Blessing that Counts: An inspiring initiative somewhere in the hills and valleys

Children from CCI engrossed in the gardening activity

This story is of the parents from Manipur who in desperation of getting quality service for their child started an organization called Centre for Community Initiative (CCI) and it pilot project Malsawm Initiative (TMI) in the region. With the training and support from Perkins India formerly known as Perkins Voice and Vision, the organization initiated services for children with special needs and their families in the region. Perkins India is providing mentoring support to the organization through an experienced professional from the field Ms. Rosa Wahlang. Here is the story straight from the parent who is the founder Director of CCI and a trained participant from the master teacher training program of Perkins India (earlier known as Perkins Voice and Vision)

“With no specialized centre for children with special needs in our town, I sent my son for two years to a regular school. However, throughout the time I was distressed as the school staff was neither trained nor had the sensitivity to work with my child. Hence, out of frustration and with no option, we started a special school, The Malsawn Initiative (TMI) in Manipur”.

The road was not easy as we had no training and experience in this field. However, I was fortunate to come across Perkins India that gave me an opportunity to gain knowledge and a deep understanding of children with special needs. I attended the Master Teacher Training Course conducted by Perkins India in the year 2011. Our school, The Malsawn Initiative saw a new dawn after this course. “The course was well planned; the resource persons were well versed with their subject and gave us great practical exposure. It was like opening flood gates to in-depth knowledge.”

With the new knowledge, we now regularly organize various programs for the teachers, staff and parents for capacity building. Individual Education Plans are developed and class activities are thoughtfully prepared keeping in mind the individual needs of each child. In addition, parent support groups are also created. They volunteer at the program as well as help raise funds for the school.

“Phase II of the master training program capacitated me even more to bring home the much needed changes in our school. Circle time that we have now is much more interactive, the classroom set-up and seating arrangements are revised, classroom teaching, outdoor activities and activities of daily living as well as the Individual Education Plans that we prepared have improved and linked to the Oval format of Learning through Play. The relevant practical exposure that we had during the training was also another important aspect which contributed to the improvement of our school”.

As our school was started not only by choice but also by compulsion, we had many areas which needed improvements but could not be met due to the lack of regular source of funding. Remoteness of our area is always a constraint for resource mobilisation, though remoteness was never a hindrance to our work. Our partnership with Perkins India for the technical support has been extremely helpful in improving educational services in the school. I express my heartfelt thanks to Perkins India team for extending their support in this untouched region.

- Mr. Pauzagin Tonsing
Director, Centre for Community Initiative, Manipur
(Participant in the Master Teachers Course Level One – 2011-12)