Special Banjara Events
Ms. Priya Rao : Ms. Priya has been with Spastic Society for more than 2 decades now. She helped in introducing developmental services and early childhood education for children with special needs. She has a string of degrees in this field to her credit, like a PG in special education, a B.Ed and a degree in sensory integration therapy. All this backed by a love for children, especially children who need every bit of our energy and strength of purpose.
Ms. Priya thanked everyone and mentioned that one should have belief in themselves. When you give yourself completely, you will give the best. She also acknowledged the contributions of Ms. Krishna Swamy.
Ms. Rukmini Krishnaswamy : Trained in India and the US, she is a pioneer in the field of special education since over 5 decades. She was instrumental in introducing Special education in India. She has made path breaking changes in the concept of learning Disability, created the first facility for children with cerebral palsy, organized, trained and mentored innumerable teachers and therapists in all fields of special education. She is respected and honoured not only for her capability and expertise, but also for her compassion and dedication, and for having opened the doors for children who would otherwise have been deprived of education or proper upbringing. She spends all her time working holistically with children, parents, teachers and therapists, always looking for newer ideas and techniques that can make the processes more effective and the children happier.
Ms. Vijaya received the felicitation on behalf of Ms. Rukmini Krishnaswamy.
Ms. Shanthi Gnanavolivu : Ms. Shanthi loves children; she has no grandchildren of her own but has many of them all around her. She started her journey with Marthoma Opportunity School and pursued her journey to setting up Sameeksha Learning Centre which is now a full fledged school offering the NIOS system of studies. After a brief stint at UAE she is now heading the Bethany opportunity School.
Ms. Shanthi thanked everyone for supporting and said that she believed in team work. She recalled how being a teacher in Ercot had changed her life when she saw a few of her school children teasing another boy who was a special child calling him "Mad Murugan has come back to school". She also realised that there was no awareness among the people around about the special children. Hence she decided to join the Marthoma Opportunity School and help the special children.
Ms. Sita Rao : Ms. Sita Rao has worked in various capacities and organisations in the field education since the last 22 years. She is essentially a calm, patient person who now volunteers at Parikrama. Ms. Sita Rao spoke to the audience about the importance of patience to help the disabled children.
Dr. Ali recalled one Ms. Sunita Wabjee who was a P.hd in Geo-chemistry from IISc had been to Parikrama for her practicals and then decided to resign her job and join Parikrama as a volunteer.
Ms. Sudha Murthy : Ms. Sudha Murthy started informally working with children with special needs close to 30 years ago and went on to teach visually impaired children and set up a parent support group. Sudha established Prayatna Special Education Centre in 2002 which now has ten special educators involved in assessment and remediation services for children with specific learning disabilities and provides free counselling services to parents with special children.
Ms. Sudha Murthy thanked Banjara Academy and also mention that she felt like a small child who is excited about receiving the prize and telling everyone about it.
Dr. Uma Balasubramaniam : Dr. Uma is a pioneer since over 30 years in providing education, support and better quality of life to persons with hearing impairment. She committed herself to this task, being a founder and Principal of the prestigious Dr. S.R.Chandrashekhar Institute of Speech and Hearing, and is held in high regard in all aspects of hearing impairment, providing her consultancy and advice to various individuals and institutions.
Ms. Uma Madan : Ms. Uma Madan started her journey as a special educator by volunteering for 2 hours a day at the Opportunity section in Sophia School 30+ years ago. She followed up with a course in special education after which she has been a part of the KPAMRC family where she has coordinated for the Teacher training program in special education and led three training programmes as the course director. Special education continues to be her passion and children with developmental disabilities and their parents continue to be a part of her vocation.
Ms. Uma Madan spoke about the time with special children at Sophia School and how the children inspired her to continue her work. She also recalled her journey as a special educator at KPAMRC.
The following special educators were also felicitated:
Ms. Jayashree Ramesh : She is a special educator who has an experience of more than 25 years in this field and is still carrying forward the work and responsibility of a special educator.
Ms. Lalitha Narayanan
Ms. Indira : She enjoys working with special children and has started the Poorna School for Special Children.
The following Institutions were also felicitated for providing excellent services:
Ashwini Charitable Trust : The trust is a 10 year old NGO that educates and empowers underprivileged children from the Ulsoor slums and supports them till they are gainfully employed. It currently supports 129 children from 87 families by way of providing free education, preventive medicine, opportunities in live environmental projects, life skills training with an eye to orient every child in line with the child's dominant intelligence.
