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Pearl Special Needs Foundation focuses on spreading awareness about disabilities in Gujarat

October 8, 2018

We live in a world where awareness on disabilities is still a distant dream. Inspite of technology, advanced studies and research, many people across the globe are unaware about different kinds of disabilities. India boasts of many NGOs and schools that works for empowering disabled kids. But a large population of rural India needs to come a long way when it comes to awareness on disabilities. Pearl Special Needs Foundation (PSNF) in Ahmedabad wants to become change makers.

PSNF was founded in 2010 by Dr Griva Shah, Bijal Fadia and Sonia Parikh, who worked as special educators in schools across Gujarat. They realised that disabled children face umpteen problems in schools but principals, teachers and parents lack awareness. This only made things worse for the child. All three founders completed their higher education from different parts of the world on training disabled children.

In most of the schools in Gujarat, children are not provided any opportunities to grow. They are left with broken spirits. A disabled child cannot sit in the same classroom with other children who have no disability and learn new things. They need individual attention. They have all the right to good education. That is what PSNF aims to provide. All three of us have completed courses in special and inclusive education. We undertook intensive training to offer the best for disabled children in Gujarat- Dr Griva Shah, Co-founder, PSNF.

PSNF has two centres in Ahmedabad. One for academics, and the other one exclusively for vocational training. There are over 70 children and adults between age groups of three to 30 years. PSNF has opened their gates to people with all kinds of disabilities and even school drop outs. They want disabled children to become socially and economically independent.

Just like many other NGOs, PSNF faces challenges too. The founders remember how they struggled to get a space to run their NGO. Everyone rejected it because nobody wants disabled children inside their compounds! Hence, PSNF started off at Griva's house garage.

"Parents are completely unaware of their child's disabilities. Hence, they do not want to send them to schools. They ask us what the child can return if they spend so much of money on their education. One of the hardest tasks is to convince them to send their children to school", says Griva.

Over 200 children have already benefitted from this NGO. Some of them are placed for jobs too. PSNF does not want to leave any stone unturned to ensure that children with disabilities in Gujarat get a good quality of life.

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