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About Samaaveshi Pathshaala Foundation:
Samaaveshi Pathshaala Foundation is a registered nonprofit based in Karjat tribal block of Maharashtra, founded by two graduates of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. Our mandate is to build an inclusive society: a society for all where no one is left behind and everyone gets equal opportunity to excel in life. And the journey to build an inclusive society starts from an inclusive classroom.
We started our journey with an ‘inclusive kindergarten’ from a three-room rented space with a small playground in Kashele village, on 3rd December 2018, World Disability (Inclusion) Day. Our goal is to become a model inclusive school where all children irrespective of their social backgrounds and disabilities have equal access and opportunity to quality education.
At present, we have 15 children aged 3-6 years, including six children with disabilities (one child with physical disability, two children with cerebral palsy, and three children with speech and hearing impairments), who study together in the same classroom which is led by a special educator and a ‘shadow’ teacher. The school’s curriculum is designed in such a way that each child gets equal opportunity to learn and participate in activities both in and outside the classroom. Besides, by integrating concepts of constructivism, arts-based therapy (ABT) and social-emotional learning (SEL), we strive to enhance creativity, expression and learning outcomes for all children at our school.
Vision and mission of the organization:
VISION: One day, all schools will become inclusive.
MISSION: To bring systemic transformation in schools where every child irrespective of their social background and disability has equal access to quality education.
Our current activities:
Inclusive Kindergarten: At present, we have 30 children aged 4-6 years, including 10 children with disabilities who study together, using multi-sensory approach. We follow an ‘inclusive curriculum’ that’s designed in a way that each child gets equal opportunity to learn and participate in activities both in and outside the classroom. Besides, by integrating concepts of constructivism, arts-based therapy (ABT) and social-emotional learning (SEL), we strive to enhance creativity, expression and learning outcomes for all children.
Beginning June 2019, we launched a series of new programmes to build an ecosystem on ‘inclusive education’ in Karjat block:
a) Samaaveshi (Community) Library
b) Digital Literacy Programme
c) Inclusive ‘Anganwadi’ Transformation
d) Inclusive School in-a-Box.
What problem is our organization aiming to address? Why are we focusing on this problem?
Education is a basic human right and one of the most important indicators of a country’s growth. However, in India, children with disability do not get equal access and opportunity to quality education. They face discrimination and serious obstacles in their journey to access quality education at all levels. The result is: a significant number of children with disabilities either remain out of schools, or dropout well before they complete secondary education.
Despite the mandate of ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)’ to provide compulsory education for all children between the ages of six and 14, children with disability form the largest ‘out-of-school’ group in India. According to a 2015-16 report by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), of all children with disability who enroll for school, only 8.5% make it to secondary level, and a dismal 2.3% finally get to pursue their higher secondary education.
While the reasons for high dropout and low enrollment among children with disability can be diverse, it’s primarily because regular schools often fail to address their specific needs and understand their learning abilities. Although this can be due to the lack of trained teachers and limited resources in schools, most often it’s a result of deep-seated prejudices and negative attitudes towards children with disabilities. Lack of social support further isolates these children and their families to increased hardships, exclusion and stigma.
What is our approach to solve this problem?
Our approach is to set-up a model inclusive school where children with disabilities study along with fellow children without disabilities, in an environment that promotes holistic learning and development. To address the specific learning needs and abilities of each child, we have designed an inclusive curriculum and an ‘individualized education plan (IEP)’ that takes into consideration the strengths and areas of improvement for each child.
Our strategic approach to address this issue is:
Phase 1: To set-up a model inclusive school in Karjat block of Maharashtra.
Phase 2: Research, resource development and training on inclusive education.
PHASE 3: Specialized centre for inclusion.
Volunteer: Come, experience what it’s like teaching-learning in an inclusive classroom.
One-time donation: Make a small contribution to support our work on inclusive education.
Sponsor a child’s education: Donate 500 rupees per month to support one child’s education.
Donate in-kind: Provide resources such as books, educational/play items, laptops, school furniture, physiotherapy equipment etc. – to help set-up an inclusive library and therapy centre.
Samaaveshi Pathshaala Foundation, Kashele, near Rural Hospital, Karjat block, Maharashtra – 410201, India.