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Wednesday 4 April 2018

Spreading Smiles #ShishuSarothi

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Isn't it a shame that people can be so indifferent and unfeeling towards differently-abled people? They are after all flowers from the same garden created by God, only with their own unique beauty. It is so unfair that these gentle, innocent children of God are deprived of their basic fundamental rights, rights that every human deserves!
Persons with disabilities suffer from lack of access to basic amenities like healthcare, education, livelihood, accessibility etc. that we take for granted. However for persons with developmental and intellectual disabilities, the situation is direr! Lack of basic awareness and information on how to take care of such fragile lives makes it all the more difficult.

The Disability scene in North-East India

A staggering 733,450 and growing number of People with Disabilities (PwDs) living in the eight North-East states according to 2011 national census are facing several challenges, including infrastructural barriers, stigma due to lack of awareness, geographical terrain making mobility difficult thereby difficulty in the accessibility of qualified rehabilitation professionals and assistive devices. Besides there are hardly any government schemes/services available for PwDs in this area.

Shishu Sarothi 

I came across this not-for-profit CSO (Civil Society Organization) - Shishu Sarothi and I was very impressed by the kind of work they do to help people with disabilities, especially children. Their focus is on the social development and economic empowerment of this section of society in the North-East of India.  Some of the salient objectives of this unique organization are:
  • Enable access to appropriate and innovative therapies and interventions that facilitate inclusion into mainstream society of children and persons with disabilities.
  • Create a cadre of trained human resources and undertake research studies to build knowledge on disability in general and Cerebral Palsy and developmental disabilities in particular.
  • Sensitize all stakeholders, ensure implementation of legislation, facilitate redressal of grievances thereof and influence policy change.
  • Habilitate/rehabilitate children and persons with disabilities to help them achieve their full potential in a barrier free environment.
Shishu Sarothi's warmth, concern, support and humanitarian approach has brought back smiles and happiness into the lives of several young lives and their families.
The institution’s services include a Center for Inclusive and Vocational education, an Early Intervention Unit, The Information and Communication Technology Lab etc. All their programs work in tandem with the parents and caregivers. The institution has received several awards including the National Award for Best Institution (Additional) from the President of India (2004).

Success Stories

One of Shishu Sarothi’s many success stories is, young Puja Das. She was assessed with Cerebral Palsy and athetoid and came to Shishu Sarothi with involuntary physical movement, muscle tone fluctuation, delayed mental development and speech impairment. 

After joining the activities for the Playgroup into which she was enrolled she slowly and steadily made swift progress with expert help and counseling in all aspects of her learning, be it General knowledge, Academic to basic physical skills like eating & drinking, managing her daily activities by herself, grooming skills, communication with others etc. Her emotional and social skills also improved remarkably.
She now regularly participates and enjoys all events and celebrations organized at the school. The feather on the cap is her winning several competitions in arts and sports conducted by the foundation as well as in the Special Olympics 2014 held at Guwahati.

Tanya Agarwal (name changed) came to the Early Intervention Unit (EIU) when she was just 6 months old. Detailed assessment indicated developmental delays with no head control and hypotonic muscle tone. The EIU team worked actively for over 2 years with her parents by giving head control exercises, deep joint pressure, muscle strenghtening and other appropriate exercises for improving her posture and positioning. Today Tanya is able to walk without any support; her cognition has improved and follows simple commands. Her confidence has grown vastly and she can now play with her peers.

You can help make a change

I am feeling so heartened to read the success stories of these little angels. What a change the love, dedication and concentrated efforts of the dedicated team at Shishu Sarothi has made to so many young lives! 

Dear friends, I request you all to visit this wonderful, life-uplifting institution - Shishu Sarothi - and see for yourself the tremendous work they are accomplishing.
I strongly urge you to support them and to donate generously to their wonderful mission here.

You can help make a change in the lives of children with disabilities who are unable to access support due to lack of resources. Every child deserves a shot at happiness. 
The lovely smile, the innocent laughter of a child with disability and the pride in the eyes of the parents at the positive progress, the chance to lead a life like any other child, are priceless! 

You can make a difference, you can help in spreading smiles!

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