Monthly Archives: December 2015

Keeping children safe: An update from our community based preventive program in Madhubani, Bihar

Keeping Children Safe: An Update from Our Community Based Preventive Program in Madhubani, Bihar | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization

The safety and protection of children is far more complex than it sounds. It involves keeping children safe and free from abuse at home, in school, and in the community. It involves protecting children from early marriage, from being forced to work, from being physically, emotionally and sexually abused and much more.

Even though it is absurd to think that families, communities and government would not want children to be safe, India’s child protection system is terribly under resourced, under staffed and reaches only a fraction of those children who really need it, when in fact, every child must be surrounded by a protective system that reaches out and prevents them from falling out of the protection of family and community.

Making communities safe for children requires collaboration between children, families, communities and government. In 2014, Leher with its Madhubani based partner, Sarvo Prayas Sansthan, began work on a community based preventive child protection program in Madhubani, Bihar. The program reaches out to 63 villages in 3 blocks.

The program tests the belief that sensitized communities will find ways to protect their children, prevent abuse and exploitation, and demand the same from the State. The first year focused on developing a baseline study for child protection in the district, district consultations, as well as on conversations with communities to prepare them to get started. In the 2nd year work actively rolled out in 27 villages. The role of Leher and its partner agency is to mobilize, capacity build, and support communities to assess their situation, dialogue, and push the system to take actions to ensure the protection of children.

When we first started 2 years ago, communities expected us to give them things-BPL cards, disability certificates, money, scholarships to name some. They would follow us until the cab we travelled in vanished from their sight. Today, 2 years later, we proudly say, that’s changed. Village child protection committees and children’s groups are formed, the synergy between these two groups is quite phenomenal.

The child protection committees and children’s groups have got themselves into a routine pattern of functioning, meet regularly, and document their meetings and decisions. They have also just learned to undertake a quarterly review of their actions. Every village child protection committee will soon have a stamp, issued through orders from the block to the Panchayat Secretary based on letters written by the village committees to their respective block offices.

As the program has developed, Leher has developed a manual and sets of tools, which will facilitate scale-up of the work undertaken so far.

Our team in the field has moved from being worried about not being able to do enough to provide immediate assistance to communities, to being confident in the strategy of the program, which throws back questions and problems to the communities and hand holds them as they think through, analyze and find solutions themselves.

The role of children’s groups and village child protection committees is emerging quite clearly:

  • Addressing gaps in services for children at the village level: Mid-day meals, nutrition and immunization through the anganwadi centers
  • Getting government departments to deliver: Disability certificates, birth registration-Earlier communities had to pay money to obtain these. Now the ASHA has ensured that other than her cost of travel to the department no other payments need to be made to the department.
  • Peer support (children to children, and parent to parent): Issues and cases addressed include alcohol, cigarette smoking, gambling children eloping, early marriage, sexual abuse, child labour
  • Infrastructure: The community has come together to lobby for school buildings to be constructed, roads to be built in the village to give better access, shutting down of illegal alcohol shops, building of electricity pole for the wire to be laid
  • Follow-up and home visits
  • Vigilance: Both children’s groups and the protection committees see ‘nigrani’ or vigilance as a key role emerge for them vis a vis the safety of their children in the community. They realize they need to constantly need to keep watch and be alert.

The learning has been very encouraging so far. We bring you a glimpse of the program in Madhubani.


“Sheela and I went with the Village level Child Protection Committee secretary to meet my friend’s (Rani’s) parents to convince them against marrying my friend before she turns 18yrs. I was scared initially, but I would have liked the same support if I was in my friend’s position. Today Rani is continuing her studies and is a part of our group.” – Discussion with Girls group, Sisai,Bhoj Pandaul block, Bisfi, Madhubani 2015

Keeping Children Safe: An Update from Our Community Based Preventive Program in Madhubani, Bihar | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization

We met the store owner and informed him that he would be reported if he is found selling any kind of substance to a child. We are keeping a watch over him and have decided to conduct our meeting where community members generally drink and gamble with the hope that they would hear what we discuss and get positively influenced.” – Discussion with VCPC members, Sisai,Bhoj Pandaul block, Bisfi, Madhubani 2015

Keeping Children Safe: An Update from Our Community Based Preventive Program in Madhubani, Bihar | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization

“Mothers did not understand that certain immunization shots have side effects on their babies, like fever and vomiting. Mothers always through that we were not administering the shots right and so their babies would get sick. They accused us (ASHA) of being corrupt, and not knowing how to give the injection. It used to cause a lot of fights. After we discussed this at the child protection committee meeting and it was decided that on every immunization day a member of the child protection committee would be present to explain and counsel mothers.” – Discussion with ASHA, Shahpur, Pandaul block, Madhubani, 2015

