Kartiki Nitin Lawate finds out how Umed Pariwar, an association of parents has been working for the benefit of the mentally-challenged and cerebral palsy persons in Pune over the last 25 years
Umed Pariwar, a city-based association of parents that works for the betterment of mentally-challenged and cerebral palsy persons, is entering its 25th year. To mark the occasion, they have planned year-long activities to raise awareness about this neglected segment of the society.
Differently-abled children perform at a dance competition
The association was started in 1990 to provide total care to such special children including prevention, early intervention, training, education, research and rehabilitation. Subhash Rawal, president of Umed Pariwar, recently announced the calendar of the year-long celebrations.
Umed Pariwar members during a conference
“The association started with periodical meetings of the parents of differently-abled children and it has now grown into an active association. It has been supporting parents physiologically and emotionally to raise their special children.”
Bags created by children under Umed Pariwar
There is a need for a residential-cum-rehabilitation facility for such adult persons, which would accommodate them and provide an opportunity to do productive activities. “With this in mind, we are setting up Arvind Saurabh, a residential facility across 10 acres of land near Wadaki Nala on Hadapsar–Saswad Road. We appeal to citizens to contribute for this initiative in terms of money, material and time,” added Rawal.
The journey, however, hasn’t been without challenges. Trustee Rajendra Nahar, mentions bureaucratic hurdles at government departments for conducting various activities: “We had a tough time getting permission from the Pune Municipal Corporation for getting the drawings made by the special children displayed in the public gardens. The toughest challenge was when we approached the Pune Collector to commence work of our project.
The land was donated to us in the early 90’s and we took it for development in 2006. When we contacted the land department for permission to start construction, we were informed that we could get only 0.4 FSI as it falls under the Forest Act. We had to struggle for nearly three years but finally we got permission to construct on 20% area without spending even a single paisa as speed money.”
Arvind Saurabh will eventually have a capacity to accommodate 100 differently-abled individuals. It will have a therapy centre, special area for recreational and sports activities, a hydrotherapy centre and an amphitheatre. More importantly, it will take care of differently-abled individuals for their entire lifespan.
Umed Pariwar also organises a two-day bi-annual state level conference in Pune where they have panel discussions on subjects related to children. It includes a special session where parents share success stories of their children in various fields like sports, dance and music.
Parent counselling is also done to educate them about various schemes and facilities for special children. Every year, on their Foundation Day in April, the association conducts dance and drama competition for children from schools and vocational centres in Pune. They also run a Sheltered Workshop where 11-12 persons come daily and get involved in activities like manufacturing office files, paper bags, earthen lamps, etc.
This year, there will be a special medical camp for special children from September to December. In February 2015, a state-level conference shall be organised where doctors and parents of affected children and government officials will be invited.
Bal Melawa, a dance competition, will be organised in March 2015 in Pune where 450 special children from 30 institutes are expected to showcase their dancing and acting skills.
At: Umed Pariwar, Shanti Complex, New Mangalwar Peth, Narpatgiri Chowk.