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Indian Railways: On their way to being 100% differently-abled friendly

Indian Railways: On their way to being 100% differently-abled friendly

Celebrated physicist, the late Stephen Hawking once said, “People with disabilities are vulnerable because of the many barriers they face: attitudinal, physical, and financial. Addressing these barriers is within our reach… But most important, addressing these barriers will unlock the potential of so many people with so much to contribute to the world.”

 

In a country that has the world’s second largest population, out of which about 80 million people are specially-abled, what is the average quality of life that the country provides to this section of the society?  India’s disabled are made further socially vulnerable by attitudinal barriers, and lack of quality education and women’s safety, as they continue to grapple with the challenges of access, acceptance, and inclusion.

 

As far as travel is concerned, our airports and metros are disabled-friendly, but what about the most mass-friendly means of transport for greater distances – the railways?

 

The present railway system is not equipped with enough facilities to support specially abled people. However, efforts are now being made to do the same. Indian railways is planning to introduce many facilities for differently-abled passengers at stations.

 

Here are some changes that are being planned:

 

  • Standard ramp for barrier free entry.
  • Earmarking at least two parking lots.
  • Non-slippery walkway from parking lot to building.
  • Signages of appropriate visibility.
  • At least one toilet (on the ground floor).
  • At least one drinking water tap suitable for use by persons with disabilities (divyangjan).
  • At least one ‘May I Help You’ booth.
  • Provision of facility for inter-platform transfer.
  • Engraving on edges of platform.

 

Apart from these changes (in the pipeline) to make train travel more convenient for the specially abled people of the country, Indian railways also provide a reservation quota. The reservation quota of two sleeper class berths is earmarked in all trains running on non-suburban sections for persons with disabilities performing their journey on a ‘handicapped concession’ ticket.

 

Also Read: Specially-abled Friendly Heritage Sites – Because It’s Their Heritage Too

 

Orthopedically handicapped or paraplegic people who cannot travel without an escort, blind persons traveling alone or with an escort for any purpose, and mentally challenged individuals who cannot travel without escorts can avail up to 75% concession in second class, sleeper, first class, 3AC and AC chair car, and 50% concession in 1AC and 2AC. 25% concession is also available for specially abled passengers in 3AC and AC chair car of Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains. Deaf and dumb persons travelling alone or with an escort can avail up to 50% concession in 2nd class, sleeper and 1st class. The person accompanying the handicapped person as escort is also allotted a berth out of this very quota. There are separate counters at each Passenger Reservation System (PRS) centre for such bookings. For more information on the amount of concession for different categories, one can visit the IRCTC website.

Despite Our Booming Economy, India’s Public Healthcare System Is Still Poor

Despite Our Booming Economy, India’s Public Healthcare System Is Still Poor

Over the past few decades, rapid economic growth has allowed millions of Indians to lift themselves out of poverty. For the extremely diverse population set, Indian healthcare system has its strengths, as well as its challenges. The lack of quality and affordable medical care has meant that millions continue to be deeply vulnerable to health shocks. Despite recording several gains in health in recent years, India continues to lag in several health indicators, such as mortality rates and malnutrition.  The system is fairly broken. Fewer doctors than what should be. Fewer clinics, hospital beds, and accredited facilities – In fact, far lower than what is required in India.  India also has an unusually high rate of illiteracy and poverty in both urban and rural areas, both of which contribute to low rates of health literacy.

Health is wealth. For any nation to progress it is necessary that proper health care facilities are made available for its citizens. No country ever achieved their universal health goals overnight. There are various ways to improve such systems.

  • Government should take measures to make regular health checkups affordable as well as accessible for the people. The basic purpose of health camps is to bring awareness amongst the deprived population of the country who have no access to basic healthcare services or knowledge about the diseases they are suffering from.These camps make sure people are getting the healthcare at the right time.
  • Literacy is also a contributing factor to improve the failing health in India. Improving literacy has many benefits and good healthcare is one of them. By educating we are indirectly improving healthcare problems like maternal mortality rate and educating rural health workers to assist in emergency times.
  • Healthcare should be made affordable for the poor which will further motivate them to get frequent checkups before their issues start deteriorating.

