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International Mother Earth Day – Save our planet from PLASTIC!

International Mother Earth Day –  Save our planet from PLASTIC!

The Earth is regarded and worshipped in many countries as the ‘Mother’ of all things natural and beautiful. Man’s total dependency on the Earth for survival, and the Earth’s nurturing ways of providing for man’s every need, makes it nothing less than a doting mother.

Mother Earth Day: When it all began

To celebrate and honour this relationship with the Earth and its ecosystems, the UN declared April 22 of every year as “International Mother Earth Day”. Recognised nearly a decade ago, this day reaffirms the UN’s effort to achieve a “balance among the economic, social, and environmental needs of present and future generations, besides promoting harmony with nature and the Earth”. Every year, a specific theme is attributed to this day to address the current issues on a global level. This year’s theme is “End Plastic Pollution”, owing to the ever expanding piles of plastic garbage and water bodies choking on plastic trash.

Why was this theme chosen?

Chasing ease and convenience, man invented plastic. And everything changed. From poisoning the marine life to 50-feet tall landfill mountains, plastic is everywhere. Here are some surprising facts about our plastic consumption:
1. Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.
2. 50% of the total plastic is just used once and thrown away.
3. At least 8 million tons of plastic enters the oceans each year.
4. 60-90% of marine litter is plastic-based.
5. There is more microplastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way.

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What can we do to end plastic pollution?
We all use plastic in one way or another. Take a look around, and 90% of the things around you are made of plastic, whether it is a chair or a computer. The proposed benefits of plastic are far outweighed by its drawbacks, due to the toxicity it has introduced in our lives.

The amount of plastic garbage that we have generated is a grave problem that doesn’t come with a quick-fix solution. We all must understand our role, change our habits, and adopt an alternative lifestyle that minimises the use of plastic. Here’s how we can help in defeating the monster that we have created:

1. Reuse shopping bags, water bottles, plastic containers, etc. as many times as possible.
2. Say no to single-serve packaging and disposable plastic items. Carry reusable items and utensils wherever possible.
3. Volunteer at a beach/river clean up drive.
4. Say no to small plastic items like straws, lighters, etc. and go for traditional alternatives.

The Ponty Chadha Foundation is doing its part in curtailing the use of plastic and the pollution caused by it. Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan – a school run by PCF, encourages and facilitates its specially-abled students to make eco-friendly products. These products are showcased at exhibitions and sold both online and offline. This activity not only makes them financially independent but instills in them a sense of responsibility towards the environment.

This International Mother Earth Day, let’s learn from our kids at MBCN, and pledge to reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as we can. Let’s end plastic pollution together!

Specially-abled Friendly Heritage Sites – Because It’s Their Heritage Too!

Specially-abled Friendly Heritage Sites – Because It’s Their Heritage Too!

World Heritage is the shared wealth of humankind. It brings a sense of unity amongst people as it does not belong to a specific group, caste or community. It belongs to everyone, which includes specially-abled people too. While we talk about providing equality to specially-abled people in every aspect of life, academic or corporate, we often forget about them when it comes to providing access to heritage sites. Some heritage sites, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites, do not have braille signage, while others do not have basic facilities like wheelchair ramps and toilets for specially-abled tourists.

In an unprecedented move by the Indian government, under the initiative “Accessible India” Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been asked to audit more than 100 sites across the country. This audit aims to gauge the kind of facilities needed to make those sites accessible to specially-abled people. Though the process will take some time to finish, the groundwork has started at some famous monuments like Taj Mahal, Hampi and Akshardham.

