PMGY’s Disabled Children Programme in India helps to care for Indian children with special needs. Assist local staff by getting involved in various essential education and support sessions. In recent years the Government of India has changed various policies and laws to enable young people with disabilities to receive education. However, conflicting goals and a lack of clarity still affect disabled young people’s experiences and outcomes of education.
According to the India office of the World Bank, Indian children with disabilities are five and a half times more likely to be out of school than non-disabled children. Those who do attend school rarely progress beyond the primary school level. Currently, 52% of adults with disabilities are illiterate, compared to 35% amongst the general Indian population. In India 74% of people with physical impairments are unemployed.
People with disabilities face many barriers within and outside the Indian school system.
As a volunteer on the PMGY India Disabled Children Programme you will be assisting on a project within the local community closeby to the volunteer accommodation. Sehyog Clinic Centre is home to 20 people who range from the ages of 6 or 7 to young adults. The people at Sehyog have a range of disabilities from down syndrome, autism, deafness to physical disabilities as well.
Lack of awareness combined with the limited access to special needs resources has left many disabled people in India without the care they desperately need. Sehyog Clinic Centre aims to give the children the best opportunity in life they can have. As funding and volunteer support increases, we can continue to maximise the support we can give to the centre.
There is local staff at the project, but most of the additional support is provided by PMGY volunteers. The daily activities include story telling, physical exercise, basic life skill lessons, singing songs and games to get the children to interact with each other. Volunteer in India participants with the relevant experience can carry out physiotherapy and speech therapy sessions under the guidance of the local staff.
Volunteers will usually take along toys and educational aids each day to the community centre project. When volunteers arrive, they take over the room with their energy too stimulate and support children that would otherwise be forgotten about within the community and isolated. It is a very hands on project from teaching and feeding the children to providing general support.
Although the project does have challenging aspects particularly in the first couple days as volunteers adjust, feedback suggests that volunteers find this one of the most rewarding projects that they do. The bonds they build with the children at the project are very unique and special to each volunteer.
Naturally with the nature of the children and young adults volunteers are working with this can be quite a challenging project to structure and plan for. Volunteers are encouraged to be very adaptable, resilient, creative and maintain a positive attitude each time they come to the project. This is because many of the children and young adults lack the ability to speak or communicate functionally and will also struggle to follow instructions meaning interaction and engagement for volunteers can require alot of patience, time and effort.
As you persevere on your time across the project, you will begin to see what a truly inspirational experience you are a part of. Although not always visually recognised, your efforts will be met with appreciation and warmth by all staff and children and the small differences you can make or the care and attention that you can give will go a very long way.