There is a dire need of a positive change in the healthcare industry in India. The time has come to begin the development of our medical facilities and services to help the country progress faster.

To ensure a healthy community, organisations like the Ponty Chadha Foundation actively organise free diagnostic health camps for village communities across India, for those at the bottom of the pyramid. With these camps held in villages and construction sites in Noida and Ghaziabad, PCF has touched the lives of thousands of people.

Your Biggest Baby Worries: Newborn Care Week 2018

Your Biggest Baby Worries: Newborn Care Week 2018

Coming into the world is a big and scary adventure for babies. Right after birth, they start communicating and giving little signals when they are tired, hungry or confused. It’s the job of a parent to comprehend these signs and make the world a welcoming place for their little ones.

Infants go through many changes in life to get used to the outside world after spending nine comfortable months in a protected womb! This adjustment almost always goes well, but there are certain warning signs you should watch out for.

When it comes to newborn development, what all should a parent be concerned about?

Seeing, Hearing and Communicating

Your child:

Isn’t responding to bright lights or can’t focus their eyes on something. Babies start to get attracted to shiny lights, primary colours, stripes, dots and patterns that really captivate their attention.

Isn’t watching your face or looking you in the eye. Since the human face is the first object they recognize, babies begin to remember particular faces and other objects during the first three months.

Isn’t hearing things – like startling sounds. Newborns can hear, and have been hearing noises from well before they were born. So, it can be worrying if they suddenly stop responding to it.

Behaviour and Movement

Your child:

  • Isn’t feeding well. Some warning signs related to feeding and digestion are harder to identify than behavioral changes or physical warning signs. The signs can range from having a poor appetite to sucking, spitting or vomiting problems.
  • Isn’t sleeping well. Healthy sleep is vital, especially in babies. Inadequate or low-quality naps will threaten healthy development and seriously hamper growth.
  • Isn’t moving their arms or legs. Infants in their first eight weeks have no control over their movements, they don’t know how to make each part of their body move voluntarily. They only start to work out how to lift their heads when lying on the tummy, and kick their legs by about eight weeks.

Children grow and develop at different speeds. If you’re worried that your child’s development isn’t ‘normal’, it might help you to know that the definition of ‘normal’ varies a lot. However, if you still feel that something’s not right, see your family health doctor to be sure.

Newborn Care Week is celebrated every year in India from 15-21 November, aimed at raising awareness about the importance of newborn care for child survival and development. Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan actively participates in promoting infant health development and ensuring that children with special needs are taken care of professionally. Our hope is to better the state of infant and child mortality in India.

The Perfect Bhai Dooj Gift for Your Sibling

The Perfect Bhai Dooj Gift for Your Sibling

The legendary English novelist Jane Austen once said, “What strange creatures brothers are!”.

Brothers might surprise us with the most thoughtful present or shock us with the weirdest gift of all time, yet they hold a very special place in our hearts that can never be replaced.

Bhai Dooj is the day to celebrate brothers and sisters – partners in crime whose bond grows stronger with each fight, and there’s no better way to thank this permanent friend of ours than by giving them a gift as special as them. Bhai Dooj gives us all an opportunity to hunt for the ultimate gift that our siblings will cherish for life.

This festive season, going eco-friendly with your gifts is the best call. Thankfully, we have already made gift-shopping easy and less strenuous by making hand-crafted and meaningful gifts available just a click away on our website. Fashioned with love, all the items made in our Swayam training workshops are sure to win your siblings’ heart.

Check out a few gifting options for every kind of sibling:

For the one with a sweet tooth:

Chocolate Box – Set Of 5

https://www.mbcnschool.org/product/4-window-beads-chocolate-box-set-of-3/

https://www.mbcnschool.org/product/chocolate-box-set-of-5/

https://www.mbcnschool.org/product/round-dry-fruit-box-set-of-10/

 

Fill these chocolate boxes with the most exquisite truffle bites and turn them into perfect gifts for your foodie sibling.

