Voice of Navkshitij: July 2015
From The President’s Desk
Early intervention programme launched in Hinjewadi
On July 15, 2015, we started an Early Intervention Program at Hinjewadi, with financial support from Fiserv. We did a lot of field work to identify mentally challenged young children between ages 2 and 8 in Hinjewadi area. We personally visited their homes to assess the child’s condition and the mindset of the parents. We wanted to make them understand the importance of and need for enrolling their child in the Early Intervention Program. We were happy that they appreciated what we communicated and enrolled their children. We needed a place to run this program. When we approached the Sarpanch of Hinjewadi town, he readily agreed to allot a place for this. Next we needed to recruit an occupational therapist, early interventionists, special educators and other professionals. We were lucky to get Dr. Chanchal Agarwal to take care of Occupation therapy and Ms. Meenakshy Kavassery as early interventionist, while our workshop manager cum special educator Mr. Santosh Munde and another special educator, Mrs. Monali Kulkarni, accepted the responsibility of running this program effectively. My role is to keep the team together, counsel parents and motivate them to sincerely follow the recommendations made for their child at home too.
We have started this program with three mentally challenged children, without charging them a fee, as they are all from the economically backward section. I am sure this program will help many special children in the future to become independent and do their day-to-day work on their own as they grow older.
We decided to launch the Early Intervention Program because we noticed that many adult Friends at Navkshitij are capable of performing daily activities but are not doing it since they have not gone through a proper early intervention program. It is very frustrating for them to be dependent on somebody for performing their routine activities. It is also difficult for the caregivers to help them maintain physical cleanliness because adult mentally challenged people do not cooperate; they become aggressive. This motivated us to start the program at Navkshitij and make mentally challenged children stand on their own feet. It will be a great relief for the parents when they see their children leading an independent life in the future.
Navkshitij family is growing
They came to Navkshitij when they were young boys aged 19 or 20. At that time, these youngsters did not know what mental retardation was. They came looking for work, having heard about us from someone. Slowly, they learnt about mental retardation, how to interact with special friends, how to work in a system, why they should follow a system, and, very importantly, why we should treat special friends with respect and dignity. They were given training in soft skills.
Over the years, the boys reached marriageable age and some of them got married. They shared each step of the process with me – searching for a suitable bride, finding one and getting married. Every time I use to worry wondering what they would do after marriage. Would they continue to work here? Would their wives want to stay at Navkshitij? I am happy to share with you that there are eight couples staying at Navkshitij, with their children. We embraced their wives and absorbed them in the Navkshitij team. Our Friends enjoy playing with the kids of the staff members. Women Friends step in as baby sitters for the toddlers – and they do it very responsibly. I appreciate this all the more because it shows the mother’s trust and confidence in our Friends’ abilities.
Both the men and the women say they like to work here at Navkshitij, with and for our Friends. They enjoy the different activities at Navkshitij. The experience enriches them as a human being. I am so proud of them. Today, they are the backbone of Navkshitij. When we started this residential unit in 2007 we were six members, including two Friends. Now we are 100, with 60 Friends and 40 people to help them lead happy life. We are a special family indeed.
- August 1: Trek to Shivneri
- August 3: Friendship Day Celebration
- August 15: Independence Day Celebration
- August 18: Mehandi Program
- August 19: Nagpanchami
- August 22: Trek to Rohida Gad Bhor
- August 29: Raksha bandhan
- July 3: Cultural programme by Aazadiyaan Group
- July 11: Maharashtra Executive Trust Meeting for parents
- July 12: Programme by volunteers from Symbiosis Centre for Information Technology
- July 15: Traffic Awareness Program
- July 25: Tree Plantation with volunteers from Nitor Infotech Pvt Ltd
Navkshitij now needs:
- 2 Godrej cupboards (big) – Approximate cost Rs. 8,000 each
- 24 CFL Bulbs – Approximate cost Rs. 4,800
- 1 Washing Machine – Approximate cost Rs. 12,500
- 10 Small Chairs and Small Tables – Approximate cost Rs. 15,000
- 7 Carrom Boards – Approximate cost Rs. 7,000
- 8 Cots – Approximate cost Rs. 15,200
Thank you from Navkshitij to:
- Praj Foundation
- Aazadiyaan Group
- Sparsh A Healing Touch – Infosys
- Jackson Limited Plc Ac.
- Nitor Infotech Pvt. Ltd.
- SSR Club of Symbiosis Centre for Information Technology
- Ms. Sunita V. Gat
- Ms. Ila Tiwari
- Mr. Kapil Pashankar
- Mr. Sagar Ogale
- Mr. Suresh Vitthal Rao
- Mr. Sandeep Sule
- Mr. Deepak Shetty
- Ms. Manasi D. Deshpande
- Mr. Suresh Rao
- Mr. Mahrukh H. Irani
- Mr. Jaydeep Parandekar
(A monthly newsletter published by Dr. Neelima Desai and edited by Kanaka Cadambi on behalf of Navkshitij)