Asma's Story of Change

Asma (name changed) has an intellectual disability and is supported by her grandmother who works in a thread cutting unit. When Asma’s father passed away, her mother remarried leaving Asma in the care of her grandmother who lived with Asma’s uncle and aunt. The couple saw Asma as a liability and treated her shabbily.

In December 2014, Asma’s grandmother came to know about Sangharsh while watching them perform a street play in the community. Hopeful, she brought 16-year-old Asma to Sangharsh and enrolled her. When Asma began attending the centre she looked unkempt, was aggressive and unwilling to share things with others. She cried a lot as she missed her family and banged her hands against the walls. She would occasionally experience epileptic fits. She would get abusive and talk to herself at times.

The Sangharsh team took her for assessment to Jai Vakeel, following which the psychiatrist recommended medicines for her aggressive behaviour and epilepsy. Currently, she is under the treatment of Dr. Shah (Consulting Psychiatrist at Sangharsh).

Over the course of the last two years we have seen a dramatic change in Asma. She has calmed down considerably, is more understanding and looks happier. She comes to the centre regularly with a huge grin on her face. She is now eager to help others and enjoys learning.

Asma has become confident and even surprised us by her ability to apply classroom teaching to real life situations. The children had been taken for an exposure visit to the local police station as part of the theme ‘Our Helpers’. They came to know about the functioning of the police station and were introduced to the police personnel on duty. Asma had been facing issues with her relatives. One night the family refused to let her and her grandmother into the house. Remembering the police station visit she decided to approach the police for assistance. She came across a police patrol car on her way and approached them for help. The Police personnel took her to the Police station, where she bravely shared what had happened with her. She was escorted back by two women constables to her uncle's place.  The constables warned the uncle and aunt about mistreating Asma and took a photograph of Asma, her Aunt and grandmother together. The constables assured Asma she could approach them anytime if a similar incident occured in future.

The progress made by Asma made the team confident to integrate her in NADE’s (The National Association of Disabled Enterprises) vocational training centre She has been visiting NADE once a week for half a day since February 2016. At NADE she was trained in painting, plugging and paper bag making which have also helped in enhancing her capacity to sit in one place and concentrate on a given task. She has been able to travel quite well using public transport but needs to be escorted until the time she is able to undertake the journey independently.  Asma is now on the road to self-reliance.

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