 

For the ‘perpetually broke’ one:

Cash Box 2 – Set Of 5

 

https://www.mbcnschool.org/product/cash-box-set-of-5/

https://www.mbcnschool.org/product/folded-shagun-envelope-set-of-40/

 

Is your sibling a college student frequently running out of cash, always wooing you to empty your wallet for them? Bail them out and become their favourite by giving them some much-needed allowance in this fancy, eye-catching cash envelope.

 

For the family wordsmith:

Small Diary (Gota) - Set of 15

 

https://www.mbcnschool.org/product/diary-set-of-10/

https://www.mbcnschool.org/product/diary-set-pack-of-3/

https://www.mbcnschool.org/product/ethnic-designer-diary-set-of-4/

https://www.mbcnschool.org/product/office-kit/

 

If your sibling keeps a diary, or writes anecdotal tales, be an encouraging kin and show your support by gifting them these beautiful and useful diaries.

To look for more gifts, you can simply visit the Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan official website. All our products are hand-made by our special children, primarily from wood and other biodegradable raw materials, and are sure to light up your festivals.

Visit: http://www.mbcnschool.org/shop/

My Prayer Box: Your Go-to Prayer Box, This Diwali

My Prayer Box: Your Go-to Prayer Box, This Diwali

Diwali, the most awaited festival of them all, has drenched the entire country in a festive mood. So, giddy up and get ready to add a pinch of enthusiasm to your otherwise monotonous life.

No matter where you look, it’s tough to not be surrounded by oodles of infectious laughter and joy during these days. Houses get a facelift, streets get lit up and markets get flooded with various housewarming gifts and puja items. Like all Indian festivals, Diwali is incomplete without typical festive shenanigans like shopping, exchanging gifts, decorating homes and most importantly, performing a handful holy rituals.

Pooja Samagri is one of the most crucial elements in festive rituals. Keeping that in mind, the specially abled children of Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan have handcrafted a beautiful Prayer Box that contains 23 pooja items. Using their abilities to show the world that they are worthy and useful, these talented students are proud to come up with the incredible ‘My Prayer Box’. Made with intense care in tune with international quality standards, ‘My Prayer Box’ is your go-to pooja samagri box for the festive season. It is a huge hit in Indian households, and is a harbinger of blessings and peace.

This Diwali, these handmade wooden prayer boxes can prove to be the best housewarming gifts for your friends and family. Besides, you can get it for yourself as well – and have your own pooja box to keep your oil lamps, essence sticks and other pooja samagri safe. Take a look at what this box of happiness has to offer:

At the core of products like these is Swayam’s desire to give our specially abled children a shot at earning their own livelihood. By applying the skills they acquire through their hard work and dedication at Swayam, the vocational training workshop at MBCN, these students create products every day. It is success stories like these that motivate us to come up with such trainings. As the wise have said, “There is a plan and a purpose, a value to every life, no matter what its location, age, gender or disability”.

If you find it difficult to buy puja samagri despite your busy schedule, you can easily find this pooja samagri box on our website. Purchasing it will not only give you joy, it will also motivate these students to be self-sufficient and financially independent. Buy Now!

Vaakya: Giving ‘voice’ to the differently abled

Vaakya: Giving ‘voice’ to the differently abled

Smartphones, laptops, and tablets have revolutionized mobile technology and the way we communicate with each other. The mobile app market is flourishing due to the increased usage of smartphones. New apps roll out every day to make our lives easier and entertaining.

 

Everyone faces hardships and difficulties at some point, but for people with disabilities, barriers can be frequent and with a greater impact. Communication is one of the many barriers that can make it extremely difficult or even impossible for specially abled people to function. It is experienced by people who have disabilities that affect hearing, speaking, reading, writing and understanding different ways to communicate externally.

Use Vaakya ApplicationVaakya App Demo

The technology we use on a daily basis can be used to help the lives of disabled people. Assistive technology is often thought of as wheelchairs and hearing aids, but it’s actually an umbrella term that covers everything from pencil grips to latest technology tablets.

