Shishu Sarothi works towards strengthening disability rights in north east India
Shishu Sarothi’s journey in the North East started small. Just two children, one trained special educator and small team of parents and volunteers – all of them working out of one room at the home of one of the children’s grandparents.
Today it has grown to a leading regional organization in the field of cerebral palsy offering training programs and services in multiple disabilities. It covers issues like rehabilitation, manpower development, livelihood, legal aid and advocacy with a rights based approach.
But Shishu Sarothi’s challenges are many. “Our reach is limited by resources and manpower and there are thousands of disabled people who are not given access to basic human rights”, says Kripa Manas Bora, Communications Officer at Shishu Sarothi.
The location is also an issue. “The terrain is difficult to access and there is limited access to basic amenities so easing the difficulties faced by persons with cerebral palsy becomes a challenge.”
What makes Shishu Sarothi unique is that there is an individual plan for each child according to needs and abilities. “There are Individualised Educational Plans to meet the goals of each child. The counseling is personalized too with individual sessions to address the emotional needs of children with and without disabilities”, adds Kripa.
Seventeen non-disabled children have been enrolled along with 14 children with disabilities, in their inclusive classroom facility under a ‘reverse inclusion’ program. “This is to allow children with and without disabilities to interact and learn from each other, helping to foster sensitivity and build lasting friendships”, adds Kripa.
Shishu Sarothi is building closer ties with the government and NGOs in Assam and others parts of the North East by strengthening and supporting efforts to address the difficulties faced by the disabled.
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