Pandemic, Cash Crunch Hit Rehabilitation of Differently Abled

Several day-care educational cum vocational centres run by these organizations for the differently abled are currently reeling under a shortage of funds, with no form of financial assistance being offered by the state government.
Differently abled children at Sahayika School in Guwahati

Differently abled children at Sahayika School in Guwahati

Karishmita Saikia

The Covid-19 pandemic together with a lack of funds have hampered in the rehabilitation of differently abled individuals in Assam.

In fact, the quality of services provided by different organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to such individuals has been compromised to a considerable extent due to this.

Several day-care educational cum vocational centers run by these organizations for the differently abled are currently reeling under a shortage of funds, with no form of financial assistance being offered by the state government.

Moreover, the pandemic and the subsequent closure of vocational schools have forced differently abled children as well adults to remain confined within the four walls for an extensive period of time.

This has hampered their development as their regular therapy and education came to an abrupt halt during the period.

Although many authorities of such organizations opted for online education to educate such children, it could not equate to that provided through physical classes in special schools.

Mukul Goswami, the founder secretary of Ashadeep, an organization for the differently abled in Guwahati said, “People who are differently abled need regular therapy. This came to a halt during the lockdown period. Parents find it difficult to manage them at home. Therefore, we started online classes to the children. This system worked to an extent.”

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<div class="paragraphs"><p>Differently abled children at&nbsp;Sahayika School in Guwahati</p></div>

Differently abled children at Sahayika School in Guwahati

With no financial assistance from the government authorities, such organizations had to depend on public funding, sponsorships and school fees.

Goswami said, “We haven’t received any fund from the Assam government in the last two years. We generate our own expenses as the process of sending proposal to the authorities and receiving the funds is also a lengthy task.”

“We manage money by charging fees, get donations from different organizations, sponsorships and also through public fundings,” Goswami added.

With the minimal amount that the organizations could arrange, they have to pay the remuneration to special tutors and all other staff associated with them.

Meanwhile, speaking about the same issue, Ipshika Sharma, secretary of the Sahayika School for Specially Abled Children in Guwahati’s Bamunimaidam said, “Our only satisfaction is the ‘Divyang’ pension which every beneficiary receives from the government. Apart from that, the government is not at all worried about how we are managing to keep our organization alive.”

She also said, “We have actually come to the conclusion that the government is not aware of the short comings or difficulties faced by the children with intellectual disabilities.”

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