Author – Samarth Goel
A few weeks back, my college semester ended and vacations began. Most of my classmates took internship at various private companies and organisations. However, I thought why I shouldn’t i work with an NGO this time. So i enlisted myself as an intern at the Amar Jyoti School for Inclusive Education located at Karkardooma in Delhi. Managed by Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust, the institute consists of a hospital, a school and an artificial limb manufacturing unit for the differently-abled people. Among these, the school is the most interesting part of the whole set-up.
Till now, I had only seen segregated schools for the differently-abled and regular children. Seldom would we see a differently-abled child studying in a regular school, since this concept is relatively new to our country. Fortunately, times are changing and new institutions like Amar Jyoti are springing up in different parts of the country to empower differently-abled people.
The Trust is completely focused on the differently-abled and the problems they might face in their day-to-day lives. The institution has ramps all over the campus. Handrails, steady slopes and guide tiles are placed and maintained so that no differently-abled person faces a problem in navigating the area. An interesting fact to be shared here: Amar Jyoti brought a new concept to India named ‘Abilympics’, a vocational skills competition organized for the differently-abled.
We usually call differently-abled people as “physically disabled”, but how is a person supposed to be disabled if they haven’t experienced something? Let us take an example of blind people. They can’t see, but we can. On the other hand, they have sharp hearing skills, and a heightened sense of touch and smell – senses which we have too but are not that sharp. So how exactly can we call them disabled? We are also equally disabled then, aren’t we?
Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust was established in 1981 and since the last 30 years, the trust started serving the differently-abled people. The Amar Jyoti School for Inclusive Education is a huge milestone in integrating the differently-abled people in our society. While interning there, I noticed that students with all kinds of disabilities were studying together in a co-educational atmosphere. The teaching quality there seemed way better than government run institutions for the differently-abled or even government schools for regular kids.
I noticed that this kind of co-education sensitizes these children; I mean the ’normal’ ones! They do not hesitate in helping out a fellow in need. Some really young children were having a hard time rolling up the ramps. Two perfectly abled students went all the way to the top floor to drop them safely.
The founder and the current team of trustees are also praiseworthy. After doing a lot of hardwork in the initial year, they could now rest on their laurels. However, they never relax and do whatever they can for these children. For example, I have seldom seen the founder Dr. Uma Tuli in her cabin. She is always busy on rounds to check that everything is going well in the two buildings: the public service building and the school building. I also saw her spending a lot of time with the school students, irrespective of whether they have a disability or not.
In my opinion, each one of us should work with a NGO at least once in our lifetime. It’s a totally different experience from what we face while interning at offices and companies. The best part is, when you go and spend some time with someone, they feel good and most importantly, we also feel at peace. I know because I felt peaceful. After two months of a busy schedule, I could not believe what a heartwarming and soothing experience it was for me to work in a new field.
When you work in an NGO, you realize that we are not the only ones in the world facing problems. I saw a child playing table tennis with only one foot. He had no arms. He had a leg missing. Yet he decided to forget those problems and gave one awesome performance. The level of inspiration is indescribable. If given the chance I would go and work with them again and again. In today’s busy world, visiting a school for inclusive education seems like a small cost to pay for mental peace.
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