Keeping Children Safe: An Update from Our Community Based Preventive Program in Madhubani, Bihar | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization

We understand now that the food and money had not been disbursed from the block and therefore the teachers were not in a position to provide food to our children everyday. We are now collecting details on the status of the school in our village to see the gaps.” – Discussion with Girls group, Bishanpur, Bhariya Bishanpur, Rajnagar, Madhubani 2015

“Drinking …alcoholism has always been a problem…I brought the women in the village together and together we stormed into and took control of one of the shops illegally selling alcohol. I have raised the matter at the block headquarters to ensure that no new liquor outlet, whether licensed or not, is set up in the village. Pariharpur village does not have a liquor shop anymore. It’s not like the men have stopped drinking alcohol completely. But now they have to walk much further to get it. It has also made the area safer for girls and women.” – Discussion with Jagwati Devi, Sarpanch of Pariharpur Panchayat, Rajnagar block, Madhubani, 2015

Keeping Children Safe: An Update from Our Community Based Preventive Program in Madhubani, Bihar | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization

“Rajkumari was 17 ½ and though her parents heard us out, they went ahead and conducted the wedding as the groom’s side wasn’t prepared to wait for 6 more months and Rajkumari’s parents feared they wouldn’t be able to find another groom. But we are more prepared now. We have decided to continually keep a watch & if we hear of any early marriage going to take place we will immediately inform the VCPC and visit the parents till they are convinced against it.” – Discussion with VCPC members, Sonwari, Bhariya Bishanpur block, Rajnagar, Madhubani 2015

“A lot of boys are working in the city. They come back with money, and appear attractive to young girls. Even 13 year olds are running away with these boys. It is causing huge fights, between families, across villages, they forcibly get them married if they return. It is a big danger. How are we going to address this in the community?” – Basukhinath Mahto, Block Coordinator, SPS-Leher, Madhubani

15 of our favourite little humans of 15’

Little humans brought to us stories that encapsulate childhoods of children in India! From their favourite cricketer, plans for summer holidays, life as child labourers, on the streets or in the Spiti valley to difficulties with their disabilities, these little humans reiterate that sometimes the littlest people have the biggest stories to tell! Here’s presenting Leher’s favourite #littlehumans of 2015!!

Photo: Nipa Bhansali, 15 of our favourite little humans of 15’ | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo: Anushka Patel

“Is there anything that scares you?” “Well I’m scared of half my friends and the other half are scared of me!” “Are the bhai of Grant Road?” “You can call me, ‘Virar Road ka bhai!’” “Are any of your friends here with you?” “No. I am katti with my friends now because they gave me gaali. They called me maadarchod so we don’t talk anymore.”

Photo: Anushka Patel, 15 of our favourite little humans of 15’ | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo: Anushka Patel

“Bole toh, main Salman Khan, Yeh Shahrukh Khan!”

Photo: Anushka Patel, 15 of our favourite little humans of 15’ | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo: Anushka Patel

“I want to be a banker. No, actually, I want to be like papa and open a jewellery shop. No, wait, please change my answer – I want to be a footballer.”

Photo: Anushka Patel, 15 of our favourite little humans of 15’ | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo: Anushka Patel

“What do you want to do when you grow up?” “I want to be a soldier and protect the country.” “Do you have a message for people out there who will see your interview?” “Live in peace.”

Photo: Vanika Achreja, 15 of our favourite little humans of 15’ | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo: Vanika Achreja

“We play cricket here everyday.” “But only on this side. Because the older kids play on the other side.” “They don’t let us play with them.” “But we don’t care, we play here anyway!” “Because we’re better than them.”

Photo: Shrey Jani, 15 of our favourite little humans of 15’ | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo: Shrey Jani

“Katrina se shaadi karega!”

Photo: Anushka Dalal, 15 of our favourite little humans of 15’ | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo: Anushka Patel

“The police just extorted 3000 rupees from me.”

Photo: Jaisal Kapoor
Photo: Jaisal Kapoor

“Do you like the rain?” “Yes, I love it!” “How much?” “This much!” (smiles at camera) “What do you do in the rain?” “We sing Shah Rukh Khan songs.”

Photo: Anushka Dalal
Photo: Anushka Dalal

“What are you both going to be when you grow up?” “I’m going to be a police officer when I grow up.” “Wow!” “And I’m going to join the Navy.” he adds. “No no he’s going to be a police officer too!” “We’ll protect each other.” “And everyone else also.”

