Muskan Foundation’s association with MDVI children started as early as February 2007, under the leadership of Mrs. Dipti Gandhi who perpetuated a new lease of life for children with multiple disabilities. The main objective of this venture was to bridge the gap in schools and education centers, which are usually not equipped to handle multiple disabilities along with blindness. Muskan Foundation aims to provide a spectrum of customized services ranging from early intervention, education, therapy, counseling and MDVI awareness. The foundation commenced its work with a small group of 4 children, which has swelled to 33 students in two centers and 43 children receiving regular therapy.
Muskan has three wings
ABOUT MDVIMultiple disability refers to a child who has more than one disability. As per the THE NATIONAL TRUST FOR THE WELFARE OF PERSONS WITH AUTISM, CEREBRAL PALSY, MENTAL RETARDATION AND MULTIPLE DISABILITIES ACT, 1999 , “Multiple Disabilities” means a combination of two or more disabilities as defined in clause (i) of section 2 of the Person with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 (1 of 1996). According to Individual with disabilities education act (1990)(IDEA) in the USA a child is considered multiply handicapped if she/he has two or more handicapping condition that require educational attention which cannot be met by arrangement for single disability.Muskan Foundation works with children having Multiple Disabilities with Visual Impairment(MDVI).The National Trust Act has included and given a comprehensive description of this condition, which includes
- Deafblind (visual impairment + hearing impairment)
- Visual impairment + hearing impairment + mental retardation
- Visual impairment + mental retardation
- Cerebral palsy + mental retardation / hearing / speech / visual problem
What are the difficulties faced by MDVI children?In many cases persons with multiple disabilities may have sensory, neurological and/or psychological problems. Although there are differences in characteristics of persons with MDVI due to the different combinations of disabilities and the severity of disabilities, there are common characteristics that are exhibited. Some of these are:
- Developmental delays
- Limited speech or communication
- Difficulty in mobility
- Trouble generalizing skills from one situation to the other
- Difficulty in socializing/ interpersonal relationships
- Have feeding difficulties and / or unusual sleep patterns
- Defensive to touch
- Low on motivation/self esteem
- Withdrawn and isolated
- Need support for activities of daily living, vocational, leisure etc.
MESSAGE FROM THE FOUNDERThe world looks beautiful, when there is love, and smiles of or loved one. Around us. I have the privilege to live in such a world of smiles, the ‘MUSKANS’. In my stint as a low vision consultant, i came across many children with multiple disabilities i.e. one child having more than one disability. Often the parents complained about the awareness about the multiple disabilities and lack of services offered under one roof. Children with multiple disability need an array of services such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech therapy, vision rehabilitation programme and special education. The plight of the parents was distressing. Their children’s’ problems were not understood; they had to move from one centre to another to avail of the therapies and services. There was no school for these children, in a city like Mumbai. There are many special schools, but there was not a single school offering services to children with more than one disability. Not thinking much about how, when, what i just started a centre with 4 children and two teachers. As days passed the word spread and we started getting more and more students. Many of them could not afford the fees of therapy and special education. I had financial constraints, though i was doing it honorary, i had to pay my staff and other overheads. I thus started appealing to friends and family to sponsor them. I was asked, ‘Is your organisation a registered trust. Do you have a 80G.” It is then that i registered Muskan as ‘Muskan Foundation for people with multiple disability’, and further completed all the legalities. We grew from 4 students and 2 teachers to 2 centres and a full fledged staff of 15 people. Our focus was always to provide quality services, to bring that ‘Muskan’ on the faces of our children, parents and the staff. As i became more and more focused, i found that i had changed, my heart had opened up, i was surrounded with beautiful people, positive energies and love all the way. It is said that if you work as an instrument of the lord, the lord provides for everything. I am proud to say that i have a wonderful, dedicated staff who gives their soul to their work. Today, whatever Muskan is, it is because of the people with me. At Muskan, we provide all services under one roof, we have H.G. Hanmante School for Children with special needs, Shardaben Shah Early intervention centre, J.V. Gandhi Therapy Centre and our ‘Looking through the glasses of empathy’ awareness programme. People with multiple disabilities are a neglected section of the society. People only know, that they need to be pitied and helped, but Muskan says they have a potential, which needs to be unveiled.With our special education and therapies sevices we try to unfold the inner strengths of the children and parents. The awareness programme is the cherry on the cake. We create awareness about disabilities through our programmes in schools, colleges and corporate through games, PPT, without using jargons we tell them about our young heros, our little stars and that disability is just one of the things that happens to them. Very often we come across donors who come with an attitude of giving, but leave receiving. Receiving love, receiving joy, receiving a little knowledge about disabilities. Most donors say that they want to give to the poor and ask if we have poor children with disability. But the criterion is not affording or non affording, it is about giving the right services to the right beneficiary. I was once travelling by train and a young girl collapsed and fainted. She belonged to a rich family, she was wearing diamond rings. If i would have said that she is rich and she can manage, it would have harmed her. I took the initiative to reach the girl to her house safely. Similarly, our children may come from affording or non affording families, we provide for essential quality services, which is a need for them . Also our children being multiple disabled have to avail of many services, they cannot travel by buses and trains, and thus have to board private vehicles, mothers have to give up their jobs to look after the child, all this is a strain to the budget of even well to do families. I invited you to come and join the celebration of smiles… the Muskan. Be associated with Muskan as a volunteer, as a Muskan star, Muskan Friend and Muskan Angel. There is lots we can do together, come let us work together to bring that Muskan.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
MRS. DIPTI GANDHI FOUNDER, HONORARY DIRECTOR & MANAGING TRUSTEE
She is also the honorary director of the NGO. She is a special educator and a low vision consultant by profession.
MR. SANJAY GANDHI TRUSTEE
He is a Civil Engineer by profession having a business in construction.
MRS. CHHAYA SHAH TRUSTEE
She has a Master degree in Science. A friend of Dipti Gandhi who offered her services to Muskan Foundation for people with Multiple Disabilitiesas she believed in the cause.
MR. PINKESH KAPADIA
AccreditationMuskan Foundation is accredited by the below establishments, keeping in view the work that we are doing in the field of education, therapy, counseling and intervention for MDVI children.
Credibility Alliance – Credibility Alliance is a consortium of Voluntary Organizations (VOs) committed towards enhancing
Accountability and Transparency in the Voluntary Sector through good Governance.
Sense International India – Sense International (India) is a registered charitable trust that works with deaf-blind people throughout
India. Sense International (India) supports local organizations to develop sustainable services for deafblind people.
Voice & Vision India – Voice and Vision India is a national resource and training center for children with vision impairment and
multiple disabilities (VIMD), including deafblindness. Perkins International of Perkins School for the Blind, USA and was set up
as an informal Task Force of experts in the year 2002. They work to train Master teachers, teachers, CBR workers, aanganwadi
workers, supervisors and families of children with VIMD in all regions and states of India.
Registered under the Bombay Public trust Act, 1950 Under Registration
Number E 25579 (Mumbai) dated 21.3.2009.
Registered as ‘Muskan Foundation for People with multiple disabilities’
Pan number: AACTM3070C
12 A number: TR/43801 dated 05.01.2011
80G number: DIT (E)/80G/1012/2011-12
FCRA Registration number: 083781365
TAN No. – MUMM46591G
Social Welfare Registration – 676/ 12.03.2015 (in process of renewal)