As the world celebrates World Heritage Day on April 12, let’s recognize the 5 heritage sites in Delhi-NCR that are completely or partially accessible to people with special abilities:

1. Qutub Minar – A UNESCO declared World Heritage Site, Qutub Minar is world’s tallest brick minaret with a height of 72.5 metres. An exquisite example of Indo-Islamic Afghan architecture, it attracts more than 3.9 million tourists every year. It is completely accessible to specially-abled tourists as it has ramps and public toilets for people with differences of all levels.
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2. The Red Fort – Built by the great Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, this timeless piece of architecture is located right in the heart of Old Delhi. This fort attracts tourists from all over the world. The Red Fort is completely accessible to specially-abled tourists as it is equipped with ramps, and accessible toilets.
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3. Humayun’s Tomb – Built in 1570, this ancient tomb was the first garden-tomb in the Indian subcontinent. It is located on Mathura Road, Delhi, which is near the famous tomb of Nizamuddin Auliya.
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4. Akshardham Temple – An architectural marvel, this temple attracts approximately 70 percent of all tourists who visit Delhi. It is situated on the banks of the Yamuna river, which are adjacent to the Commonwealth Games Village. Apart from its world-class structure, Akshardham Temple also boasts of an IMAX feature show, a musical fountain, and large landscaped gardens. This temple is partially accessible to specially-abled tourists.
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5. Jantar Mantar – One of the world’s oldest astronomical observatories, the Jantar Mantar was built by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur. It is a remarkable structure which consists of fourteen geometric devices used for measuring time, forecasting weather changes, predicting behaviour of planets and finding extra-terrestrial altitude. Jantar Mantar is partially accessible to the specially-abled tourists.
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It is quite a welcome move from the Indian government who is finally working on the lines of empowering the specially-abled tourists. Other state governments must take inspiration from these heritage sites which are setting a great example for all.

It’s time that we make “Accessible Heritage” a major part of the “Accessible India” campaign and help our specially-abled citizen, who too have an equal right to cherish the beauty of our history and rich heritage.

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace – Celebrating the Contribution of Sports to Our Lives

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace – Celebrating the Contribution of Sports to Our Lives

Sports is a universal language that transcends every border, real or imaginary. People across nations, religion, cultures and belief systems have joined hands time and again in the name of sports. To celebrate this international phenomenon of people coming together for sports and its contribution in shaping our society, the General Assembly of United Nations has declared 6th April of every year as International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. The date 6th April was chosen to commemorate the inauguration of the first Olympic games of modern era, in 1896, in Athens (Greece).

Sports has played an important role in everyone’s life, be it in the form of a competitive sport, physical activity or recreational play. Children learn to function in competition for the first time while participating in sports, and adults learn to put their differences aside while playing or watching sports. Sports is a great educator, and this is the sole reason it has grown to be an integral part of our society.

Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan, a school for special children, understands the importance of sports in the physical development of its students and its ultimate role in educating the society. Keeping this in mind, MBCN has designed its curriculum in such a way that there is equal focus on academics as well as sports. MBCN encourages and empowers its students who show an interest in sports. It provides in-house training for various sport related activities and events. MBCN students have proven their mettle in various sports such as football, softball, cycling, badminton, etc. at national level championships. Here are MBCN’s 12 shining star sportspersons:

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of children like these, who have risen above their physical condition and achieved what they truly deserve. On this day, let us recognize the growing contribution of sports to the societal development and the empowerment of our younger generations.

Raising Awareness on World Down Syndrome Day and Beyond

Raising Awareness on World Down Syndrome Day and Beyond

Down syndrome is one of the most common chromosome abnormalities in humans, found in one out of every 1000 newborns each year. However, the society, including most of the parents of babies with Down syndrome, has so much to learn about this, especially in developing countries like India.
Keeping this in mind, World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) was first observed in 2006 in many countries around the world. Acknowledging this, the United Nations General Assembly declared 21 March as World Down Syndrome Day – the 21st day of the third month; to signify the triplication of the 21st chromosome that causes Down syndrome. Here, we are trying to simplify the disorder so that everyone knows and understands the fact that children with this condition are not sick or suffering; they just have one extra chromosome.

What is Down syndrome?
To put it simply, Down syndrome (Trisomy 21) is a chromosomal abnormality where a child is born with three copies of the 21st chromosome (as shown in the picture).

