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Parents in Ahmedabad are all praise for Pearl Special Needs Foundation’s ‘Respite Care Programme’

Pearl Special Needs Foundation based in Ahmedabad, has been empowering children with disabilities since the year 2010. Their new Respite Care Programme is aimed to reach out to parents who have children with disabilities. Parents can drop off their children with trained volunteers who will take care of them while parents are away for some relaxation time. The project is already a success and founders of the centre are looking out to spread this project to other cities across India.

A child with a disability will have many needs and requirements. For most of them, parents are the ideal caregivers whom they rely upon. It is not easy for the parent either, especially for those who are working full-time and needs to fit in time and space for their child. This might even lead to a mental and emotional breakdown. Pearl Special Needs Foundation (PSNF), a centre that empowers children with disabilities, have come up with a new programme to reach out to parents who have children with disabilities. Their new Respite Care Programme (RCP) that was launched in August, is already talk to the town. As the name suggests, the programme offers respite to parents who need to take a break from their daily routine.

Founded by Dr Griva Shah, Bijal Fadia and Sonia Parikh, PSNF has been empowering children with disabilities in Ahmedabad since the year 2010. Over the years, the founders have noticed and understood the many struggles faced by parents who have a disabled child. That is what led them to start something like RCP with the support of programme coordinator Aarohi Joshi whose guidance has helped the programme become a success. RCP is open to all parents and not just those who have children at PSNF.

Dr Griva Shah, Co-founder, says that they have been getting great responses ever since its launch last month.

A parent who has a child with special needs have to stay active and vigilant 24 hours a day. This can be tiring. Most of the times, other family members refuse to take care of the child pointing out that they have a disability and hence the parent has to always be there with the child. We want to give a break to such parents from their regular schedule and also support them so that they can have some relaxed times-Dr Griva Shah, Co-founder, PSNF.

The centre hires volunteers from different walks of life for being part of the programme. "Age or gender of the volunteer does not matter. All that we want to look into is whether they are willing to provide services", says Dr Griva Shah. The volunteers have to undergo training at PSNF after which they will be given assignments to take care of children with various kinds of disabilities.

Currently, the programme is done on weekends. On Saturdays, various activities are organised at PSNF centre where parents can drop off their kids while they go for their weekly short breaks to have a relaxed time. If required, they can be dropped off at malls, parks, movie theatres or even restaurants where the assigned volunteer will ensure that the child is taken care of in the best possible way. Both parents and volunteers will be informed beforehand so that they get to know each other better.

Though the programme has been launched in Ahmedabad, founders are looking out to spread this to other cities across India. "We want to train more people from across the country so that parents from all over India can get this programme", says Dr Griva Shah.

Jyoti Roongta has two children with disabilities. She recently took up the 'Respite Care Programme' and totally loved it.

"This is one of the most wonderful programmes for both parents and children with special needs. They take care of the child and also involves them in activities that they love while the parent gets a much needed break. Most parents who have a special needs child has to work round the clock. So such a programme is of a great help", says Jyoti.

You can contact Aarohi Joshi at +91 63590-20606.

Also Read: Meet the petitioners behind a citywide campaign to make Mumbai accessible for people with disabilities



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