The Veolia Foundation assists children with disabilities to access education in Calcutta
Two Indian NGOs, Calcutta de la Rue a l’Ecole, and Tomorrow’s Foundation, have received a grant from the Veolia Foundation that will enable them to install a mobile education unit on a bus which crisscrosses Calcutta every day.
Both NGOs work with children with physical and mental disabilities for whom accessing education is extremely difficult. Charaibeti (means “Keep walking…”) is a unique project for children with disabilities to provide special education along with physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy etc at their doorsteps, with the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy providing the technical support. The main purpose is to help the children cope with daily living skills and start the process of formal education with an aim to mainstream in the future.
Two mobile units have been set up in specially designed and fabricated buses to cater to the needs of children with disabilities living in the slums. Special educators and therapists provide tailor-made education and therapy to physically and mentally challenged children and children with cerebral palsy and hearing impaired children, right in the buses or in available spaces in the community. The buses are equipped with a hydraulic lift, a computer, a TV set, an audio system and a library.
In 2011, 170 children and persons with disability got disability certificates and Railway concession certificates by the Disability Camp in alliance with the Disability Concession Office and 6 children got vocational training. After getting special education in Charibeti project, 33 mentally challenged children have been mainstreamed in formal schools while 12 children with disability got scholarship from Sarva Shiksha Mission.