Prayas (Vocational Institute for Mentally Handicapped)

Project Brief:
Project Type: Special Needs (description)
Primary Focus: other (description)

Secondary Focus: other

Area: Urban
Supporting Chapter Contact: UIUC
Status: current / ongoing
Project Steward: Amit Kumar Dhankhar
Project Partner(s): Seema Singh
Other Contacts:
Project Address: , J-5A, Jhalana Institute Area,,Jaipur,
RAJASTHAN  302017
Tel: +91-(0)141-2711018/ 2703110
Stewarding Chapter: UIUC
Jun 2016UIUCUSD 10299
Apr 2016UIUCUSD 4553
Mar 2015UIUCUSD 13599
Oct 2014UIUCUSD 11846
May 2014UIUCUSD 10073
Feb 2013UIUCUSD 10000
Dec 2012UIUCUSD 3000
Dec 2011UIUCUSD 7000
May 2011Work an HourUSD 6291
Feb 2011Work an HourUSD 4000
Oct 2010San FranciscoUSD 4500
Apr 2010PortlandUSD 7945
Mar 2010UIUCUSD 2250
Jan 2010AtlantaUSD 4000
Oct 2009UIUCUSD 3500
Jul 2009San FranciscoUSD 4500

Total = $107356

Prayas is a vocational institute for the mentally and physically challenged and operates an integrated school system for children in India. Prayas started with an ambitious mission, to integrate the maximum number of physically or mentally challenged and socially disadvantaged children into the mainstream. Despite many obstacles, Prayas has achieved its mission under the leadership, vision, and conviction of its Founder and Executive Director, Ms. Jatinder Arora. Prayas have four branches in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The main branch is located in Jhalana (special needs school). Further there are three Integrated Schools, one in Rajapark and two branches are located in the bastis of Sanganer and Amagarh.

Prayas is operating in a Minority dominated area, which was before our intervention totally neglected. The average family income of the community people ranges from 1500 to 2000 rupees, they are daily wages workers. Initially, people here had no concern for health and education, and in such cases, special children were the worst sufferers. The mentally challenged children were tied outside their houses with chains or confined in the four walls of their houses; these children were living lives worse than animals. The Prayas team, through regular community visits and surveys identified these children, counseled the parents and made efforts to serve the children either through home-based program or bring them to school. The able bodied children were not going to school and were into gem polishing or working as domestic help.

We are requesting funds for our home based program. Under this program, the children who cannot come to school because of their severe disabilities the school would reach to them at home. At present, we have 40 children under this program. And we would like to cover 80 children in the first year.

Contact for home based program:

Asha Chapter: San Francisco
Project Steward: Shyamali Madan
E-mail: shyamalim1 AT yahoo DOT com

Amargarh center was started in Dec 2003 and currently has 116 children. Classes range from Nursery to 5th, with and special classes for differently-abled children. Amargarh is the biggest slum in Jaipur. This is a minority area, very politicized and with little focus on education. The people here wanted to have access to the same services as Rajapark, but it was too far from Raja Park Therefore, Prayas started the Amargarh center. The current Amargarh budget proposal to Asha includes teachers' salaries, school building rent and a small nutritional component. The Sanganer School opened in October 2006 with CRY support. It operates on the same lines as the Raja Park School, but is a small fund project and has 83 children now. The objective here was to extend services into rural areas (Sanganer is 15-20 Km from Jaipur. This is a low budget, high quality model school. All teachers have a 2 yr diploma in mental retardation. The Sanganer budget proposal to Asha includes salaries for teachers and a project administrator, school building rent and other miscellaneous costs.

Contact for Amargarh/Sanganer:

Asha Chapter: UIUC
Project Steward: Piyush Gupta
E-mail: piyushgupta.civil AT gmail DOT com

Prayas operates 4 centres at Jhalana, Rajapark, Amargarh and Sanganer. The documents related to the project listed on the right side use the following prefix convention to indicate the centre(s) to which they apply: Jhalana (J), Rajapark (R), Amargarh (A) and Sanganer (S).
Prayas' main goal is to provide quality education for all children, regardless of their social status or capabilities. In addition, Prayas aims to improve and provide health and nutritional care for the underprivileged and for those living below the poverty line. Quoting Ms. Jatinder: "Inclusive Education means all children playing, studying, singing, dancing and eating under one roof, this develops feeling of care, love & confidence amongst children. For moderate, severe and profound category children, we have special classes whereas the mild and borderline children study with the able bodied children in the same class but have one hour extra coaching so that they can cope up in the class. Only mild, borderline and slow learner children can be integrated in regular class."
Ms. Jatinder Arora, the founder of Prayas, was working with The Times of India as a journalist. In November 93, she met with and accident due to which she lost vision in both her eyes. She was blinded for 3 years. She started working in a special school as a volunteer. When every one showed pity, these children accepted her with all love and simplicity. For them, she was their didi. She realized that if given proper care and attention these children could learn a lot.

She felt that parents and teachers had totally given up. For them the child was a liability, and school- a time pass. She feels that it was only because of the good wished of these children and blessings of her father that she recovered her vision in May 96. She has decided to dedicate her life to the cause of children and be their spokesperson. She was determined to help them lead a dignified life.

Her father supported her in the realization of her dream and provided her 3 rooms in his house, a maid-assistant for cleaning and a small amount of money. Father Augustine from St. Xavier�s school gave her few chairs and tables and funds for one teacher and Prayas started functioning in July 1996.

Asha UIUC, Atlanta and Ann Arbor have been supporting the integrated school for children with special needs, disabilities and underprivileged backgrounds.

URL: http://www.ashanet.org/projects/project-view.php?p=810

The current proposal is for the 'Prayas Centre for Special Education and Vocational Training'.