at Saadhya. Anindita chose to dedicate her time and energy to Saadhya, as she was inspired by the mission of Saadhya in supporting and transforming intellectually challenged students into change-makers through upending facilities, conducive and people-friendly environment. Her decision to volunteer at Saadhya was influenced by a familial connection – her aunt, who had introduced her to this remarkable institution and moreover it was the scant of specially-able schools in the city that pulled her to work with Saadhya.

Before her visit, Anindita already held a strong belief that intellectually challenged individuals are no different from anyone else and should be treated with the same respect and opportunities. However, her experience at Saadhya further solidified this perspective and deepened her understanding of the importance of education for all. Arriving at Saadhya around 10 AM, Anindita spent her day in meeting students across all classes. As a volunteer, she observed the unique value of teachers when critical subjects like Science and English were taught to them.

Anindita spent most of the day by playing learning games with children and found a wide welcome among the students. It was during these interactions Anindita found joy and simplicity among them. Reflecting on her day at Saadhya, Anindita marks, “the hospitality and happiness made her time complete at Saadhya. This experience extremely reinforced her dedication to volunteering for causes like Saadhya. She believes that such experiences educate individuals on various topics and offer a unique perspective that goes beyond the conventional classroom learning.”

When asked about recommending Saadhya to others, Anindita was resolute. She says, “Saadhya as an educational and inspiring volunteering invariably transformed her perspective on education and intellectually challenged individuals.

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