Prayaas is a centre for children with special needs based in Udaipur, Rajasthan. They provide schooling and lodging to disabled children from all over India.
Special education in layman’s terms is the education of students with special needs that takes into consideration the child’s particular needs and limitations. Within this stream of education, every child is involved in individually planned teaching procedures and is monitored by a trained professional with adapted equipment and materials to ensure the comfort of the child. Special needs institutions aim to raise the level of personal self sufficiency , to grow beyond challenges and learn to manage their day to day lives. Here children not only get to sharpen their academic skills, but also learn to manage their lives and work towards a brighter future, and eventually get into main stream jobs and occupations. The school itself employs many of them, Hussein, the office assistant was the best example. Ex-students Minal Sapna and Chotu (special kids themselves) are employed as helpers for little kids currently enrolled in the school.
Hussain – Assistant Manager Prayaas
M/s Sunita Bhandari (founder & secretary of PRAYAAS, Udaipur, Rajasthan)
M/s Sunita Bhandari (founder & secretary of PRAYAAS, Udaipur, Rajasthan) began with early childhood diploma course for 0-6 age group kids in 1987 with just 6 kids . Funds came from parent’s contributions and charities. Today Prayaas has 60+ kids with age group varying between 3-55 year old, enrolled in the day school. Out of them 10 kids are given training and education on one on one basis. Some of these kids live in the hostel.
The journey from 6 – 60 students wasn’t easy. Unlike 25 years ago, Ms Sunita Bhandari observed that the parents are more aware , open, and ready to take initiatives, even at the cost of revolting against their non-cooperative families. They don’t feel helpless and depressed anymore. Their is a huge societal change but it needs to grow further to ensure that the government and society as a whole gets involved in helping children with special needs so that they are given the best education and taught how to venture forth into the real world. Their biggest challenges are of man power and finance. Their is a dearth of staff especially for kids that require one on one attention for faster growth. Finance is limited as their are no govt policies or defined salary structure for a staff of such school. Some countries for eg. Australia has 1 educator and 2 helpers for 1 kid while here in India, there are 1 educator for 6 kids and 1 helper for 2 kids. The school cannot accommodate more than 70 kids for two reasons – lack of staff and lack of space. And if they did then the quality of education would be compromised.
Today Prayaas is actively organising –
They have Diploma courses in –
and A Foundation Course for Cross Disability and ADL – Activity of Daily Living.
It has only been over the last few years that special needs education has been gaining momentum in India. The main aim is to send a message across to parents, families and eventually to the society that they are assests not liabilities. They can self sustain. What is needed is Accessibility , self advocacy and awareness in small cities and villages. Only then eventually govt sectors will bring in more facilities, funding and policies to help and promote the cause.
We got to meet a few children and click pictures of their daily activities. Below are some B&W’s…
Kids Learning to make Flower garlands.