Photo: Anushka Dalal
Photo: Anushka Dalal

“You look very dressed up, where are you coming from?”

“My relative’s wedding.”

“Do you like weddings?” “No, I don’t even like my relatives! But there was free food, so its okay.”

Photo: Shrabani Dash & Arpan Vadhera
Photo: Shrabani Dash & Arpan Vadhera

“Where are you coming from?” “I went to get a packet of milk.” “Why are you wearing a mask? “I don’t want my identity to be disclosed, because carrying ‘mummy ke orders’ is a confidential task. My friend Batman has also taught me that while doing a good deed, wear a mask!” “Do you do this everyday?” “Yes..almost! But noone understands how difficult it is. You gotta save the milk from unseen dangers like random doggies who want to drink it and the chance of the milk spilling over where giant black cars with yellow stripes rule the road!” “Haha! Don’t most people wonder why you’re wearing a mask?” “Grown ups have such an illogical way of thinking sometimes…! They think I have some disease because I’m wearing a mask. Can’t they see I’m a superhero like Batman who delivers milk for Maa? Ok! I’m in a rush, I have to deliver this to Maa!”

Photo: Puja Bhawal & Dennis Konjengbam, 15 of our favourite little humans of 15’ | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo: Puja Bhawal & Dennis Konjengbam

“Where do you live?” “Down the road…with my aunty.” “Where are your mummy and daddy?” “They passed away when I was small. My aunt won’t tell me how.” “What do you want to do on your holiday?” “I play football all day.” “What would you like to be when you grow up?” “An awesome footballer like Messi. I have 3 jerseys with ‘MESSI’ written at the back!”

Photo: Anushka Dalal
Photo: Anushka Dalal

“What is your name?” “R-A-J Raj.” He writers on Shamim teacher’s palm. “How old are you?” “Yesterday was my birthday. I had cake and balloons. And the balloon went ‘bhuuuummm!’” “But you didn’t answer my question Raj!” she smiles understanding his disinterest in the question. “Raj is 8 years old.” she answers as he looks away into the distance. “Which is your favourite chocolate?” “This one!” he points to his pocket. “Raj is going to share the chocolate with everyone today, isn’t he? *He gives her the chocolate with a huge grin on his face* “No no its okay you only have it.” she teases him “Isn’t chocolate bad for your teeth? Show us how many teeth you have!” *He grins widely to show his teeth* “Where do you live?” “In the hostel.” “Who do you miss the most?” “My mother.” *He opens his family book and points at his brother’s photo joking that it is his mother*

Photo: Deepti Asthana, 15 of our favourite little humans of 15’ | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo: Deepti Asthana

On an early morning in Dhankar, a village in the Spiti valley of the Himalayas, the sun was up behind the misty mountains and the air was crisp, when I met Jitu, a little shepherd boy. The dew drops glistened in the soft sunlight as Jitu tried his best to herd his sheep, while also imitating their sounds. “Jackie! Sunny!”, called out Jitu. “Who are you calling out to?” I asked. He laughed uncontrollably and said, “I have named my favourite sheep after Bollywood filmstars!” Accompanied by his father each morning, grazing his herd of mountain sheep is a daily chore for Jitu. In Spti, animals are one of the primary sources of income, as agriculture is scarce at high altitudes. Jitu was very quiet and shy, perhaps because his father was with us. Most of my curious questions on their lives were answered by Jitu’s father. But when I asked “What do you want to study?”, Jitu immediately replied saying “I want to be a children’s doctor!” At first I was a little surpised at his specific interest in treating children, but his father read my inquisitve face and said “Jitu’s little brother has polio and cannot walk. In the remote areas of Spiti getting proper treatment is very difficult. It gets worse in winters as most of the villages lose road connectivity and in urgent situations a patient has to be very lucky to be airlifted by the government to reach a hospital. Air rescues are rare. For most people it’s either an ardous journey on foot or a painful wait for months before they can reach the nearest town andreally hope Jitu grows to be a doctor.”

Photo: Deepti Asthana
Photo: Deepti Asthana

In the famous Malala village, I entered a shop to buy some chocolates. “Ma’am, you shouldn’t step inside the shop. Please wait outside,” said the teenager manning the shop, rather sternly. “Is there a problem?” I asked, stunned by his unwelcoming words. “We are kings, therefore, only Rajputs are considered our equals and can enter”, he replied. Malana claims to be a ‘free village’ in India run by its own rules. I decided to not mull too much over this incident and walked on towards a group of children. A little girl smiled at me when she saw the chocolates in my hand. I smiled back relieved that at least some children were oblivious of my ‘outsider’ status. But I smiled too soon… she was telling me to put the chocolate on the ground with her little finger. I complied and placed some chocolates on the ground, to see her grab it gleefully. Even before she started to eat it, her older brother came out and scolded her for taking chocolates from an outsider. I realised that while untouchability might be abolished from other parts of the country, in free Malana, it was visibly alive. The next generation were raised to take it forward.

