Project IDI has proven to be a beacon of hope for children with MDVI in the rural areas of Uttar Pradesh. One of Perkins India’s key partners for Project IDI is Jayati Bharatam. The Project IDI team has been screening children to identify those with multiple disabilities and visual impairment (MDVI) and referring them to services in dozens of villages of Uttar Pradesh.
The Project IDI team is not only finding children who have been left behind – but also providing support, raising awareness, guiding families to access government services, and enrolling the children in local Anganwadis and schools.
Two such stories of success are of Sunaina and Naina, 8-year-old twin girls – both with multiple disabilities with visual impairment – who were identified by one of the team’s CBR workers during a door-to-door screening conducted in a small village outside of Lucknow. The girls’ father sells vegetables and their mother is a homemaker.
Sunaina and Naina have always been cheerful and interactive. Still, the parents worried about their daughters’ future because they had no access to services or support that would enable them to go to school like neighbouring children.
Once the girls were identified by the Project IDI team and the family received guidance on further opportunities for intervention, the parents opened their doors and were extremely glad for additional support.
Since then, the Project IDI team has been working consistently with the girls. They helped the family receive disability certificates for the girls which allowed them to get a wheelchair for Naina free of cost. Naina has a newfound freedom of mobility with the wheelchair. The parents can help get both girls to school, and now the entire family can participate in different events and celebrations in the community together.
The Project IDI team, under guidance from Perkins India senior members, has continued to visit and work with Naina, Sunaina, and their family. They’ve introduced new activities, like sorting vegetables and preparing tea – the girls’ favorite, that are fun and also help to develop critical functional skills. The mother has been guided on how to help the girls get ready for school. Naina and Sunaina’s siblings are also involved as they’ve learned ways to help further their education by going over number concepts, time, and colours together.
Although there was some initial resistance from the local school, the Project IDI team successfully advocated for Sunaina and Naina’s admission. With support from the team, they are both attending their village school where they now have an opportunity to achieve their full potential.
Sunaina and Naina are now more confident and interacting with peers as they build their social skills. Attending the local school has also helped them share the same routine as other children of their age in the community –getting ready for school in the morning, wearing a uniform, participating in school activities – all significant actions that demonstrate they’re included in the community.
Sunaina and Naina’s journey is just one example of Perkins India’s work towards the inclusion of children with MDVI in school and community life. By being included, children like Naina and Sunaina, not only have the opportunity to learn academics, but also social skills, communication, and independent living.