Since its inception Gharkul has changed the lives of many children with special needs and their parents and spread awareness about special education among Balwadi and Anganwadi teachers.
Sandeep's Story (names are changed for confidentiality reasons)
My family was struggling with a hope to secure my future. Seeing them upset would hurt me. But today I am so happy to see my relaxed parents. Being a Gharkul student I have learned and am confident to earn a livelihood by assisting at offices, painting and creating art. Gharkul has given me skills and values that have transformed my life. I am now working as an AC mechanic and it gives my parents joy. Gharkul is my first family. ...Alumni
Ashok’s Story (names are changed for confidentiality reasons)
Ashok did not show signs of impairment since birth, it developed later as a result of a viral infection. When I compared him with other children in the neighbourhood, I felt disheartened and thought he would never recover. As he began growing up, the thought of keeping him alone at home worried me. Ashok was diagnosed with Development Delay. In 2011, one of my neighbours suggested enrolling him into Gharkul. Initially, I would wait with him at Gharkul till he was able to sit properly and do things on his own. To my relief Ashok started eating, recognizing people, getting a better understanding of things. The most fascinating accomplishment in him after joining Gharkul is his improvement in speech. I feel happy when he responsibly performs tasks given to him by his teachers. Since he is at Gharkul we are able to work as well as give him the required time at home.
I like how Gharkul celebrates festivals and birthdays. The children have a lot of fun during these events. Ashok has developed a sense of belonging at Gharkul. The work that the team at Gharkul does to nurture the special children enrolled with them is amazing! ... Ashok’s mother
Sheetal’s Story (names are changed for confidentiality reasons)
My daughter Sheetal (5 years old) was enrolled into Gharkul a year ago. She is a child with Cerebral Palsy. Before joining Gharkul, Sheetal couldn’t sit and balance herself. After some time in Gharkul, she is able to stand, balance herself and understand her actions. Because of all the therapeutic help, she is able to speak five words like Ba, Maa, Mum and so on. Looking at her progress we feel happy. I once got worried because she suddenly began crying when she was taken for therapy. She never used to cry during therapy before. I was relieved when the therapist explained that it was normal for a child to cry when taken for therapy and that her crying itself was a sign of improvement. I stay in Vile Parle (West) and from there I used to walk to Gharkul with Sheetal. Today Gharkul has given Sheetal a wheelchair. Sheetal’s father works as a Peon and doesn’t earn much. We stay with my mother-in-law and two brother-in-laws. Out of the two, one has a kidney disease and hence, can’t do much. My husband and I look after the daily expenses of the household.
I have been working at Gharkul since 5 months now and have seen changes in the children here, I feel I’m a mother to all the children here. Veena is also a student here, she used to be hyperactive. However, she has become calmer now! I have seen her write numbers from 1-50 on the blackboard without any difficulty which is impressive. ...Sheetal’s Mother
Samir age 9 was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. He came into Gharkul when he was 5 years old. The Samir we initially knew did not eat on his own, he could not sit calmly, his speech ability was minimally developed. It was difficult to manage Samir’s behavior. For the years that we have had Samir at Gharkul the focus has been on identifying and developing his strengths, his cognitive, academic, daily living and social skills. Samir now eats on his own, interacts with other children, and greets visitors he has never met before. His verbal and academic skills have also seen improvement. His parents are excited about the progress he is making and are quick to keep his teachers informed about the growth they see in him, be it a new word he used, his improved behavior or a song he sang for the family. Observing his father who is a carpenter, Samir seems to be interested in carpentry. We are committed to facilitating Samir’s academic progress as well as his vocational progress in accordance to his interest. ...Principal