Despite considerable achievements during a journey of seven decades of affirmative actions in education, legacies of discrimination, marginalisation and denial are still enmeshed in Indian Social Composition. Although Equality is a fundamental right guaranteed in the Indian Constitution for every citizen of the country, yet have failed to cope with inequalities at different stages. Our already divided society is also facing another kind of divide between “People with Special Needs” & “People with No Special Needs”.
According to survey out of 700 million disabled persons of the world, approximately 10 percent of them are in India alone, making India home to a large population of people with various kinds of disabilities. Due to lack of awareness, education and social stigma (by Schools, Parents, teachers, students, community, decision makers, NGOs), a large number of “People with Disabilities” are not able to join the mainstream for their development, are unaware of their rights and are either isolated, discarded, dumped or lead an un-dignified life without the support and services they need to be successful. This sector has also not received adequate attention from decision makers to design and develop “Pro-Disabled” policies at an early stage.
Understanding the seriousness of the issues and following UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), Dehradun based Civil Society Organisation “Society For Inclusive Development (SFID)” has taken initiative to bridge this gap and undertaken a pilot model “Ham Saath Saath (We are together)” an inclusive schooling model for children with Special needs” .
India’s leading Maha Ratna PSU “ONGC”, came forward and extended their support under their CSR framework to establish pilot project with Dehradun based “Green Field School (GFS)”.
We will setup pilot model at GFS and address this issue. Project Ham Saath Saath (HSS), will conduct survey & identify children with special needs, who are not going or are denied admission in any normal school, due to whatever may be the reason and admit in GFS said Dr Anil Jaggi, Head SFID.
In the last one month, we were able to register 20 plus children with various kinds of disabilities i.e. dyslexia, down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, ADHD, slow learner etc. , and dedicate and trained special educators are also hired to handle them with compassion. Another support staff like speech therapists, music and yoga teachers are also hired to try offer methodologies to handle such students and improve their learning skills through their peers, said Dr. Anil Jaggi.
Special resource Rooms are designed , software, sensory toys, interactive books, musical instruments are purchased for SFID to support the program for them, said Ms. Himani Rana, Special Educator for HSS project.
We are so happy and thankful to SFID and ONGC for launching & supporting this project, where children are learning together with interest. We can see behaviour change in them said Mrs Meenkshi Garg , mother of Priyam, child with low vision & slow learner.
Like wise many parents are coming and seeking admission in this project, which will not only bring tangible change among children with special needs it will also help parents to understand the issues of their own children said Himani Rana, Special educator .
This is a very unique project of its kind in the region and we are happy that Green Field School is selected to run this pilot project said Ms. Reena, principal , GFS.
Under HSS project, every child is welcomed and valued regardless of ability or disability. It is an attitude which means the doors to school, classroom and school activities are open for every child and they are provided every opportunity to be Included with their non-disabled peers and every child is given the help she/he needs to learn, said Dr. Anil Jaggi, Head SFID.