Vocational training for youngsters with intellectual disabilities (ID)
There is growing recognition for the right of an individual with disabilities to live within the community and be integrated into mainstream society. This recognition is based on innumerable studies that prove that persons with disabilities can lead successful, independent lives provided that proper training is imparted to them early on. Through 18 years of working with children with disabilities, we know that nothing is impossible for them when given the right opportunities and support.
Back in 2012, Sri Arunodayam opened Prayatna, its vocational training center, to provide youngsters above the age of 18 with skills to sustain a trade. At first, the focus was more on ‘occupational therapy’ to help them develop the necessary interactive social skills. The center provided a great opportunity for youngsters with disabilities to engage, learn, work and interact in a safe environment, helping them become more productive at their own pace.
It was not easy initially, as both beneficiaries and teachers had to identify mutually respectful ways to communicate to solve problems. Teachers require a tremendous amount of patience and must find positive ways to discipline that are neither permissive nor punitive, while always exhibiting kindness. In keeping with our motto of “emphasizing on ability rather than disability” the youngsters’ productivity began to grow by leaps and bounds when we began the best practice of focussing on their unique abilities. This helped them feel a sense of belonging and significance. Prayatna also attempts to teach them valuable social and life skills for good character, i.e. respect, concern for others, problem-solving, accountability, contribution, cooperation, and more, while inviting them to discover how capable they are and to use their personal power in constructive ways.
- To educate, train and impart vocational training to differently abled persons
- To help participants develop good work habits and right attitudes towards work
- To help participants develop and improve their functional, personal and social skills
- To help participants improve their communication skills
- To help participants develop life survival and sustainable business skills
- To help participants become independent and develop healthy self-esteem
- To provide opportunities for integrating learned skills into daily life and work situations
- All kinds of cloth bags – fashionable sling bags, Thamboolam bags, shopping bags
- Cloth face masks (in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our youngsters swung into action making beautiful, snugly fitting kalamkari cotton masks. Read more here.
- Wire Basket Weaving
- Weaving (rugs, doormats, etc.)
- Youngsters are given a monthly stipend that is credited into their accounts
- Regular motivational talks and interactive sessions
- Weekly Work-in-Place feedback sessions (Read more here)
I enjoy working at the loom and making colorful rugs. Though sad memories from my past at times come to mind, working at the loom seems to calm me and make me feel better. People like my rugs and compliment me, which makes me feel happy and purposeful.
Sathish is one of our youngsters at Prayatna. Click here for his story.
I am happy doing what I do. I am a tailor in the making, and I also love weaving baskets and taking care of the smaller girls at the home. I am treated with respect and I feel capable of handling all my tasks well.
Akshaya is one of our youngsters at Prayatna. Click here for her story.
Banu is one of our youngsters at Prayatna. It’s heartening to see her transformation from a troubled teen to a young lady with purpose. Click here for her story.