Perkins India believes every child deserves access to quality education and the chance to discover and explore his or her potential. As the first NGO to establish systematic training for teachers of children with MDVI, Perkins India works with partners and educators to establish inclusive education opportunities for every child.
Project Identification and Intervention (Project IDI) is Perkins India’s newest initiative, designed to tackle the two main reasons why children with MDVI are left behind:
- These children are not identified as having a visual impairment and additional disabilities, and therefore are not referred to appropriate services or intervention;
- When children are identified, there are very few intervention and school readiness programs with the expertise and resources to support them.
Every day that children with MDVI go undiagnosed and their families go unsupported is another day lost.
Why does identification and intervention matter?
When children with MDVI ARE NOT identified and supported...
... they remain isolated, and many never leave their home. Without access to resources and support, families lack the ability to help their children, and many believe their children are incapable of learning.
When children with MDVI ARE identified and supported ...
...their lives and their families' lives change. The impact is different for each child, but inclusion and education gives all children with MDVI the chance to reach their full potential. One child may find a vocation. Another may finally have a place in the classroom. Inclusion can mean greater visibility, and even acceptance, in the community.
Project IDI is focused on two key objectives: identifying children with MDVI, and connecting them with appropriate intervention programs to give them the best start in life possible.
Exactly how many children with MDVI are in India, and where do they live? Are they and their families receiving the support they need to thrive? Do they attend school, or are home-based services with qualified educators available to them?
While Perkins India estimates that as many as 1 million children with MDVI live across the country, the only way to ensure those children are appropriately screened, counted and connected to critical resources is to knock on each family’s door.
Partnering with local medical professionals, community workers, educators and NGOs, Perkins India will develop, employ and pilot a data collection system and mobile app in select districts of Uttar Pradesh, communities where Perkins has worked productively with local partners for several years.
Not only will this data collection system become the basis for a database of children with MDVI in India, but the information has the potential to help establish a powerful case for supporting children with MDVI worldwide.
Working with our partners in healthcare and education to identify children with MDVI enables Perkins India to establish a referral protocol — the first step in connecting children with the resources they need. To maximize the impact of these resources, Perkins India is committed to developing model programs throughout the region to ensure children with MDVI receive the early intervention and school readiness services they need to get the most out of their education.
Perkins India will partner with local communities to pilot community resource programs where families can learn about communication strategies, mobility, early literacy and other topics critical to early learning and growth from educational professionals and each other. We will also support families who do not have access to these resource programs through an outreach program that will visit families in their homes to address the individual needs of children.
A scalable model
Along with local partners such as Dr. Shroff's Charity Eye Hospital and local NGO Jayati Bharatam, Project IDI will focus on selected districts in Uttar Pradesh. As we refine our model over the next three years, Project IDI will expand into the remaining districts of Uttar Pradesh and change the lives of as many as 60,000 children with MDVI for the better. We are committed to developing a proof of concept that is scalable and can be adopted by government and other institutions throughout India.
Our work will not be complete until every child with MDVI is appropriately identified and connected with the resources they need to live a life filled with meaning.