The Nirbhaya case was an outlier. It cannot justify a system which facilitates revenge

Photo- Shuchi Kapoor
Photo- Shuchi Kapoor


My sister Tannistha is a child rights advocate. But to be honest I was not completely convinced about the argument that juveniles should never be treated as adults. That is until a few days back when I suddenly had what people refer to as a moment of clarity. The punishment meted out to convicts is meant to act as a deterrent to others. And that is where the problem is with juvenile justice.

There is a lot of scientific literature that talks about how the frontal lobes are not fully mature in adolescents, thus impairing their ability to make decisions. They still make decisions but that is more controlled by the part of the brain that is linked to “gut feel” or “impulse”. They are biologically incapable of taking all risks and consequences into consideration when responding to emotions.

So what does that mean? Simply that laws that are meant to instil fear of consequence to deter them from committing crimes, will be ineffective. So what end will these laws serve? Vengeance? A thirst for revenge?

On the flip side, sending a kid to a prison full of hardened, grown up criminals is sure way of turning him into one. In absence of any other role models they will emulate what they see. Would it not be better if the juvenile justice system was more geared towards rehabilitation? Would it not be better if they are given a chance, however small, to reform?

The media seems obsessed with the case of the Nirbhaya juvenile. So let’s say this boy in fact did what they would have us believe he did. And I speak on this with just as much information or understanding as comes from being a techie amongst India’s millions of techies. If I was the father, I might have taken law into my own hands. And I would not question Jyoti Singh’s father if he felt the same way or even acted on those. But is that what the legal system is meant to be? A tool for us to take revenge? Your official channel to seek vendetta? Is that what justice is?

The way is see it. There are different arguments. If you want the legal system to reduce crime, then this does not help. If you want the legal system to set an example, then this does not help. But if you want the legal system to take revenge, then yes this works.

The Nirbhaya case was an outlier. One of its kind. Let’s assume this guy was guilty of what the media accused him of. In that case he should be rotting in jail in an ideal world. But should we let that one incident put the lives and future of hundreds of other children at risk? The law is not specific enough. Many children will get caught in the ambiguity of the law. And in my opinion, if the price for giving an otherwise good kid who made a wrong decision a second chance, is letting ten of these Nirbhaya guys walk away, then so be it.

Technology enables the disabled: In conversation with Shilpi Kapoor

Technology enables the disabled: In conversation with Shilpi Kapoor | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization

1. How can technology be harnessed to bridge the gap between disabled and non-disabled people? Is technology an enabler in ‘mainstreaming’ disabled people?

There are a 100 million disabled in the world and the number is increasing. Today, they are excluded from education, employment and social life. Technology can be an enabler. People with disabilities are forgotten behind closed doors, and technology can bring them into mainstream society and create an inclusive world! Education can be made more effective and accessible to persons with disabilities by including assistive technology products and services into the system.

2. What are the innovations in the field of technology that have assisted disabled children across the globe? How must India adopt these?

Assistive technology solutions can range from simple to complex, but they all have one thing in common – they assist people with a wide range of disabilities and impairments to overcome their limitations and achieve greater independence.Text Books used by students can be converted to Digital Talking Books and made available to the print impaired (people with learning and visual impairment). Computer aids such as screen readers, adaptive keyboards, desktop magnifiers etc can have a major impact in the education of persons with disability.
The primary problem that we need to address here is the limited access to technology for persons with disabilities. In the space of education and day to day life, assistive technology is not available to the persons with disabilities. This hampers them their growth and prospects for education.
Many schools in India are not even aware of the available assistive technologies, and hence the use of these technologies is minimal. Additionally, one needs to work on training special educators so that they are aware of available technology and its benefit to students.

3. Are you getting good traction when it comes to raising awareness about products that Barrier Break promotes?

Providing assistive technology to the end-user through educational institutions is a major challenge, since the cost of assistive technology can be prohibitive. There has been little initiative from the Government in promoting the use of assistive technologies amongst persons with disability. Provisions have been made under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan stating that the needs of children with disabilities should be fully addressed in mainstream education and all children must get the opportunity to go to schools in their neighbourhood. However, not much has been done in making these products available to the students or educational institutions.
BarrierBreak therefore conducts the ‘Abilities Unlimited’ programme for special educators wherein they can explore these products within their premises for free. This has contributed in raising awareness about various products that are now available in India and can greatly help achieve inclusive education.
As far as educational website development is concerned we provide subsidized rates for educational institutions in making their websites accessible and disable-friendly. We have been working with Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan with the aid of workshops and exhibitions to provide these products and services to educational institutes at a reasonable rate.
Thorough and customized training and support is delivered by the BarrierBreak team to the institute or library purchasing the assistive technology products for their students.

4. What was the genesis of the idea for setting up a assistive technology firm?

The international market is wide with the presence of multiple technology vendors showcasing various products for different kinds of disabilities. In India, however, there is a huge R&D gap and this is accentuated by the absence of sensitivity and awareness to acknowledge people with disabilities as a segment of our population.
People are generally unaware of the myriad technological options available in the international market for people with disabilities and hence our rationale behind setting up a assistive technology firm. In addition, we are working on the sales of assistive technology by creating a network to sell the products. The company imports 90% of the products directly from manufacturers abroad and sells them
locally, eliminating a long chain of middlemen.
Seeing a huge gap in the way differently-abled children are educated, Barrier Break has a special focus on working with educational institutions. Considering, education is for all, ensuring that educational products or services are accessible to all including students with special needs is critical. Every person has a right to education and students with special needs are no different. For a student with disability, technology can be an enabler. Similarly, we have worked with the foreign manufacturing company in making these innovative products available in India at an affordable rate.

5. Are children an important target group for your firm?

Education of children with disabilities needs a holistic approach and we cannot tackle employability problems and skills in isolation from the overall education experience. Training needs to be more vigorous and job-oriented, at the same time educationists need to also provide tools of assistive technology so that the child, from a young age, is accustomed to using these and becomes skilled.
We have set up 50 schools across India with state-of-the-art assistive technology including providing training and support. We conduct teacher training workshops for Microsoft India to build
awareness on assistive technology across the country. We have trained more than 1000 special educators till date.
We also services educational institutions and libraries to convert their educational materials into Talking Book format, accessible for the print-impaired. Due to a lack of professionally converted materials, a lot of information is pirated and published on the Internet, unfortunately, without quality control. We have been working towards this and have created more than 1.5 million accessible learning material pages in the last year alone.

6. Is it correct to assume that children take to such products better? In the sense that the sooner one starts the better it is? Do children need special guidance to use these products?

As mentioned above assistive technology solutions can range from simple to the complex. Many products such as the reading writing toolbars, adaptive mouse, adaptive keyboards, switches, AAC products can be started at an early stage.A child who finds it difficult to write words can use the word prediction software to write efficiently. There is also the Clevy keyboard that features attractive playful colors for vowels, consonants, numbers and function keys that can help students with learning disabilities. Software’s such as the Easy Tutor that has the power of inbuilt speech output facility enables children using computers to write, read, view and check text alongside a human sounding voice. AAC devices such as the Go Talk or the Super Talker are easy to use voice output devices designed to grow with the student.

7. How do you think technology can be leveraged to make education inclusive for children in India?

Schools or educational institutions should ensure the availability of assistive technology for students with disabilities which plays a major role in inclusive education. Computer aids such as screen readers, adaptive keyboards, desktop magnifiers etc can have a major impact in the space of education for persons with disability.
Education can be made more effective and accessible to persons with disabilities by including assistive technology products and services into the system. The primary problem that we need to address here is that the access to technology for students with disabilities is limited. In education, and day to day life, assistive technology is not available to the students with disabilities. This hampers them in their education and growth.
Many schools in India are not even aware of available assistive technologies, and thus the use of these technologies is minimal in schools across the country. BarrierBreak ensures not only availability of these products in India but also creates awareness about these products to special educators and parents.
Similarly, if the educational website is not accessible to a students with disabilities, how will he/she be able to decide which educational institute to join? How will he/she fill an online application form for enrollment? It is also necessary that a student with disabilities gets access to all the information about a particular school, college or university for which the need to make a website accessible was important. BarrierBreak has initiated the step of making educational websites and web portals accessible.

8. How do you believe your products have mainstreamed disabled children? Give us some examples/ instances

We have set up resource centres at various schools and colleges providing a range of assistive technology products that cater to the needs of all kinds of disabilities. Some of our clients include Pune University, St. Xaviers, University of Delhi, Bharatidasan University, Shri Ram College, JB Petit High School etc. which have testified that assistive technology products have played a major role in the inclusion of children with disabilities in education.
As far as web development is concerned, the National Intitute of Open Schooling (NIOS) website was one of our major projects as the institute has over 65,000 students enrolled, a large number of who are disabled, and were unable to access important information pertaining to admissions, results and curriculum. The NIOS website also won the National Award for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, 2012 for Best Accessible Website.