When babies are being developed, they receive 23 chromosomes from their mother contained in her egg and 23 chromosomes from their father contained in his sperm, totalling 46 chromosomes. Children with Down syndrome are born with an extra 21st chromosome.

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Characteristics of children with Down syndrome:
While the effect of this disorder may differ from child to child, most of the affected ones are observed with the following physical characteristics:
● Flat facial features
● Small head and ears
● Short neck
● Bulging tongue
● Upward slanted eyes
● Atypically shaped ears
● Poor muscle tone

Children with Down syndrome usually have some degree of developmental disability, but it’s often mild to moderate. If not paid attention to, the children might show behavioural properties like:
● Impulsive behaviour
● Poor judgment
● Short attention span
● Slow learning capabilities

How to raise a kid with Down syndrome:
First thing a parent should do is learn as much as possible about the condition. After that, one can look for help at other support groups, talk to therapists and get in contact with other parents who have already been through this. Apart from this, here are few things that might help such parents:
● Give your child chores around the house. Just break them up into small steps and be patient
● Have your child play with other kids who do and don’t have Down syndrome
● Keep your expectations high as your child tries and learns new things
● Make time to play, read, have fun, and go out together
● Avoid saying “That’s wrong” to correct mistakes. Instead, say, “Try it again”
● As you work with doctors, therapists, and teachers, focus on your child’s needs rather than on the condition
● Look at what your child is learning at school and see if you can work those lessons into your home life

While all these tips will certainly help your children in the longer run, one thing they need the most from you is love. Kids with Down syndrome need and deserve as much love as other kids.

Contributing towards making the society more understanding towards children with special needs like in the case of Down syndrome, The Ponty Chadha Foundation runs Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan, a school for specially-abled kids. MBCN makes sure that these children get a holistic learning experience and a supportive environment, empowering them to achieve maximum independence while defeating their conditions.

On this World Down Syndrome Day, let us all take a pledge to create a society that is more supportive and loving towards the children with special needs.

A Tribute: Remembering Stephen Hawking’s Most Inspiring Quotes

A Tribute: Remembering Stephen Hawking’s Most Inspiring Quotes

A scientist, a visionary, a bestselling author – Stephen Hawking has bid farewell to this world that could never get enough of his profound contributions, incredible knowledge and brilliant humour. The New York Times wrote the most apt obituary for the prodigy saying, “who roamed the cosmos from a wheelchair, pondering the nature of gravity and the origin of the universe and becoming an emblem of human determination and curiosity.” Hawking’s work on the properties of blackholes and gravity has given a whole new perspective to the modern physics.
Here’s our tribute to the science’s brightest star by remembering his immortal words that will keep on inspiring the generations to come.post-2-Epost-2-A post-2-Bpost-2-c

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International Women’s Day – The Road to Women Empowerment

International Women’s Day – The Road to Women Empowerment

International Women’s Day has emerged as a global revolution in the recent years. Famous personalities, conglomerates, and women from every field are coming forward and sending a universal message that women are equal to men. Women have proven it time and again, in various fields including, but not limited to, sports, business, academics, and the list goes on. Today, people take Indra Nooyi’s name with as much respect and awe as Ratan Tata or Aditya Birla. Mithali Raj is cheered and loved as much as Virat Kohli. If these examples establish a fact then it is this, women’s rights are no more about treating them specially, it’s about treating them equally, providing them with equal opportunities and celebrating their achievements equally. Dr Vandana Sharma, Director, MBCN, spoke on the same lines quoting, “We, as women shouldn’t seek special privileges if we wish to be treated in equal capacity as men.”

