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International Day of Yoga: Union of Mind & Body

nternational Day of Yoga

Yoga – food for soul and mind that helps a person get in touch with his or her inner self. Derived from the sanskrit work ‘yuj’, yoga means oneness. A wonderful workout regime, people practice yoga to strike the right balance between mind and body.

On June 21, we celebrate the International Day of Yoga to unite the world towards one common goal: healthy, peaceful lifestyle. From improving flexibility to building muscle strength and improving posture, yoga protects and maintains bone health for a robust skeletal structure. Improving the immunity, it liberates the mankind from all physical ailments. In addition to this, it elevates the mood, calms you down, and maintains stable blood pressure. Not just another exercise, yoga is the best route to connect with nature and realise your true potential.

While the world is adopting yoga for a better life, why should we Indians stay behind. To contribute to the #HumFittoIndiaFit initiative, we at Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan, encourage our students to practice yoga for a healthier lifestyle and right attitude. Let’s take a look at how our children with special needs stay in the pink of health with yoga.

Soccer Fever Grips Global Citizens Once Again

Soccer Fever Grips Global Citizens Once Again

With FIFA world cup just around the corner, Soccer fever is on. Fans across 200 countries wait for this moment to cheer for their favorite teams, which seems no less than a festival. With such widespread fan following, India isn’t behind any other Soccer loving nation!

Now that we’ve stated the obvious, let’s shed some light on the amazing facts around Soccer and India.

To begin with, Soccer has been a sport in India for more than 100 years. And you would be amazed to know that Asia’s oldest Soccer club, Mohun Bagan A.C., has its roots in Kolkata.

India is currently at the 97th rank in the FIFA worldwide rankings, and with Sunil Chhetri leading the Indian team, high hopes are pinned on breaking records and setting new ones.

The most played, loved and watched- by- millions sport has left our specially abled children at MBCN awestruck. Overcoming all odds in life, our superstars aced the game like pros. In recent times, our special children have not just won several matches, but have won gazillions of hearts with their sheer dedication and love towards the sport.

Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan’s powerful five player team won the Football State Games that were organised by Special Olympics Bharat – Delhi, at The Tagore International School. Another budding footballer, Praveen Nailwal, has won a gold medal in Unified Football. He was also awarded a sum of ₹62,000 from the Delhi Government as a token of appreciation. Our special children not just make us proud, but inspire us to give our best, overcoming all the difficulties.

We, at The Ponty Chadha Foundation ensure that each child at Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan – a school for the specially abled children, get the opportunity to come out with flying colors.

MBCN Soccer 1

MBCN Soccer 2

Our faculty and highly equipped staff focus on cultivating not just creativity in our specially abled children, but also encourage them to explore their potential and walk on the path of a successful future. We help children with special needs become independent by empowering them and their families with the care they need. At MBCN, we create an environment for optimum quality of life for such kids, their trainees and the families.

Indian celebrities who didn’t let their disability get the better of them!

Indian celebrities who didn’t let their disability get the better of them!

They say disability is a state of mind, and these inspiring souls have proved it to be true! Be it taking centre stage with spellbinding performances that leave the audience speechless, or grabbing accolades and medals in sports that serve as inspiration for the rest of us, these celebrities have never let their disabilities get the better of them.

Sudha Chandran: A fine actress, and an acclaimed Indian classical dancer, Sudha Chandran needs no introduction. At the age of 16, Sudha met with an accident that ultimately led to the amputation of her leg. The setback, however, did not stop her from dancing, or dreaming. With a prosthetic Jaipur Foot, she went on to become a successful actress, and received many awards for her talent. Her unyielding spirit has been a source of inspiration for many.
Sudha-Chandran

H. Boniface Prabhu: Being a wheelchair tennis player may seem like an unthinkable vocation for some, but not for H. Boniface Prabhu. Despite turning into a quadriplegic at the age of 4, Prabhu went beyond his disability and chased his dreams with immense passion. His hard work and fervor made him a successful wheelchair tennis player, earning him a medal at the 1998 World Championships. In 1994, he received the Padma Shri from the government of India for his notable contribution to sports.
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Hrithik Roshan: Hard to imagine, but true! A powerhouse of talent, Hrithik Roshan has the world at his feet, but a lot of people don’t know that the successful actor suffered from speech impairment. At the tender age of 6, Hrithik stammered, and had to go through many challenging speech therapy sessions in order to combat his disability. If it wasn’t for his sheer determination and persistence, we would not have had the privilege of seeing him on the big screen.
Hrithik-Roshan (2)

Rana Daggubati: Strong and fierce. These are the words that resonate with Rana Daggubati. Charming and talented, the actor is blind in one eye. Not many people knew this about him, until it was revealed in a video last year. Soon, the video went viral. The information came as a shock to everyone, since they never noticed Rana’s disability due to his larger than life personality and unstoppable enthusiasm towards work.
Rana-Daggubati

The way you look at life makes all the difference, and at the end of the day, it is pivotal for us to not limit ourselves. Disabilities come in all shapes and forms, and while it is important to work on bettering ourselves in every way possible, it is all the more important to not let those disabilities define us.

