Perkins India believes every child deserves access to quality education and the chance to discover and explore his or her potential. To realize this vision, Perkins India launched a breakthrough initiative that is transforming the lives of children with multiple disabilities by finding them and connecting them to learning and services for the first time using a systematic process rooted in thorough data collection. Project Identification and Intervention (IDI) aims to screen and assess children for multiple disabilities and vision impairment (MDVI) and then provide access to interventions that prepare them for school – and we do this hand-in-hand with our local partners.
Jayati Bharatam, a local NGO in the Lucknow area of Uttar Pradesh, has a long history of supporting and educating children with disabilities. Although Jayati Bharatam has a staff of seasoned leaders, special educators and community workers, additional training and mentoring was required to equip them with the specialized knowledge and skills necessary to address the needs of children who have multiple disabilities with vision impairment.
The Perkins India team was on hand to prepare the staff and orient them to the needs of children with MDVI. Expert staff members Sampada Shevde, Country Head, and Anuradha Mungi, Educational Specialist, provided several days of training that began with a simulation activity. The Jayati Bharatam team was blindfolded and asked to complete simple tasks like communicating a message to another person and performing a daily activity such as pouring water into a glass. Muneer, a Project IDI team member, shared that the simulation session helped him begin to understand the challenges that children with MDVI face despite having little exposure to disabilities beforehand.
The Project IDI team was also trained on screening and assessment procedures. A practical session gave them first-hand experience screening children while gathering important insights from parents. Sandhya, the Administrative Assistant at Jayati Bharatram, spoke highly of the training saying, “The training on Introduction to MDVI and Screening helped me to understand about disabilities and MDVI. I can conduct the screening…confidently.”
The training on Introduction to MDVI and Screening helped me to understand about disabilities and MDVI. I can conduct the screening… confidently.Sandhya, the Administrative Assistant at Jayati Bharatram
When the first Project IDI screening camps and door-to-door screenings started, the Perkins India experts worked alongside the Jayati Bharatam team as they honed their screening and assessment skills. Now with regular mentoring support from the Perkins India experts, the freshly trained cadre of educators and CBR workers can screen children independently and Project IDI is reaching so many children with multiple disabilities who might otherwise have been left out of education and community life.
Within nine months of the initial training on screening and identification, the Jayati Bharatam team screened over 400 children and identified over 100 children with MDVI. Along the way, they’ve helped children like Naina and Sunaina to enroll in their local schools and guided families to opt for disability certification for their children so they can access additional government support services.
Ms. Renu Agnihotri, Chief Functionary at Jayati Bharatam says, “The training and mentoring support for screening by Ms. Sampada and Ms. Anuradha from Perkins India has helped our team of CBR workers and special educators to screen children in a variety of settings and has helped us to identify several children with MDVI”.
Together, Perkins India and Jayati Bharatam are making sure every child is learning and thriving.