The fate of many children of parents below the poverty line in India is unimaginable. Securing a single meal in a day is a gruesome chore with childhood lost in dust and sweat. With uncertainty about their shelter or the next meal, school is a far-off notion to such children.
Samarthanam believes in inclusiveness which means education for all irrespective of their social status and disabilities. With a pan-Indian presence across fifteen Indian cities, the organization believes in providing education to children with disabilities and to those from the underprivileged backgrounds. The aim is to reach as many children as possible, providing them with an opportunity to seek education while their parents earn their living. Right from free study materials like textbooks, stationery, school bags, the school also provides them with free mid-day meals.
As most of these children are also from the rural backgrounds, the school also functions as a full-fledged residential school with boarding facilities for the children. The organization is all set upon building barrier-free residential schools for the children with disabilities. Inclusiveness or inclusive education encourages the regular schooling in the same arrangement for both the abled and the differently-abled children. One of the experienced teachers handling the inclusive fifth-grade states that sometimes the physically-challenged or disabled children are quite quick in grasping the lessons. She also believes in a fair assessment of tests and exams on equal grounds with no special privileges or marks given to the children with disabilities like loco-motor disabilities, hearing or speech impairment.
For the visually-impaired students, the school offers Braille books and audio books. The organization has its very own digital library where textbooks, novels, and other books of importance are constantly uploaded into an audio format to aid the visually-impaired students. The NGO strongly feels that the education of children must not be limited to school but the children must be encouraged to attain higher education for which all the support is extended to the students with disabilities from the school right from their college fee to food and hostel facilities.
The list of students who have successfully pursued higher education with the support provided by the organization is commendable. Since its inception two decades ago, the organization has strived and thrived in providing quality education to both underprivileged children and to students with disabilities.
This post author is Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled.