This quarterly activity report for the period October 2019 to December 2019 of Asha Ka Jharna (AKJ) special schools is aimed to depict, describe and list various activities undertaken with children, staff and community members during this period. The report also illustrates the various events organized by the organization, visits of prominent personalities, awards, honors and accreditations received etc.
On 5th October, Asha Ka Jharna celebrated Samajik Uthhan Diwas in collaboration with District Social Justice & Empowerment Deptt. Govt of Rajasthan. There were lots of activities including sports and drawing competitions. Children performed brilliant cultural programs on different themes which spell bound the audience which comprised of Additional District Collector, Deputy Director Women & Child Development, Assistant Director Social Justice & Emowerment , Members Child Welfare Committee Jhunjhunu along with other dignitaries and many parents. Speakers praised lavishly on our activities and self - less services for special needs children since 22 years. Khemi Shakti Mandir Trust Chairman Sh. Ramakant Ji Tibrewal & Shyam Tibrewal also graced the occasion.
Regular health check up of all children was conducted at Sikar School on 9th October in collaboration with Lions Club Sunrise. A team of doctors and paramedic staff evaluated on vital statistics like height , weight , heartbeat , oral hygiene , eye & ear infection and overall well being of children. Few cases of concern were intimated to respective parents along with advice to take further medical consultation.
On 15th October, Sub Divisional Magistrate Nawalgarh Sh. Murari Lal Sharma paid a visit to our school and interacted with children. He took keen interest in school activities and assured all help from administration whenever required.
Medical checkup at Nawalgarh unit was organized on 17th and 18th October with support from Mohan Goenka Foundation. Focus was on dental and eye deformities with specialists investigating on these. After detailed screening , six children were shortlisted for spectacles to whom AKJ provided free lenses & frames subsequently thereby improving their vision.
Highly Productive and Enriching Executive Committee Meet , Annual General Council Meeting & National Parents Meet of PARIVAAR National Confederation of 280 PAN INDIA Parents Organization was organized at Ahmedabad from 18th to 20th October which was attended by our chief functionary Sh. Sudeep Goyal along with two parents. He interacted with galaxy of dignitaries in our sector as well as took one technical session on accessibility. He also chaired a session on Skill Building and was elected as PARIVAAR Vice President - Central Zone for three years term. 350 + delegates across the country participated and deliberated on a range of issues concerning persons with intellectual disabilities.
An opportunity to showcase abilities of our children was seized by us when we participated for the first time in Amrita Hat (One Week Diwali Fair organized by District Administration Jhunjhunu from 16th to 23th October). A stall for display and sale of products (Designer Diyas & Greeting Cards) made by our children was put up which was visited and appreciated by thousand of community members including all Govt. Functionaries. Brisk sale of around thirty thousand rupees was recorded along with heightened visibility to our cause.
On 3rd November , we attended a glittering evening interspaced with Ex President India Hon. Pranav Mukerjee pearls of wisdom, The Hans Foundation Founders Sh. Manoj Bhargava and Smt. Shweta Rawat assuring solidarity to change makers, finest MC as Shailesh Lodha, Ear soothing performances by Singer Suresh Wadekar & energetic Shilong Chamber Choir, simply classic extravaganza by Legend Shobana. Occasion was 10th Anniversary Celebrations of THE HANS FOUNDATION – our strategic & funding partner since 10 long years.
During November month, AKJ Sign Language Interpreter provided our Pro Bono Services to different police stations in Jhunjhunu district in connection with multiple incidents in which either witness or accused was a person with hearing impairment.
Children Day was celebrated at our three schools on 14th November with multiple activities including Bal Mela (Children Fair), Ramp walk, snack stalls for children by our educators, games, prize distribution, painting & drawing, cake cutting and delicious food served. Children and Team had a gala time.
On 16th – 17th November at Nagda (MP) , National Meet of Self Advocates of India (SAFI) was attended by our National Trainer Ms Suman Tailor and few Self Advocates from Rajasthan. Chief Guest Shri Thawaarchand Gehlot, Hon Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt of India lauded the efforts of organizer. Thereafter very interesting technical sessions for Self Advocates comprising of topics concerning empowerment of persons with intellectual & developmental disabilities started in good earnest. They had Annual General Body meeting of SAFI followed by elections of National Office Bearers. In the evening SAs had entertainment and networking among themselves.
We always keep on evolving with changing dynamics of our eco system. In order to strengthen our organization Human Resource Policy, we approached Tool Box India – A consulting firm providing pro bono capacity building services to NPO Sector. After an intense brainstorming exercise between us and the talented expert volunteers (working in top notch corporate), a fairly comprehensive HR Manual which covers all areas of employee engagement, retention and separation was finalized. This document contains almost all possible interactions we may come across while working with our team members. Clarity of rights & responsibilities along with deliverables is visible here.
Media engagement is the key to ensure visibility to our sector. Leading Media Group Dainik Bhaskar celebrated its founder day on 30th November among our children through organizing multiple activities including painting, cultural and snacks distribution. Similarly Alliance Club International President Dr. D S Jangid and Mukundgarh Municipal Committee Chairman Sh Satya Narain Saini along with his friends celebrated his birthday with our Nawalgarh school children on 5th & 10th December respectively. Inclusion was the objective of these events.
On the eve of International Day for Persons with Disability, our chief functionary recorded a talk on FM SIKAR. He explained in detail about Disability, Types, RPD Act, Right Based Approach, Social Inclusion and Community Participation. Briefed specifically about PwIDDs, challenges and opportunities including Self Advocacy.
REPORT ON INCLUSIVE CHILDREN FESTIVAL 2019
INCLUSIVE CHILDREN FESTIVAL was celebrated on 3rd December 2019 on the occasion of World Day for Disabled at Nawalgarh by ASHA KA JHARNA with the support of The Hans Foundation New Delhi. All our three special schools at Nawalgarh, Sikar and Jhunjhunu participated in a unified event to put up a great show aimed at inclusion and sensitization among community. This was an event with 500+ children and teachers comprising of 240 children (studying from Grade 4 to 8) from Eleven (11) regular normal schools (8 reputed public schools & 3 Government schools) integrated with 205 of special needs children (Intellectually Disabled & Hearing Impaired) from three of our special schools and another one special school. 20 Scouts also volunteered their services. Thus 13 institutes took part.
Children from different schools started assembling at starting point from 9.30 AM onwards. Human chains were made with one special and one non disabled child joining hand in hand. At 9.55 AM awareness rally named ‘Badhte Kadam’ (Let’s March Forward) by Sub Divisional Magistrate Nawalgarh Mr. Murari Lal Sharma jointly with our Special Children Master Prince & Baby Neetu was flagged off. Alliance Club International Chairman Dr D S Jangid , Social Security Officer Mr Nikhil , Podar College Principal Dr Shukla, Prominent Citizen Mr Kailash Chotia , Mr Sanjay Sharma cheered up the children who under the supervision of AKJ and normal school educators carried play cards, banners and tricolor balloons depicting following awareness slogans:
We Need Solidarity Not Pity
We Have Equal Rights
Access for All
Let’s Remove Barriers
Equal Opportunities for Us
Look upon our Abilities, Not Disability
Disability is not a Curse
Make us Your Strength, Not Weakness
We have to Knock on Every Door to mitigate Disability related Sufferings
Constitution Gives Us Equal Rights to Live, Education, Voting, Recreation, Livelihood, Participation in Decision Making, Free Expression & Speech
This was an exciting lively rally with school vehicles in toe (on which children unable to walk long distance were sitting) leading the convoy and children shouting slogans in portable speaker, waving play cards & dancing on the way . We made the One KM route such as to pass through dense main market, station road, college and schools, Private Hospital, Cinema Hall , Police Station , Municipal Committee and populated area so as to catch maximum eyeballs. Persons ventured outside of their shops to look at rally. Rally was flagged in at 10.50 AM at Surya Mandal Play Ground by Sh. R G Gupta, President, Agarwal Samaj who announced the games open and wished all children all the best for day ahead.
TOTAL COMMUNITY SENSITIZED: 5000 (Approx.)
Inter School Sports Events: (11.10 AM – 1.15 PM) :
After fifteen minutes rest & relishing fresh juice, second leg was started at 11.10. We had planned various sporting events as follow:
50 Meter Race (Boys & Girls)
100 Meter Race (Boys & Girls)
Soft Ball Throw (Boys & Girls)
Sack Race (Boys & Girls)
Spoon Race (Boys & Girls)
Three Legged Race (Boys & Girls)
Special Race for CP Children
Along with these, a Drawing & Painting Competition was also organized.
All the children (with prior registered entries) participated in these competitions enthusiastically. They were extremely excited and thrilled to integrate with our special children whom we had placed in every event. Their teachers were initially apprehensive but when AKJ children bagged top positions in few games, they cheered up their students to take it seriously. Out of 63 prizes, 18 were won by special children. Through these two hours of sporting events, we were able to achieve our desired objective of showcasing the abilities & potential of all children. Participants were served delicious snacks of Chowmein & Paav Bhaji which they relished to the content of their hearts
Puppet Show , CATWALK & Cultural Program: (1.30 PM – 2.30 PM) :
After all hustle & bustle, finally it was time to relax & get enjoyed. A captivating Puppet Show was arranged for the children by a famed puppeteer who enthralled the gathering with different tricks and moves by beautiful dolls made to dance on the direction of his fingers. This lost tradition was relived and was very much enjoyed by all children.
Then there was the most acclaimed performance of the day. Our young girls with Down syndrome did a mesmerizing CATWALK on the centre stage. They carried themselves with utmost grace and confidence among the wide applause of audience. Children & teachers from regular schools were spellbound to witness this unprecedented event by special girls who were cheered with wide hooting. Thereafter, a musical drama on the theme of ‘Save Trees’ was enacted by our children with hearing impairment. We also presented before the gathering our two HI youth who have been provided regular employment as ‘retail customer executive’ at Reliance Mega Store Sikar. They narrated their stories and journey to success. Our Sign Language Interpreter translated the proceedings.
Prize Distribution Ceremony & Feedback Session: (2.30 PM – 3.00 PM) :
At 2.30 PM, prize distribution ceremony was conducted with Chief Judicial Magistrate Jhunjhunu Mr. Vijay Singh, ACJM Jhunjhunu Ms. Sarita Choudhary, Gram Court Nawalgarh Judge Mr. Gyanendra Singh & Agarwal Samaj President Mr R G Gupta along with Senior Teacher Mr Jitender Gupta and Senior Journalist Mr. Jagdish Jangir giving away the prizes. Judges also spoke about equal rights and legal capacity of children with disabilities before the law. In this program, in addition to special gifts to top position holders, each and every participant (445) was given a goodies bag (gift, cake, juice) along with Twelve (12) school mementoes. Feedback forms were collected from the regular school students where they recorded their true feelings about Inclusion. They vowed to make friendships with their special counterparts. Day long events finally ended at 3.10 PM with school teams’ departure.
Inclusive Children Festival high points were:
Ramp Walk by Young Girls with Down Syndrome
A Mesmerizing Performance on Save Environment by Children with Hearing impairment
Captivating Puppet Show
Showcasing Abilities (Young Hearing Impaired Adults from AKJ Now Proud Executives in Corporate)
Awareness Rally being witnessed by Hundreds of Citizens
Participation of Opinion Makers including SDM , CJM , Magistrates , Police , Media , Social Security Officer, Academicians, Politicians , Parents and Mass Public
Our objectives of awareness building & inclusion were effectively met as evident from the feedback we received afterwards. Inclusive Children Festival 2019 created sweet memories and feeling of empathy strongly itched into children and teachers minds. Children wrote the feedback with words like ‘Eye opening’, ‘Incredible’ and ‘Discovering the abilities’ with the promise to take along their special friends in their day to day activities. More than 500 participants directly and 5000 indirect community were sensitized about INCLUSION as way of living. Whole program was widely appreciated by community and those present.
On World Day for Persons with Disability, our team was specifically invited by District Administration Jhunjhunu to present a mesmerizing and captivating performance at District level program. District Collector Sh Ravi Jain, Superintendent of Police Sh. Gaurav Yadav and all top Govt Officials along with prominent citizens of Jhunjhunu were spell bound and highly emotional after witnessing a touching musical drama by our special needs children. DM personally awarded cash prize to motivate them.
Awareness Session on Good & Bad Touch along with coping with sexuality related issues in adolescent children with special needs was conducted on 7th, 11th and 21st December at our three schools respectively where parents were sensitized on these vital issues in light of growing incidents of child sexual abuse. These were highly informative sessions by Ms. Suman Tailor, National Trainer and effective communicator of Asha Ka Jharna.
On 17th December, Western Region Review Conference on JJ Act & POCSO Act was organized at Mumbai by National Human Rights Commission & Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Issues from six states related to these acts were discussed. Our chief functionary Sh. Sudeep Goyal as special invitee presented in detail current status as well as challenges in child protection here at Rajasthan. He specifically mentioned about under reported cases of abuse against child with special needs particularly of intellectually disabled children.
On 19th December, we met with State Child Right Commission Chairperson Ms Sangeeta Beniwal at Jhunjhunu and briefed her about multiple issues at hand. She was sensitized about child rights and possible violation concerning special children.
As a part of our annual calendar, another once in a life time & much awaited opportunity for our special children was seized and maximized. Eight children and two educators spent eight days (17th December to 24th December) of their memorable stay at Nature Study cum Adventure Camp organized by Himalayan Nature & Adventure Foundation Siliguri (West Bengal). This year camp venue was on a river bank located in the Himalayan Mountains Range (Village Noam Distt. Kalimpong). Amidst the pristine nature and river bank surrounding mountains, children had a gala time. A typical Day was interspaced with activities like morning PT , nature walk , cooking in the woods , tent life , exploring flora & fauna , games , trekking , making rope bridges , climbing on wall , relishing local delicacies ,painting , camp fire , evening hall , cultural program and what not. Bonding, Self Confidence, Leadership, Team Spirit & Companionship were the key takeaways. There were many firsts for the children including 36 Hours Train Journey, Jungle, River, Mountain, Animals & Birds in Jungle, Hotel Stay & Exposure to Different Food, Culture and Landscape & Topography! Few children who initially hesitated & absolutely unsure to explore rock climbing , Burma bridge and paragliding adventure activities did the same with ease and in a jiffy after being persuaded & witnessing their peers from other parts of country. It was an emotional scene on the parting day of camp for both children & team members.
During December, our two special educators also came out of their shells and were sent by us as a part of team fostering to present talks on FM Radio Sikar about both Intellectual Disability & Hearing Impairment. Such was the confidence and clarity of thoughts on AIR that RJ again sought an appointment with them.
More than 100 Mentors and 300 Self Advocates were trained at five districts of Rajasthan in multiple domains of self advocacy and asserting their choices. We as state project lead facilitated; organized logistics and provided our stewardship to various partners across the state. Skills acquired by SAs comprised of bonding within peers , Self confidence building , Communicational Skills , Self- Determinations , Independent Skills , Enjoyment, Learning , Decision making, listening, Quick responding, problem solving etc. , Differentiation between appropriate and inappropriate , accept the appropriate things, reject the inappropriate thing , To express their feeling about family and community , To develop self esteem , Recognize the helping person in their group, recognize the public places, Recognize the helping person in emergency like police , Speak out their needs in front of others, know their needs etc.
During the reported period all festivals like Vijayadashmi, Deepawali, Christmas as well as National Days Gandhi Jayanti & Bal Diwas were celebrated with full gusto. Role play activities and cultural programs followed by sweets distribution completed the festivities. Children learnt social skills like taking turns, displaying leadership, team building, controlling emotions and time management in implicit manner by participating in these events.