9. What do you expect from the government to enable you to take these products to more people?

Better policy support from the Government, better legal structures and improved education systems, and an action plan for businesses to convert policies into reality are the need of the hour.

Breaking Barriers: Disability & Sexuality


Breaking Barriers: Disability & Sexuality | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization

Shweta Ghosh is the director of AccSex, a pioneering film exploring disability and sexuality. She talks to Leher about her film at length.

#1 How did the idea of exploring disability and sexuality come to you given that it is quite a difficult subject?

It started as idea for my diploma film in college but for some reason other members of my group were not sure about it so I couldn’t make it then. It is my debut film and in fact the idea was always in my head because I have been exposed to these issues in my family itself. My father has a disability related to his arm. And so it was not a new issue for me in that sense. And my mother is non-disabled, I have grown up with most people patting my back and saying, ‘’oh it must be so tough”, “you are so brave”, ‘’beta we are proud of you’’ etc.… Fortunately, my parents raised me and my sibling in a sensitive and informed way. They both work in the social sector so we had a lot of open conversations, and just growing up with such great parents sensitised me to this subject much more than a child with say ‘normal’ parents. It was in fact my mother who suggested that I should explore issues around disability and then I thought of looking into how people with disabilities treat the subject of sexuality.

#2 How big a taboo is sex and sexuality among people with disabilities and how do normal people perceive it?

To begin with it was a revelation even for me. During the making of the film I realised that I was looking at sex in isolation when it clearly isn’t the case. Sex means different thing for different people. I realised that non-disabled people like you and me have many avenues, places to seek partners. Disabled people on the other hand have very few options to seek partners or even interact with people outside their immediate circle of friends and family. You go to malls, coffee shops, college, parks, movies and many other places, you meet people and then you may or may not find a partner but is it the same with people with disabilities? What are ways of finding a partner for them?

As a child, one wonders how do people with disabilities have relationships, is it just like ‘normal’ people or is it different, how do they have intercourse, and during the making of the film I realised that sex and sexuality is as much a taboo for disabled people as it is for non-disabled people. The difference is that with a lot of disabled people sex is often about violence and not desire. A lot of normal people hold the view that, how can they even desire for something like sex? It’s a misconception because disability is a spectrum and not all disabilities are debilitating when it comes to reproductive rights. We need to understand that and encourage and support reproductive rights for people with disabilities.

#3 Coming back to your film, do you think it has been received well?

What I like the most is that small organisations and groups are doing screenings of the film with not so large groups, the film is there to be shared and I think it is happening in an organic way which makes me really happy. Besides, it has been to many festivals and was also made a special mention of in the National Film awards in 2014.

# 4 Anything during the making of the film that has stayed with you?

There are many things but I remember this one incident as a learning. Even though I am sensitive to disabilities and I was making a film on it, I realised that’s easy to overlook the nuances related to disabilities. So, one of the people featured in the film has a disability that doesn’t let her take the stairs, and we were shooting a sequence which I thought could be shot at my place. So, invited all the people who were needed for that shoot to my place which in a multi-storey building. What I didn’t realise was that my building didn’t have an elevator, I felt really stupid because it caused a lot of inconvenience and I felt I should have remembered that fact.

Another incident was during the shooting the last sequence of the film. It involved the main characters interpreting the word ‘sexy’. And it was quite remarkable that all of them interpreted that word in different ways just like the so called normal people. Basically as a filmmaker I realised that your assumptions are often challenged and you should be open to accept them.

# 5 Do you plan to remain engaged with this subject as a filmmaker?

I am working on my 3rd film now and I am also applying for a PHD. My subject is on disability and engaging with people with disabilities in order to finally work towards creating a facilitating atmosphere for filmmakers with disabilities. I hope to get both disabled and non-disabled filmmakers to collaborate to make films.

# 6 Finally, do you think attitudes towards people with disabilities are changing very slowly?

See, no change happens overnight or in a short time. As people striving for positive social transformation we have to continue our efforts and believe that change is happening, and it happening according to me. Gradually but it is happening. Today what is needed is more, much more communication between disabled and non-disabled people. There is often this mysterious silence between disabled and non-disabled people. Somehow it doesn’t go beyond pity, sympathy or apathy.

