Divyang Kala Kendra in Naupada, Thane
Divyang Kala Kendra in Naupada, Thane

Even as the city managed to crawl back on its feet soon after the Tuesday (August 29) deluge, special children lost their Divyang Kala Kendra, which taught them writing, music, handicrafts, painting and acting for free, to the floods, with a majority of the structure submerged and all the expensive equipment inside damaged. Now, the students' parents have come together to lend a helping hand in rebuilding the school.

Special skills
Vijay Joshi, 24, who is autistic, loves to paint to express himself. A student at Divyang Kala Kendra, the activity helped him to calm down whenever he got agitated. And he's been missing that since August 29. Staffers, however, have been working on a war footing to collect funds for the reconstruction of the arts centre.

"The centre had been running for the past one year. We taught and trained the children in various forms of art to help in their development, and the condition of several of them had improved," said president of Aditya Pratishthan, the NGO that runs the school, Kiran Nakti.

"We haven't done this for any commercial gain or profit; we don't take any fee from the students. This work is with the aim of giving back to the society."

Under water
The school lost equipment worth Rs 25-30 lakh in the flooding — computers, laptops, four DSLR cameras, used during the photography classes, two LCD TVs, on which the children would be shown educational movies, and several music systems.

"It was a digital classroom, as teaching in that way helps these special kids to understand better and lessens the chance of them getting distracted. The equipment included hard disks, pen drives, tables, chairs, cutlery collection, drawing books, books, notebooks, uniforms, musical instruments, namely harmonium, tabla and synthesizer, all of which is gone," said Nakti.

"So now, several parents are helping us to collect funds, but most of them are from the economically weaker section themselves, and hence, it is impossible to arrange for the large amount required without people's help. We have started an online crowd-funding campaign on Milaap, but we have a long way to go."

Rs 30 lakh
Worth of equipment damaged and amount required to restart the school