Perkins India has launched Project IDI to identify all children with MDVI throughout India and provide appropriate intervention to those children, their families and communities. Early identification of children with MDVI leads to appropriate intervention, which in turn leads to life-changing results:
- Children are better prepared to attend and benefit from school.
- Families are appropriately connected with government services for which they qualify.
- Once educated, children and young adults play a larger role in their communities, demonstrating their capabilities in spite of MDVI, and role-modeling for other children and families.
- Once educated, individuals obtain gainful employment and contribute to their families’ overall well-being.
Project IDI plans to identify all children with MDVI throughout India, and ensure that they have access to early intervention services that prepare them for school. Initial focus will be on Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India, with more than 200 million citizens and as many as 60,000 children with MDVI.
As a first step toward this ambitious goal, Perkins India will establish a reliable, scalable approach to locating children with MDVI. Our focus will be on a single region where we can pilot and fine-tune a practical approach, demonstrating our ability to mobilize local organizations and community workers. In this same region, we will develop model early intervention programs that can be replicated in both urban and rural settings and document the impact of interventions on families over time.
Meet the children who have been helped by Perkins India.
Age 13 | Wants to be a scientist
Ayush has an excellent memory and love for technology — he is the first to recall important family dates and will tinker with any broken device he can find. Despite Ayush’s talents, his school said it couldn’t support his visual impairment and mobility issues. He could no longer attend. Desperate for their son to continue his education, Ayush’s parents searched for other schools. Finally, they connected with Jayati Bharatam, a local Perkins partner, and Ayush began weekly tutoring at home with a teacher specifically trained to address his learning needs. Eager and hardworking, Ayush is the ideal student. Unable to grip his pencil, Ayush learned to use easier-to-hold marker pens. His instructors also gave him a whiteboard so his lessons could appear large enough to accommodate his low vision. And thanks to physiotherapy sessions, Ayush was able to start climbing up and down stairs. With support, Ayush finally enrolled in school again and is continuing to pursue his dreams. His current goal? “To build a rocket and take it to the moon.”
“I love Ayush very much. [...] I just want my boy to get his education and have a stable future.” —Ayush’s father
Age 10 | Loves learning
Julee couldn’t feed herself, sit up on her own or communicate — except by smiling or crying. Filled with worry, Julee’s mother had asked everyone she met for advice and made many expensive visits to hospitals, carrying her daughter on foot. In 2017, Julee’s life changed forever after a Perkins-trained instructor from Jayati Bharatam visited her and began weekly home-based interventions. With the help of hand exercises, Julee has learned to press her palms together in a Namaste greeting. Once unable to even hold a spoon, Julee can now use a thick pencil — she draws almost-perfect circles and colors pictures of flowers. She can sit up and go out to play. Julee is so excited to be enrolled in school now, just like her siblings. She loves being there and has made new friends. Julee is communicating better than ever with her family, using gestures and signs to connect. Her parents are thrilled to see their daughter learning and sharing her smile with the world.
“For me, what can be happier than this — that my girl can move now?” — Julee’s mother
Age 12 | Is becoming more independent
With his low vision and learning challenges unaddressed for years, Vinod struggled to do even basic chores at home in his rural village. His mother was told there was no hope — he would never improve. Now, after two years of lessons with Perkins-trained instructors from Jayati Bharatam, Vinod is becoming more and more self-sufficient. He feeds himself, brushes his teeth and gets dressed on his own. He can cut up vegetables and help his mother wash clothes and do the dishes. Always excited for the next visit from his teacher, Vinod also gets daily reinforcement of new skills from his mother, who has closely followed her son’s home-based lessons. Vinod has progressed enough that he is able to help his family with some farming tasks in the fields. He may even start learning to package the mangoes they grow. Continued practice on these vocational skills will hopefully build a more secure future for Vinod.
“[Vinod gets] very happy [when his teachers visit him…] He is learning.” —Vinod’s mother