I believe it is incumbent on both non-disabled as well as disabled people to make each other comfortable. The government needs to create spaces where disabled and non-disabled can mingle with each other. And yes, of course everybody should have some basic sensitivity towards people with disabilities. And then when you ask honest questions, people with disabilities would be able to interact as ‘normally’ as possible.

# 7 What according to you are some steps that will ensure this attitudinal change starts with children?

Education! Of course that is the one way we can ensure that future generations are better sensitised and understanding. Today, in schools, either disabled children don’t get admission or they are thoroughly misunderstood, discriminated and made to feel inadequate. If we start with a more disabled-friendly curriculum, sensitive teachers and appropriate infrastructure there is no reason why we won’t see a more disabled-inclusive and friendly India.

A day in the life of Saurabh

Meet Saurabh. A history buff, idli-dosa addict, and the acclaimed student of the year. When you meet Saurabh you might be fooled by his introverted and polite disposition, but rumour has it that in the company of Mohammed and Santosh, he is a humour junkie. Devyani Ma’am has many a complaint about Saurabh’s changing attitude as he grows into a fine young man, doused in pride as she nurtures him into the next year at school. Here’s what Saurabh’s day looks like at his school:


A Day in the Life of Saurabh | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization

6 AM

His day starts when the sun rises. 30 minutes of Suryanamakskar, followed by pull ups and yoga aasana’s taught by his teacher. Saurabh is punctual and particular about his exercise routine, always watchful of his health. He then goes on to assist Akit, his 14 year old friend, who needs help in taking a shower. Saurabh helps by ‘prompting’ him, to take care of himself, yet, patiently hand holding him through daily morning activities.

8.00 AM

Right after his exercise routine, Saurabh heads for a shower. He loves a full bodied soap with a strong scent.

8.30 AM

As a senior student, Saurabh has responsibilities towards his younger hostel mates. Helping Rohit with his breakfast is part of his hostel duty. The system is such that children learn and respond more to peers than teachers, therefore, helping the younger children is what he does dutifully. Additionally, he assists the hostel staff in their tasks too.

Saurabh usually joins Sanyog and Durgesh for breakfast, once the the younger students are done with breakfast. His vegetarian diet includes Idli, bata vada, sheera or poha every morning—- which he loves!

9.15 AM

All the students trickle into the foyer from the breakfast hall. The school day begins with singing ‘Jana gana mana’ and ‘Tum hi ho mata pita tumhi ho’. Saurabh sings with the same enthusiam everyday!


9.30 AM

Class begins. The day is packed with back to back classes—Social Science, Math, History, Geography, Marathi, Computers, Type writing, Yoga, Art & Craft, Home Science amongst others. In Home Science lab, Saurabh experiments with different salads and sandwiches. He also tries his hand at his mom’s recipes of dal and rice. The timetable changes everyday.

History is Saurabh’s favourite subject. He loves discussions around the story of India’s independence. Freedom fighters like Gandhiji, Lokmanya Tilak, Nehru, Babasaheb Ambedkar inspire him.

A Day in the Life of Saurabh | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
A Day in the Life of Saurabh | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization

1.00 PM

The bell rings. Lunch is finally here after a morning packed with classes. Saurabh, along with his friends goes to the Dining Hall, a short walk from class. Fresh veggies, dal, roti and salad make for his staple diet. Occasionally, noodles are served for lunch- his favourite! And you will seldom catch him eating anything extra.


2.00 PM

Post-lunch class for the day is Marathi. Mohammed is his class partner for this subject. Mohammed and Saurabh have been good friends ever since they joined school 7 years back. They sit and chatter, laugh and gossip in class with their friend Sanyog.


2.30 PM

Deyani Ma’am stomps into class, an unusual behaviour for the generally cheerful teacher.. She reprimands Saurabh, furious at being alerted by the hostel staff that Saurabh had been bitten by a rat 2 days back! As per protocol he was to inform her about the same. However, he chose to ignore the incident as somewhat trivial and got the hostel staff to get him medicines. Devyani Ma’am is upset that Saurabh hadn’t shared this with her. Lately she has been feeling that Saurabh is developing ‘an attitude’, refusing to confer, confident in his own decisions . Perhaps, it is an adolescent thing she comforts herself… Saurabh cries – angry & hurt at being scolded. 5 minutes later, he went about his regular things.



3.00 PM

Under ideal circumstances, Saurabh would go to the pool and take a few laps. But in the last year, due to his ear problem, the doctor has advised him not to do so. Instead, he spends quality time working out at the gym.


4.00 PM

Saurabh goes back to class and finishes off last minute class work, before he neatly arranges his desk and gets ready to leave. Chitter chatter is heard in the corridors of the hallway as all the children step out of class and walk towards their dorm rooms.


