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On Disability Day, Gurgaon school underlines ability

Twelve-year-old Jonty has Down’s syndrome, detected when he was two. As a student of VISHWAS (Vision for Health, Welfare and Special Needs) School, however, he’s learning how not to let it come in his way. Today, when Jonty, his parents and several other special children marked World Disability Day at Vishwas Kendra in Sushant Lok I, they did it like in any other children’s party — they clapped, they sang and they danced.

Jonty’s mother Anjana Rawat said, “At first, it was a shock for both my husband and me but gradually we accepted the fact. He went to a special school for nine years but after we were told about Vishwas by Jonty’s speech therapist, we found it a much better place.”

Inaugurating the function, Member of Parliament Deepinder Singh Hooda said that the lack of facilities for the disabled in public places here contradicted the spirit of “compassionate country” like India. People should join hands in making Gurgaon a disabled-friendly city, he said. “There should be provision for disabled people in parks and other public places,” Hooda said, adding that a public-private partnership (PPP) model, the kind that VISHWAS works on, could be a model.

Referring to the demand raised for fixing a day each week for issuing disability certificates, Hooda said the panel of doctors should be available on one particular day and certificates should be issued that very day so that people don’t have to go knocking from door to door.

“Financial assistance of Rs 300 per month for disabled children under 18 years has been assigned,” Hooda said. “Similarly, a free life insurance scheme named ‘Nirmaya’ has been introduced by the state Government for these special people with income below Rs 15,000 per month.”

Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) Administrator G Anupama said: “Our first step will be to make the Leisure Valley Park completely disabled-friendly. We will also try and implement the step for existing buildings in Gurgaon.”

Rajiv Raturi, director of Human Rights Law Network, who is visually impaired, said: “The National Trust Act, enacted in 1999, was the answer for parents of disabled children. This extends support and care after their death.”

In her welcome address, Neelam Jolly, the chairperson of Vishwas School for Special Children, talked about how the seed of an idea — to work with children — got planted years ago and how it has grown into the school. “We initially started in village Sanpki-Nangli in 2004 but it was later shifted to Gurgaon due to the problem of transportation and trainers.” She acknowledged the help she got from a range of people and organisations, all committed to the cause.


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