While we speak of equality, we cannot overlook various conditions that need focus, like women’s safety, taboo around menstruation, and access to sanitary pads. A recent survey presented some alarming facts related to the use of sanitary napkins amongst Indian women. It showed that 88% of menstruating women don’t use sanitary napkins. Even shocking is the fact that they use alternatives like unsanitized cloth, ashes, husk sand etc. Sheeba Naqbi, Vice Principal, MBCN, made a strong point saying, “Issues being faced by women need to be addressed every day and not just on Women’s Day. Attitudinal barriers must be eliminated from our society, especially regarding sanitation. For instance, sanitary pads shouldn’t be hidden in black poly bags anymore.”

The world must look for all the possible ways to empower women, to make them feel no different than men and to make them feel equally entitled to every opportunity out there. This vision cannot be achieved by a single individual or an organization. Everyone must come together and do their part. The Ponty Chadha Foundation is a firm believer in gender indiscrimination and equal rights for women. This International Women’s Day, The Ponty Chadha Foundation ran a successful social media campaign titled #WeMeanPower. The motto of this campaign was to celebrate the spirit of women who broke all the stereotypes and making it big in their respective field. The campaign celebrated the fact that they were not in fact celebrities rather extraordinary women living ordinary lives. People were asked to share the story of a wonder woman they know and get her featured on The Ponty Chadha Foundation Facebook page where the whole world can see their inspirational stories.

Women empowerment revolution has come a long way. But we will have to admit that it’s still a long journey ahead. On this International Women’s Day, let us take a resolution to do all it takes to give power to women while focusing on the issues that are becoming the hindrances.

Support Your Children Special Needs with Vaakya

Support Your Children Special Needs with Vaakya

Information flows from a developed to a developing region. Even today, there are many areas in our country, which are deprived of intelligent application of the technology like internet banking and mobile apps. There is scarcity of special schools and trained professionals in many parts of our country. We, “Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan” are dedicated to remove barriers and improve disabled children lives residing even in far flung areas with the help of a mobile app, ‘Vaakya’. In a developing country, mobile device is the most effective medium to reach the unreached masses.

Our Centre for Research, Technology and Innovation presents this mobile based self-instructional tool highly useful for disabled children. Parents can guide the children with the help of this advanced app, easy in navigation and usability. Needs and emotions associated with food/drink, dressing & grooming, queries, recreation, travelling, can be communicated easily. Still much functionality is yet to be added to this app for making it more effective.

The unique features of the app are mentioned below –

  1. The app, available easily on mobile/online is a picture-based AAC (augmentative and alternate communication) app
  2. Leveraging app, the parents can check the growth level of their kids in different domains and then suggest them the best practising methods. It is indispensable to find out the delays in development.
  3. The app will help the child in 7 domains – Motor, Cognitive, Social/Domestic, Self-help Skill, Language, Reading and Writing

An educator, therapist, guardian can create multiple user accounts. In coming time, the app will be added with much more functionality like advanced senors and discussion forum.

Download the APPgoo.gl/EPXNRi

MBCN Celebrates Its 19th Annual Day

MBCN Celebrates Its 19th Annual Day

A special day at a special school with super-special students, the MBCN Annual Day 2018 was indeed an eventful day. With over 330 students participating, it was a matter of utter joy and pride to us to have pulled off the event on such a grand scale. Leaving our books aside, we made sure it was a fun-filled day all along.
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The 19th Annual Day of MBCN was held on 16th February 2018 in full grandeur. The Guest of Honour for the day was Dr. Kamlesh Kumar Pandey, Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Chairperson of National Trust. As the day started off, we welcomed the guests with heartwarming gifts crafted by our students. This was followed by the lamp lighting ceremony and a speech delivered by Dr. Pandey. In a moment of sheer delight to us, the honourable chief guest expressed how unique and one-of-a-kind he found MBCN to be. Amidst the beginnings, the most heartening moment was when our students made the Indian National Anthem their own and acted it out in Sign Language.