Vaakya ApplicationUse Vaakya App

To help people with severe communication problems, we have designed a picture-based augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) app. Vaakya that assists people with speech impairments. This app can be utilized during rehabilitation and conventional speech therapies. For individuals who are unable to read and communicate, the app works as a useful tool as it relies on pictures (for visuals) and audio instead of text. With the app, one can create a combination of pictures and audios related to his/her needs, to help them communicate effectively. For educators, therapists and guardians, multiple user accounts can be created that will contain pictures and audios, the combination of which helps derive a seamless expression.

Vaakya is available, free of cost, on Google Play Store.

Download it here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mbcnschool.org

Nothing Is Impossible: Five Heroes Who Beat All Odds – MBCN

Nothing Is Impossible: Five Heroes Who Beat All Odds – MBCN

The journey of life is not an easy one. At certain times during this journey, you might be brutally bombarded with challenges that leave you thoroughly discouraged. This shouldn’t stop you from dreaming big.

A group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood, cerebral palsy is one such challenge. The symptoms include poor coordination, stiff muscles, weak muscles and tremors, depending on the severity of the case. Albeit a deadly disorder, CP can be overcome with a little support and a lot of courage.

Every year, World Cerebral Palsy Day is observed globally to ensure that children and adults with CP have the same rights, access and opportunities as anyone else in our society. Here’s a list of people with cerebral palsy who have inspired many with their bravery and vision.

 

Bonner Paddock

Bonner Paddock

Bonner Paddock was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 11. In 2008, he became the first person with CP to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro unassisted. In 2012, he broke yet another record, becoming the first person with CP to complete the Ironman Triathlon. He is also the founder and chairperson of the OM Foundation, which raises money to build early-learning centers that provide therapies for children with disabilities. A true inspiration, indeed!

 

Christy Brown

Christy Brown

Christy Brown was an Irish painter, poet and author born with a severe case of cerebral palsy. Incapable of any movement, he learned to speak, read, and write with the help of his mother. He is most famous for his autobiography – My Left Foot. In 1970, Christy published another best-selling autobiographical novel, Down All the Days. People like him make us realise that disease is just a word.

 

Geri Jewell

Geri Jewell

Geri Jewell is an American actress, author and motivational speaker. Defying the odds,  she received national recognition for being the first person with cerebral palsy to be cast in a prime-time television series. In 2011, she published her autobiography titled I’m Walking as Straight as I Can. The book spoke about her experience in Hollywood.

 

Ayush Chamoli

Ayush Chamoli

Ayush Chamoli is an #MBCN student with multiple disorders, including cerebral palsy. A vivacious boy, he has faced each obstacle with admirable courage. Despite the odds, he and his family never gave up. Rather, he used the hardships and setbacks to motivate him to try harder. Kids like him are an inspiration for many!

 

Jatin Kanojia

Jatin Kanojia

Jatin Kanojia is a 25-year-old boy from Ghazipur with cerebral palsy, but he hasn’t let his disability define him. Jatin worked hard as a child, completed his education and joined the Wave Group in 2016 as a computer operator. Despite the odds working against him, Jatin has remained focused towards building a career.

These people are an inspiration for everyone as they made us believe that a disease cannot stop you from achieving your goals. They overcame near-impossible obstacles to show us just how much can be accomplished despite limitations.

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

 

Eco Friendly Handmade Products by Special Children from Swayam

Eco Friendly Handmade Products by Special Children from Swayam

Everybody deserves a chance to do something worthwhile for themselves. As children, and later as adults, we’re expected to study well, figure out what we want to do with our lives, develop relevant skills and work towards the attainment of our goals. However, the same isn’t always the case with special children. Due to their disabilities, they’re often denied the opportunity to learn and work like others, and in turn, the opportunity to feel worth something.

At MBCN, children with special needs are given the attention and appreciation they deserve. To help hone their existing skills and develop new ones, they are trained extensively at school.

