Swati Vilas Gaikawad is 13 years old.
Her parents are wage laborers, and the family of 5 live in dire poverty in Karule, Sangamner. Swati was born blind. Up to 3rd standard, she was attending a School for Blind Children in the neighboring town of Shrirampur. However, problems at that school meant that they could no longer support Swati. Upset, she had to return to the small drought-prone village of Karule, which has almost no facilities. She would spend her days sitting at home with nothing to do and nothing to stimulate her.
Her mother, realizing that something needed to be done, began leaving her in the NISD run pre-school center while they worked, in the hope that she would at least be able to play and pass her time.The Reading Improvement Teacher (RIP) spoke to Swati about her situation, and decided to take action. She collected all the information available on Swati, and met with Local Government school teachers. The problem was discussed in a Village Education Committee (VEC) meeting.There were members of the committee who had attended NISD's Child Right trainings and appreciated education was a right for all children. Thus the VEC insisted that educational facilities appropriate for Swati should be available in the village.
The case was taken to the Education Officer, and further action was taken by the VEC and NISD project staff. Finally, a Government teacher with the necessary skills was assigned to the village, under the Government's 'Education for All' initiative. Swati is now enrolled in the 4th standard, with braille books and other educational materials provided, and a teacher to guide her. The VEC and Child Parliament members also registered her for a Government scheme for visually handicapped children.
Swati is very intelligence child. Seeing her willingness to learn, she has also joined the RIP. She greatly enjoys all the new stories she is learning, and is always ready to answer questions about them. Swati is now enrolled in education, and spending her time meaningfully.
Thanks to all who have donated for supporting the various child development programmes that helped us to bring hope to Swati's future.
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