The Association of People with Disability : APD since its inception in 1959 has focused through its various programs on comprehensive rehabilitation of the disabled by way of providing and facilitating therapeutic service, mobility aids, counselling, education, career guidance, training and livelihood.
Mr. Basavaraj who has 50 years of experience in this field represented APD. He spoke about his experiences in this field and also mention about common leadership can help this field.
Brindavan Education Trust : This trust was formed in 1993, and is dedicated to teaching children with Specific Learning Difficulties. The Centre has been offering intensive and structured learning program in a number of areas aimed at identifying and nurturing the capabilities of dyslexic children to enable them experience success and fulfill their potential in a safe and supportive learning environment.
Dream a Dream : Dream a Dream was founded in 1999, is a charitable trust, working towards empowering children from vulnerable backgrounds by developing life skills and providing non-traditional educational opportunities by way of running a variety of innovative programs. In parallel it also aims at sensitizing the community through active volunteering leading to a non-discriminatory society where unique differences are appreciated.
Dynam : Dynam is a vocational skills training centre started in 1986 for young mentally challenged children aged 15 and above. They make very effective and creative tools and toys for children, and their trainees contribute towards this cause. Dynam also trains these children with personality development programmes.
A member from Dynam spoke about the importance of personality development and the journey of Dynam from 1986. She also narrated a small story where a scholar was interested to preach the sayings from the Bhagavath Geetha and asked a priest if he can do so in the temple hall. The priest encouraged the him and the scholar started his preachings. On the first the hall was filled with people who came to listen to him, as the days passed the strength reduced and one particular day there were only three people present. The scholar was very disappointed and told the priest "I will not carry out my preaching any longer as no one is interested to listen." the priest told the scholar with a smile " Do not worry about how many people listen to you, Sri Krishna had one Arjuna to listen to him and he preached the whole of Bhagavath Geetha, you still have three people to listen to you, please carry on."
KPAMRC : Karnataka Parent's Association For Mentally Retarded Citizens, formed in 1978, provides education, training and rehabilitation for mentally and developmentally challenged children and adults leading to seamless integration of these individuals with the mainstream of life. KPAMRC has also set up homes for rehabilitation of the elderly mentally handicapped for life long care and ensures their integration with the mainstream to enable living in the community as other citizens of the society.
Mr. Venkatesh represented KPAMRC. He mentioned the importance of the special day and remembered Dr. Radhakrishnan's speech. He recalled the speech and was seated with Mr. Karan Singh. When Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan completed his speech everyone applauded, Mr. Venkatesh though did not understand the speech also did the same, Mr. Karan Singh asked him if he understood the speech for which Mr. Venkatesh replied as no, but since everyone applauded he too did so. Mr. Karan Singh then explained the same speech in simple words and the importance of it. Mr. Venkatesh also mentioned about how his 41 year old son who is also a disabled is a teacher to him, he teaches Mr. Venkatesh new things every day.
KSCCW : Karnataka State Council for Child Welfare is a NGO set up 45 years ago has been serving towards the welfare and development of children and their families. Its main focus is to promote child rights and to empower women and children through literacy, skill development and providing employment opportunities.
Ms. Meenakshi Sivaramakrishnan represented KSCCW and told that she is a Montessorian and is involved in Montessori education, she also mentioned that since they were not directly involved with special children it was a pleasure to know that so many gathered here today were working for their betterment and progress.
Shristi Special Academy : Shristi Special Academy runs scientifically designed child and family centered programs encompassing all areas of development for special children. These include multi therapeutic and holistic special education, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, family therapy and counselling. It is noteworthy that over 50% of the children here are from very poor homes and from rural areas. These children also get food and medical support.
Ms. Suchi represented the Academy and said that she along with Meena and Sheron were working towards the improvement of the cademy.
Spastic Society of Karnataka : The Spastic Society of Karanataka is an NGO which started in 1982 serving people with neuro-muscular disorders and other disabilities. The society promotes inclusive education by establishing model programmes, strengthening parent self help groups by arranging home based programs and promoting community participation to provide support in public places. It runs special schools for children with disabilities, offers vocational training and help for finding suitable jobs. It also conducts certificate and diploma courses for special educators, basic developmental therapists and community rehabilitators.
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