My Prayer Box by Special Children

Products they make at Swayam include small decorative boxes, notebooks, jewelry boxes, envelopes, office kits, paper bags, and many more. The most widely sold and popular product that they made would be ‘My Prayer Box’. Made with meticulous care, these wooden prayer boxes contains 23 puja items, and are in tune with international quality standards. A huge hit in Indian households, ‘My Prayer Box’ is a harbinger of blessings and peace.

Eco Friendly Handmade Products

We must add, moreover, that these products are not only favorites among families. In fact, multiple brands like Taj Hotels, Hyatt, Nazeer, and Lakshita have chosen to work with ‘Swayam’ over the years. These brands are happy customers of Swayam, and they highly appreciate the products.

We Cater Here

To get your hands on the beautiful products made by these special students, visit: https://www.mbcnschool.org/shop

Communication Milestones That Can Help Identify Early Signs of Hearing Loss

Communication Milestones That Can Help Identify Early Signs of Hearing Loss

Within just months of their birth, most babies begin to hear sounds and recognise the rhythm and melody of voices. They often react to cooing sounds when someone talks to them…but what happens if they don’t?

As children get older, their hearing ability plays an important role in developing speech and language skills. An undetected and untreated hearing problem can have a devastating effect on their ability to learn spoken language. This can eventually hamper their schooling, education, career prospects, relationships and general quality of life.
In the past,  often went undetected until they were around two years old – until it became obvious that he or she hasn’t started talking yet. However, with the advent of new and cost-effective technologies, hearing impairment can be identified and treated at a much younger age.

The following communication milestones can help parents and guardians read all the early signs of hearing loss in a child.

1. Newborn children get startled and jump in response to sudden loud noises, even if they are asleep. They might also try to turn towards the direction of the sound. If you happen to notice that your baby isn’t responding to loud noises, consider it a red flag.

2. A, E, I, O and U – we all are familiar with the five vowels. In fact, most babies start uttering these very early. While the inability to make vowel sounds does not confirm a hearing disability, it may indicate a problem with speech. Either way, it’s worth a visit to your pediatrician’s clinic.

3. Babies are fascinated by sounds, including music and conversations. Our world is a very noisy place, and a newborn should respond to these noises. Pay close attention to how your child reacts when a cell phone rings, or a car honks nearby.

4. In the first 4-8 months of growing up, babbling is the official language of babies – their preferred form of communication. The absence of babbling is one of the most clear signs of your little one having a hearing impairment.

5. Another form of hearing impairment occurs when your baby is capable of hearing, but responds to only a certain set of sounds. This is a case of selective listening.

6. If your child only reacts to vibrating sounds such as a cell-phone or a dryer, he or she may have a problem. Some babies with hearing impairment respond only to such sounds.

7. By the time your child is 12 months old, they should have learned their name. If they don’t yet respond to their name, they might not be hearing you at all.

8. The first words of a baby are magical for parents all around the world. By the time your child is one, they should be uttering single words like ‘ma-ma’ and ‘da-da’. If they don’t, it may be a warning call.Let’s not forget that all of these are just warning signs. They don’t guarantee anything. However, if you suspect anything, consulting a doctor is never a bad idea.

Detecting a hearing impairment as early as possible is a crucial step for your child’s overall development. We, at Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan, encourage parents to make their child undergo various processes for detection. If your child is born with a hearing loss or develops it at a later stage, he or she can still succeed in life and fulfill all their dreams. That’s precisely why we have special classes for students to learn sign language and acquire special skills through training.

Take a look at our special children teaching us the basics of sign language communication:

Full Inclusion with Sign Language – International Week of the Deaf

Full Inclusion with Sign Language – International Week of the Deaf

“Nothing about us, without us!”

 

To quote author James Charlton, the slogan above “expresses the conviction of people with disabilities that they know what is best for them.” When working with deaf communities or any differently-abled community for that matter, the value of representation must be considered and integrated.

 

The international week of the deaf is an initiative of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), and it promotes the awareness of human rights and sign language by hosting a variety of events around the globe. Every year, the last week of September witnesses highly concentrated global advocacy to raise awareness about the deaf community on different levels.