The stage was then taken by Manpreet Singh Chadha, Managing Director of The WAVE Group. Addressing our way forward, Mr. Chadha introduced our upcoming undertaking of the Centre for Research, Innovation & Technology for Disability, our sign language programme targeted to parents of the hearing impaired and so on. Speaking of the year 2017, he shared his joy at the massive success of our campaign, Connecting Signs. He also mentioned the accolades MBCN has received of late, including its high ranks by Education World – first in NOIDA, fourth in Delhi/NCR and sixth in India in the Special Needs category.
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It was followed by a speech by our Director at MBCN, Dr. Vandana Sharma. Reminiscing the journey that 2017 was, she spoke heartily of the milestones we achieved through the course of the year. Beginning with our new venture in K9 therapy, the launch of the Vaakya app & Swayam, the handicraft wing of MBCN, to our groundbreaking Indian Sign Language campaign Connecting Signs – her words were the articulation of what a remarkable year we have had.

What came next was a wonderful joyride of fun and entertainment. Themed on the idea of ‘TeleHungama’, the performances by our talented students were a treat to the eyes. Keeping TV channels in the genres of health, news and regionality as inspiration, our little stars really owned the show with their engaging acts. A short break ensued with the award distribution segment. Be it students, teachers, parents or volunteers, it was a fantastic opportunity for us to recognise the efforts, contributions & achievements that make MBCN what it is. The awards were distributed by our chief guest Dr. Pandey with the widest smile on his face.
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After the awards ceremony, it was again time for us to get back to the fun of ‘TeleHungama’. From the enactment of top-rated programmes like KBC to blockbusters like Baahubali, adored cartoon shows like Chhota Bheem, Doraemon & Noddy to displaying their own rendition of popular TV commercials – it was spectacular, to say the least! In addition to this, the students also performed their own version of a talent show consisting of stellar performances. Whether it’s that phenomenal teacher-student dance jugalbandi, the extravagant puppet dance, the wonderful cultural dance numbers or the entertaining play-acting, our students and spectators had a blast throughout the day!
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The event, concluded with a grand finale, has helped us reach an all-time high of delight. An occasion marked by splendour at every step, the 19th MBCN Annual Day is a new milestone that we’ll cherish forever.
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Let there be light this International Book Giving Day

Let there be light this International Book Giving Day

“You cannot open a book without learning something.” – Confucius

Eating, shopping, exercising and what not, times have changed the ways we do most of our daily activities. The role of books in our lives remains undiminished, nevertheless. A trustworthy guide and a fun companion, books can play a myriad of parts in an individual’s life. Besides building minds, they are the shapers of the society.

In order to make sure that no child is deprived of the nourishment of reading, 14th February is celebrated worldwide as the International Book Giving Day. The aim was to have the written word reach out to even those who are not fortunate enough to access them. A symbolic day, it’s a great occasion to promote the necessity of books in one’s life.

Although it’s celebrated just one day, the season of books lasts all year long. With the right amount of push and encouragement, the healthy habit of reading can be garnered in a child. Most of us consider textbooks as the only books apt for children. The fact, however, is that the more one reads, the more one learns and grows.

When it comes to inculcating the enthusiasm for books in children, some of us get bogged down by their fleeting attention spans. The code is to not force a book on a child. From what theory and practice have taught us, children learn faster when they are constantly exposed to something. The idea is to raise children in a space surrounded by books. Plus, the more they see their parents or grown ups read, the more their intrigue will be piqued. The key, therefore, is to lead by example and steady exposure to books.

Another important aspect of the day lies in advocating the access to books. In our country, a child who has never got to lay his/her hands on a book isn’t a rarity. The spirit of International Book Giving Day is incomplete without attempting to make books universal. Therefore, let’s participate in this grand cause with full enthusiasm and make someone’s life rich with books and learning.

Republic Day Through The Eyes of a Child

Republic Day Through The Eyes of a Child

Republic Day is an important occasion that fills our hearts with pride and joy. While as adults, we understand the true essence of the day, little children in India have a unique and a heartwarming take on Republic Day, which holds different meanings for each child across the nation.

