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THE BRIDGE TO A FUTURE!

All disabled children have a right to education, livelihood and a fulfilled life.

REALITY

The journey to the services that disabled slum children need to enjoy these rights, is unbelievably difficult. Out there, their families have to deal with rigid rules, paperwork, ignorance and hostility. At home, the burden of care strains finances, social ties and emotions. Under the weight of these problems, these children  are deprived of opportunities for education and training, hidden from view, and  isolated from the world which surrounds them.

 

RESPONSE

We built Sahyog Sangharsh, a secure, familiar and enabling enviroment into which they take the first step  from home. This experience helps to bridge the wide gap between them and the services, the community, and other support systems.

 

PRINCIPLES

  • Accept every disabled child, regardless of the kind and extent of disability, previous education or training, social background, the family’s ability to spend money, make efforts and give time.

  • Build an environment where the responsibility to care and protect these children is shared by the whole community.

  • Strengthen disabled children’s relationships with the outside world to make them valued and respected.

         FOCUS AREAS

 

  • Training in daily living skills and numeracy and literacy to transition to formal schools, training and employment alternatives

  • Providing suitable treatment and rehabilitation services

  • Spreading awareness to prevent and identify disability early

  • Educating and supporting parents of disabled children

  • Networking families with neighbourhood and community-support systems

IMPACT

Between 2003-2018:

  • 165 children enrolled in Sangharsh centre have been provided education and rehabilitation services. At any given time we are working with 30-40 children.
  • 275 children (centre and community based) have been linked to medical and therapy services
  • 43 children between 0-3 years have been identified as being at risk of or with disability and referred for early intervention
  • 21 children with severe disabilities have received home based care
  • 35 children have been integrated into mainstream institutions
  • Our alumni are living independent and productive lives as young adults.

 The lives of others around them have changed as well.

A mother, whose life was an endless routine of feeding, cleaning and changing her bedridden son, now looks up and sees that he is smiling at her.

A father, who regretfully slapped his daughter for wandering alone, has now a means to communicate his concerns without hurting her.

A mother, who was terrified of her moody, aggressive grown up son, now stops to chat with us, while he carries the groceries home.

A mother who faced scorn for tying her little girl to the bed when she went out now proudly takes her shopping.

THE FUTURE

  • We want to expand the capacity of the centre to be able to admit 100 students at a time

  • We want to expand the reach of our outreach, prevention, and home-based care programme to the entire suburban area of Mumbai.

  • We want to reach 100-150 infants, children, and adolescents at risk of disability each year and refer them to appropriate services, even while we provide ongoing support.

HOW WILL WE GET THERE! 

You see in our cover picture, the people who are the building blocks of this bridge to a future. Our staff, young women from the community who have defied family expectations to work in this challenging field; consultants who offer dedicated service at our centre; young men who forgo wages to do community work; employers who are half-uncle-half boss to apprentices with special needs, older women who guide frightened young mothers to seek care and treatment; police officers, health workers, teachers and childcare workers who go beyond their routine duties; representatives of schools, institutes and centres that are ready to fulfil disabled children’s rights.

 

Join hands with them to make this bridge stronger!

Nothing describes the impact of our work as the stories of our students – from the little toddlers whom we have just admitted to the alumni, who are now independent young adults. Please visit our PROFILE page to read about them.

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