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Reaching out to students: Mumbai's REACH celebrates 20 years of empowering young minds

Updated on: 19 August,2022 10:19 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Tanishka D’Lyma | mailbag@mid-day.com

An alternate school celebrates 20 years of empowering young minds with a fete and by expanding their body of work

Reaching out to students: Mumbai's REACH celebrates 20 years of empowering young minds

Students at REACH

In 2002, Anuradha Patpatia opened REACH, a parallel school for children with learning disabilities with the belief that every child can reach their potential when given the right support. It is the same belief and passion for her work that fuelled Patpatia for the last 20 years. The 66-year-old shares, “REACH is a place where children can prosper, be comfortable, and feel accepted. Everyone has strengths and we encourage children to find and utilise theirs.” Vile Parle-based REACH — Remedial Education and Centre for Holistic Development — offers individually tailored teaching that goes beyond learning disabilities, and social, emotional and economic challenges to address every child’s educational needs. This is done through remedial methods of teaching, occupational, music and art-based therapy, developing prevocational skills, counseling, and  other offerings.

The therapy roomThe therapy room

Celebrating 20 years, the parallel school has organised an inter-school event Perfete 2022 on August 20, inviting over 12 institutes such as Hiranandani Foundation School in Thane, Priyanj Special School in Goregaon and Nalanda Learning Facilitation Programme in Byculla, among others. Noting the strain of being housebound during the pandemic on children, the event is planned as a coming-together of creative and bright young minds to interact, play, learn and have fun through cooking, art and music competitions. Following a dream to help students facing monetary setbacks, Patpatia shares that REACH Trust was formed with the idea that 25 per cent of students can be taught for free. They also offer workshops for teachers from tier three schools, and as of this year, they have reached out to other schools to provide free remedial therapy to students from low-income groups in classes five and above.

Anuradha Patpatia and Hiral Mankad DholakiaAnuradha Patpatia and Hiral Mankad Dholakia

Patpatia says, “Every child is different and so they’re given different approaches to learning. Here, teachers empathise with students, accept them for who they are and support them. And through this, our students flourish. I love going to REACH and I love interacting with my children; like when they pass by my seat, they’ll pop in and say, ‘Hello Anu Miss’, or at the end of the day when I say goodbye and check on everyone about the kind of day they’ve had — I love it.” Patpatia wears many hats at the school including founder, director, teacher and principal, but acknowledges the help of her colleague, Hiral Mankad Dholakia, in expanding the centre’s reach. The next 20 years and beyond will continue to witness REACH enrich the lives of students, and equip them with knowledge, skills and confidence. If you want to be a part of their journey, you can contribute to the centre.

Log on to www.reach-sre.org 
Call 9819461383 

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