 

The students and teachers at Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan celebrate this week with great enthusiasm. Under the watchful eye of our teachers, students participate in various programs and events that require them to show their unique talents and express their views. All the events are designed in ways that ensure complete inclusion of the deaf community.

 

This year, to celebrate and empower the hearing impaired, our talented students wrote and performed skits on various social issues like gender discrimination, child abuse and right for education.

 

 

The skits above, performed using sign language, convey powerful messages and strike the right chords. Sign language is an essential tool of communication for tens of thousands of deaf people across the world. But in most cases, limitations in the use of this language make the children and adults who are hearing impaired deprived of their right to communicate with others, and therefore, from enjoying many other rights.

 

Language should be all-inclusive; learning sign language and using it more often can help ensure that. During this International Week of the Deaf, it is important to remember that without the inclusion of the deaf community, we are not only being unfair to our own brethren, but also missing out on their valuable contribution to society.

Why is it important to create an inclusive society with Sign Language?

Why is it important to create an inclusive society with Sign Language?

India is the 7th largest country in the world. Out of the 1.3 billion people that live here, 18 million are hearing impaired. That’s 1% of our entire population. When such a huge number of the Indian population suffers from hearing impairment, isn’t it our duty to build an inclusive society where everyone can live peacefully?

The hearing impaired miss out on a lot of things they actually deserve, and that isn’t right. Someone’s physical disability should not stand in the way of their betterment and improvement.

The inclusion of sign language should start at the very beginning of social interaction – schools. Schools are the one of the first platforms of social engagement children experience. At a young age, children can learn sign language very quickly. This will help them speak ‘without’ speaking, which might prove immensely beneficial for children who aren’t very comfortable verbalising what they are going through. Likewise, learning sign language can teach kids to be empathetic and grasp certain emotions better.

Sign Language

Following are some ways to incorporate sign language in our teaching methods:

  • Signing letters as you teach them.
  • Signing songs that are traditionally sung in the classroom.
  • Signing words used during snack time.
  • Signing numbers, months, days, pledges, names and feelings.

Most commonly used by the hearing impaired, sign language can work wonders for many others, including those who face trouble speaking.

sign language

Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan is a school for special children that creates a warm, nurturing environment for students, giving them plenty of scope to excel in academics, communication, social skills, basic application sciences and self-care skills. Our teaching programmes have been developed after careful consideration of our students’ special needs, and our teachers are always committed to making their lives easier.

To learn basic sign language, click here!

A fit and active individual makes a society healthier, and a nation stronger!

A fit and active individual makes a society healthier, and a nation stronger!

The benefits associated with regular physical exercise are innumerable. Not only does it keep one in shape, it also improves the functioning of the brain and builds immunity against several diseases. It is a proven fact that children, when exposed to a variety of sports early in their lives, develop better self-esteem, grasp social skills and communicate new ideas effectively. They are also likely to excel academically, as all the physical work improves blood circulation in the body, including the brain.

With our lives getting busier by the day, we are less likely to devote time to our physical well-being. This is a major cause of obesity and several other related diseases in India. ‘Khelo India’ is a government initiative to restore the forgotten culture of sports in our country at the grassroot level. It envisions to implement a component of physical fitness across all schools. Primarily targeting children, women and the specially-abled community, Khelo India National Fitness Assessment Programme is further divided into 12 verticals. It covers everything from field and coaching development to supporting national, regional and state sports academics.

We, at MBCN, actively work towards including some form of physical exercise or activity in the daily routine of our students. A few months back, our special children gladly accepted the #HumFitTohIndiaFit challenge introduced by Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.

Take a look at how our children pushed their limits and set an example for everyone:

We hope to inspire people to take up this challenge and work towards making themselves fitter and healthier.

In light of National Sports Day observed on August 29 in India, let’s take a pledge to exercise every day, and learn at least one sport. With India’s diverse and rich heritage in sports and athletics, we as Indians should treasure the values our ancestors attached with playing sports.

So, let’s dedicate an hour of our daily routine to exercise, and together build a healthy and strong country! #HumFitTohIndiaFit