Mother’s day for mothers of children with special needs

Mother’s day for mothers of children with special needs

It goes without saying that no one in the world can replace the love and place of a mother. From teaching us how to tie our shoelaces for the first time, to guiding us to lead successful lives, being a mom is not an easy job. Yet these amazing women do it with such grace and care, and without a frown on their face.

To recognize and honour these loving and caring souls, who form a pivotal part and parcel of our lives, Mother’s Day was established in 1908. Since then, the day has turned into a popular tradition, wherein we pamper our moms with all sorts of wonderful things. But with that being said, the scenario is different for mothers of children with special needs.
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For mothers of children with special needs, Mother’s Day rarely means a dinner out or jewellery gifts. They do celebrate the day, but they celebrate it in a different way. They find happiness in knowing that they are nurturing their child’s health as well as their own. They take satisfaction in keeping a positive attitude. They take pride in knowing a vast list of medical terminologies and education jargons. They feel happy to become experts on their child’s diagnosis and education plans.
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We, at Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan meet with mothers of children with special needs on a regular basis. They all share their highs and lows with us and we love to interact with them. We understand being a mother of a child with special needs is not an easy job to do. That’s why we conduct training sessions that help them cope with constant pressure and help them raise and understand their kids in a better way. Not only this, we also conduct events that help mothers connect with other mothers of kids with special needs. This helps them share their experiences on a personal level.
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If you are a mom of a child with special needs, then we salute your efforts, and the unconditional love, with which you love and take care of the apple of your eye. We honour you for your constant outpouring of love and goodness. You are the backbone of your family, and no one can ever replace you!

¬Happy Mother’s Day to all of you.

Empowering the Specially-Abled with Innovations in Technology

Empowering the Specially-Abled with Innovations in Technology

‘Right to Communication’ is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as one of the most fundamental human right, but not all of us get the privilege of exercising this basic right to express and communicate. Certain physical and cognitive disorders make it impossible for nearly 1 billion people to communicate effectively. Imagine being able to think, feel, observe, and yet, not be understood. How would you feel if your freedom of expression was curtailed in such a manner?
On the bright side, however, there are people who are actively working to change the status quo with breakthrough innovations in assistive technology. On the occasion of this National Technology Day, let’s jot down some of the most useful technological inventions that hold the potential to significantly transform the lives of the specially-abled amongst us.

Assistive Technology for the Differently-Abled
1. Wearable technology
Lechal Smart Shoes: It’s like using GPS to navigate, but without looking at your smartphone. Lechal Smart Shoes are designed to be those helping hands that aid the visually-impaired in navigating through the world. For instance, one vibration on the left foot tells the user to take a left turn, while two vibrations on the right and one on the left notify a wrong turn.
shoes

Assistive Vision Smart Glasses: Built to help people with vision impairment, these smart glasses consist of 2 small cameras, GPS, gyroscope, headphones, compass, and a transparent OLED display. Using these hi-tech glasses, the blind can easily walk around unfamiliar places and identify obstacles on the way.
smart glasses

2. Apps
Vaakya: An app for the speech and hearing impaired, the Vaakya app works on the AAC (augmentative and alternate communication) principle. It is a picture-based app for Android smartphone users that also works in offline mode. With customisation as its core feature, it allows users to record full sentences in any language and associate them with a picture. It also allows to create multiple user accounts for the patient as well as the caregiver. Download here: http://bit.ly/2lLag23
vaakya app

Eye-D: The Eye-D app for the visually-challenged allows smartphones to talk back. The app offers features that make the blind person aware of his surroundings, navigate easily, and read out printed text. It helps the users function in a better way, by meeting most of their daily assistance needs.
eye-d

3. Mobility Devices
Skinniest Disability Scooter: A four-wheeled scooter designed for the disabled, the Skinniest Disability Scooter works the same as any other scooter, but with added features and convenience for the specially-abled. It’s like a motorised wheelchair that helps the disabled navigate through traffic at the top speed of 10 miles per hour. With a canopy and lockable doors, it provides safety and comfort while riding out on the road.
disability scooter

Assistive Cars (Turn Plus): Making cars accessible for persons with physical disabilities, Turn Plus seats can be easily installed in any car. The mechanism of these seats allow flexibility for specially-abled persons, without interfering with the vehicle’s structure and functioning.
assistive car

4. Assistive Devices
Braille eReader: A Kindle-style reader that helps the blind and partially-sighted indulge in the pleasures of reading. It also helps them understand graphics, figures and graphs.
assistive device

Sesame Smartphone: Normal smartphones are not equipped with features to assist people with special needs, but the Sesame Smartphone is. Its front facing camera captures even the smallest of head movements, keeping gesture recognition at its core. Voice control too is an integral part of this smartphone, giving a hands-free experience to the user.
sesame smartphone

By empowering those with special needs, technology as an assistive companion has made lives far more comfortable and convenient. Apart from raising their quality of life, such technological advancements aid inclusion and equality by attempting to level the playing field.
If you’re aware of any such tech inventions that can help change lives of the specially-abled, share with us. Let’s help each other live better.

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.

Source 1
Source 2

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.
heritage day
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.
heritage day 2
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.
heritage day 6

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.