"I have never taken my handicap as an excuse, in fact it has become my strength."
-Deepa Malik (Silver Medallist at 2016 Paralympics Games)
“Being disabled should not mean being disqualified from having access to every aspect of life”
- Emma Thompson

What is Sangharsh

Sahyog Sangharsh focuses on early identification and intervention of children with disabilities by raising awareness amongst different stakeholders in the community, providing education and rehabilitation to children with developmental disabilities, and allowing access to mainstream special schools or vocational employment opportunities. The community based centre caters to children and adolescents who have, or are at risk of, developmental disabilities such as hearing impairment, intellectual disability, autism, cerebral palsy, and orthopaedic disabilities. It provides them a safe space and access to basic education, extra-curricular activities and functional therapy, thereby preparing them for integration into the formal education system or vocational centres.

How we began

Sangharsh was set up in the Jari Mari community in May 2003 to encourage an inclusive view of education and support community based rehabilitation work.  In 2011, Sangharsh moved to Kaju Pada which is situated atop a hill in the Kurla-Ghatkopar area. We realised that those residing in the settlements in and around Kaju Pada were finding it difficult to access the services provided by Sangharsh as it was located in Jari Mari. In a survey of 500 households in the Ashok Nagar settlement of Kaju Pada, 45 children in the age group of 2-10 years were identified with disabilities. In 2013 we moved to a bigger space, our current location in Narayan Nagar, Ghatkopar.

What we do

Assessment

Children are professionally assessed for an accurate diagnosis of their disability

Special Education

Based on the assessment of the disability, an Individual Education Plan is created to teach them basic literacy, numeracy, and communication skills

Exposure Visits

Learning is reinforced through various exposure visits organised for the children to sites in and beyond their neighbourhood

Domestic Skills

Practical demonstrations are carried out, to enable children to independently carry out activities of their daily living

Work Skills

Children are taught prerequisite skills needed for smooth transition into vocational/ professional training

Computer Literacy

Children are taught computer skills to reinforce their learning and to enhance their vocational skills

Reintegration and Placements

Special schools and vocational/ employment generation programmes are identified for reintegration and placement

Parents Meeting

Empathetic and knowledge based support is provided to parents through regular parents meeting

Home based intervention

Sangharsh offers a home-based rehabilitation programme to children who are unable to attend the centre due to severity of disability

Psychiatric Intervention

A psychiatrist helps parents and children understand and cope with behavioural problems through counselling and medication

Animal Assisted Therapy

Through playing, feeding and grooming therapy pets; children improve their motor, speech and social skills

Speech Therapy

A therapist helps children with speech and hearing impairments communicate effectively

Occupational Therapy/ Physiotherapy

Children are referred to therapy centres to improve the functioning of their musculoskeletal system

Medical Intervention

Children are connected with government and private medical centres and parents are empowered to access these services independently

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is provided to children for their medical and therapeutic expenses and for the purchase of medical aids and devices

Outreach

Disability awareness and sensitisation sessions are conducted with schools, colleges and informal groups in the community

Why we do it

Of the numerous challenges faced by families in these communities, a child with disability means an additional burden for parents. Due to lack of awareness and understanding, parents often tend to stay silent out of ignorance, guilt or despair about their child’s disability. Through diverse interventions Sangharsh strives to empower children with disabilities to live independently; support caregivers; and work towards an inclusive community in which the rights of children with disabilities are upheld.

Who we are

The Staff of Sangharsh is a mix of professionals (special educator, social worker) and women recruited from the community and given on-the-job training or basic professional training. The Sangharsh team consists of a trained special educator, social worker, and four assistants. Four of the team members have also been trained as Child Development Aides having completed the 1 year CDA course offered by Ummeed Child Development Centre, Mumbai.

Highlights

  • Since 2003 Sangharsh has attended to over 150 children
  • Sangharsh has a 4:1 student teacher ratio
  • Over 50 children have been mainstreamed into special schools and vocational training
  • The Centre is run by women from the community who have received preservice and in service training
  • A mix of conventional therapies such as speech therapy and unconventional therapies such as Animal Assisted therapy are offered at Sangharsh
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