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29 TH March, 2009
My Trip to SEC(society for the education of the crippled) MUMBAI
She finally said YES TO HER LIFE !.......
These were the words spoken by Manju ..the Program Director of SEC…a victim of polio herself. She faced the insensitive/cruel society with a ‘chip” on her shoulder. Her mothers friend would say..”you are a burden to your family”
It was hard to believe this attractive, petite young lady…who picked me up in her car had a complex?. I did not even notice her limp .
During the drive…she warmed up to me and shared with me her life.
Most of her life she was withdrawn from society….angry with God for doing this to her !
She volunteered at SEC for many years as a semi “detached volunteer” without passion. She did not like to display her disability.
3yrs ago, she watched a dance program, by physically crippled children. At first she reacted…..”why do you want to display your disability to the World ?”
But then she saw the joy in their faces….she realized that there is NO shame. She felt an awakening….an acceptance…and finally she said
YES TO HER LIFE !
She is now the DYNAMIC FORCE behind SEC. She calls herself the catalyst….the Mover and Shaker.
This is her CALLING….. and now she is truly HAPPY !
ON THE SAME PAGE AS HOH
I explained to her about HOH… the philosophy…of empowering the children to become self productive citizens of tomorrow. That is also Manju’s philosophy….for SEC…to EMPOWER these kids !
Is 47yrs old, founded by Fatima Ismail whose daughter had polio. It has 16 Board members and Volunteers.
The school has 3 centers. We visited the school at APTOP HILL…a slum area in Wadala. The place really looked like a slum .The School is in a Govt municipal Building. The top floor is a regular school and the ground floor is SEC. The Govt demands nominal rent. The only help they get from the Govt is…. The Govt pays the teachers salary and education of the kids till Seventh Grade . After that it is C/o …HIGHER POWER !
Manju, strongly feels that SEC is doing an incomplete job. The kids that pass out…lack confidence… stay at home. There is DESPAIR and lack of Hope ! It is hard to go any where with just a SEVENTH GRADE degree !Manju is now on a mission…of EMPOWERING these kids.
She has been trying to track the ex students. She recently organized an event, where she invited the EX –Students. About 120 showed up…and only a hand full were successful. The rest were in despair!
In July she is organizing a cricket match .. to boost their confidence.
I shared with her about hOH projects…like Mano Vikas, UG etc . I showed her my travel pictures of all the Projects.
She is very MOTIVATED.. and wants to visit our projects..learn from from them
She said…. I will do what it takes !
How can HOH help SEC?
As per my discussion with manju..HOH can help in the area of
• Education.. The kids need basic 10 grade diploma. which they can get thro NOS.(National OPEN University/School ). For this they will need
• TUTORS..some kids tried the exam..but failed miserably…and got further discouraged .Example is AKRAM…he is handicapped..very ambitious…very computer savvy . His ambition is to have his own Internet café. He has tried to take the 10 grade exam..but has failed ! He needs tutoring!
At the moment he is making dusters with the weaving machine
• English Education ..is a must ..for that they need tutors
• Vocational training: The kids are making envelopes, bags, bedsheets cards etc..which they sell. There is a need to expand this area.
• COUNSELLING: They have NO mental Health Counseling. There is NO Counselor.
These are the areas in a nut Shell
Chetan Saiya Crochet Project
Would be a great fit here. I told them about it and the teacher promptly identified 5 crippled girls and a boy…who seemed very bright and good with their hands. Also the kids are quite artistic … I saw their arts/craft work.
I have been in touch with chetan when I was in Mijwan. He spoke to Shabana..we identified 5 girls (NOT from the order group)..who can do crochet. Chetans person also met with Shabana in Pune. Nalini Bhat an explain this project, which was discussed in her home with Anil lal.
Incidentally I am on my way to Pune… I am writing this journal on the train. I am planning to meet Chetans people in Pune tomorrow.
About the $5k Donation to SEC
They have received it and it is going towards the sponsorship of 16 kids.. which includes every thing…NOT just nutrition. I am carrying the detailed profile of each child with the picture ..to give to Rekha.
As I was leaving the building… I saw the regular kids leaving the school. They were running,..and looked happy !
My heart went out for those special kids of SEC…on CRUTCHES..but they look happier !
May be like Manju… they have learned to say
YES TO LIFE !