At MBCN, Republic Day is marked with a day full of exciting activities and events, helping the specially-abled children revisit the country’s glorious past and inspiring them to create new avenues of change for a bright and promising future. Our children are the ones who sow the seeds of a fruitful future, after all. And as citizens of this country, it is our duty to imbibe them with a sense of pride and righteousness that can help them become successful leaders tomorrow.

Recently, we went around the MBCN school and asked several children what Republic Day meant to them, and were amused with the innocent responses. While for some, Republic Day means a holiday and a chance to play all day, for others it’s a day when they are truly excited to watch the hoisting of the flag, followed by distribution of sweets, and other fun-filled activities that rekindle their young, patriotic spirit. For many, Republic Day is a day to celebrate the brave soldiers and the selfless martyrs who gave up their lives for our prosperity and safety. But what tops the list is the colourful and bright parade, which the kids love to watch with wonderstruck eyes.

Here are a couple of drawings made by the MBCN kids, showcasing Republic Day through the eyes of the little ones, and what it means to them.

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Republic Day Contest Alert: Guess The Sign & Win BIG

Republic Day Contest Alert: Guess The Sign & Win BIG

Republic Day is a pivotal day in India, and as citizens, we take immense pride in celebrating the many facets of being Indian. Besides the vibrant parade on television that has everyone glued to their TV sets at home, it is a day for us to look back at our rich heritage and cultural history, while looking forward and paving the way with opportunities galore for future generations.

Keeping up with the patriotic spirit this year, The Ponty Chadha Foundation is taking the #ConnectingSigns a level up, and is encouraging users to participate in an exciting and brain-tingling contest that will begin on 23rd January, and close on the 25th.

How does the contest work?

Starting 23rd January, The Ponty Chadha Foundation’s Facebook and Twitter pages will share video snippets, which would be cuts from the original ‘National Anthem in Sign Language’ video. The audience will be asked to guess the signs enacted by the special children.

The users will have to guess and comment using the hashtag #GuessTheSign.

Simple, right?

With the invigorating and fun-filled #GuessTheSign contest, The Ponty Chadha Foundation will not just get people to participate and showcase their knowledge on sign language, but it will also be a grand opportunity for lucky winners to walk away with grand prizes.

If you’ve heard it, seen it, and loved it, then this is your chance to play and win!

Visit our Facebook and Twitter pages here, and participate NOW!

Laughter Day: MBCN teachers are a boon to the lives of special children

Laughter Day: MBCN teachers are a boon to the lives of special children

In a world full of despair and uncertainty, it’s always a good idea to take a break, and laugh away our fears and miseries. At MBCN, we believe in spreading smiles and unlimited happiness, and our teachers definitely go the extra mile in instilling positive vibes in the air, full of mirth, fun, and laughter.

Laughing may not be the quickest solution to a problem, and it will not change the situation, but what it does change is the way we look at things, and our overall perspective on life. Our mood defines everything, and how we react to certain situations can make or break us in ways we can’t even imagine.

Spreading love, being kind, and staying happy have a magnetic effect, especially when we deal with people on a day-to-day basis. At MBCN, we strongly believe in the power of happiness, and in dispersing happy vibes wherever we go, and in whatever we do!

We don’t need a particular day to express happiness or laugh out loud. It is a feeling we instil in our special children every single day. Laughter is something that helps us connect to one another, and alleviates any form of stress or tension. People go out of their way when it comes to joining special laughter clubs, as that becomes an escape from the monotony, and things that bring us down. At MBCN, we thrive on this concept 365 days of the year.

The MBCN teachers are the sole reason for the smiling faces of our students that you see in the photographs below. Teaching by the book is alien to their style of teaching. Instead, they interact with children in a friendly way, which makes the learning atmosphere more conducive and comfortable. Telling jokes, sharing fun-filled experiences and positivity are the three keys to a happy, friendly environment at MBCN.

We’ll let the pictures do all the ‘smiling’ for us now!
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