6.00 PM

Evenings make for chill time. It’s when all students and staff get together- like late evening family time. Sometimes, Saurabh steps out of school too. Or, he watches TV- mostly when Sachin Tendulkar is playing.

7.00 PM

Early dinner is the norm at school and Saurabh loves the routine. It ensures he eats early and stays fit.

9.00 PM

The day ends with finishing pending homework. Saurabh loves reading and spends some alone time with his books.



10.00 PM Lights off.

Saurabh comes from the rural district of Sangli in Maharashtra. He was born deaf and over the years his vision started deteriorating too. 7 years ago, his parents heard of the Helen Kellar institute for the Deaf and Deafblind and were instantly convinced to send him to a place that would nurture him, mould him and equip him to have an equal standing in the world.


The transition from being Deaf to Deafblind wasn’t easy. It came with the need to understand, learn and adapt new skills. Today, after years of living amongst loving teachers, having access to a customised curriculum and living in an enabling environment, Saurabh has come a long way. He communicates fluently through tactile sign language, uses braille to write letters to his family, understands familiar words, recognises people by their silhouette and smell, travels across Mumbai himself and most importantly he dreams of what he shall grow up to be.

Saurabh aspires to take his HSC exam within the next 4 years, return home, open a grocery shop in his village, support his family, marry and live life to the fullest …his face towards the sunshine and shadows behind him.

A Day in the Life of Saurabh | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
A Day in the Life of Saurabh | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization


Kalpana – Child Protection against Diseases | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization

Till about 15 years ago, Devagram village was known for its delicious apples. The famous Kalpeshwar temple is a 30 minute trek from there. Here in the notoriously remote Urgam valley, nature has not left much for imagination, the place is, as they say ‘picture perfect’, with a gushing river, stepped valley, low hanging clouds and not so distant snow- capped mountains. People in this valley depend on agriculture and the prized Keedajadi for making a living. The place makes you feel serene, and hopeful. It infuses you with extraordinary joy.

Urgam valley is idyllic and amidst this paradise we met Kalpana, a gritty and intelligent 11-year-old girl. Kalpana Singh Negi didn’t see the fury of the Uttarakhand tsunami with her own eyes. She couldn’t because she is permanently blind. I met her at her home in Devgram village after it took me and my colleagues nearly 2 hours of driving on dangerous kutcha roads and another 45 minutes of walking on a narrow foot-trail to reach her home. Devagram is located in the picturesque but notoriously remote Urgam valley.

When Kalpana was 9 years old she complained of severe headache which didn’t abate even after 6 days. Her father who had then recently remarried took her to Srinagar for treatment in a private hospital. Arvind Negi, Kalpaná’s uncle told me that, “Doctors in Srinagar could not diagnose her illness properly and we wasted crucial time there. By the time we took her to Dehradun, Kalpana could not see and was in excruciating pain.She would cry all the time. We decided to take her to the Himalayan Institute of Medical Science in Dehradun, the doctors there diagnosed her with Tuberculous meningitis and declared her permanently blind”. This was in 2012. Since then, little Kalpana has become used to living without eyesight. When I ask her questions like, “Do you feel bad that you cannot read and write anymore?”, she grits her teeth in irritation and tersely says, “Jee, I feel bad”. I ask her another insensitive and avoidable question.“Which grade were you in when you stopped going to school?” She ignores me completely this time, and starts playing with her cousin Kanishka whom she adores a lot. Her silence wakes me out of my nonchalance.

Cradling Kanishka in her arms, she starts walking away from us. I call her and introduce myself as Daku Singh (Daku means dacoit in Hindi) –with a big beard, she smiles and stops. I am encouraged. I ask her if she would like to listen to some songs on my phone. Upbeat already, she tells me to play a recent Bollywood number- “Tu ne maari entry yaar, dil mein baji ghantiyaan”- this time, it’s me who can’t stop grinning. The ice is broken. I tell her I don’t have that song but there are several others. I feel humbled by how little Kalpana is trying to make me feel more comfortable.

Kanishka loves that ‘entry’ song”, she tells me and carries off the phone and her baby cousin towards the little garden in front of their house.

Kalpana – Child Protection against Diseases | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization

Tuberculous meningitis starts with nonspecific symptoms and is often only diagnosed when brain damage has already occurred. But if diagnosed in time the damage to the body and sensory organs can be mitigated if not prevented. In Kalpana’s case, the diagnosis was both wrong and delayed for which she paid with her eyesight. Save the Children, an NGO working for children met Kalpana in the
aftermath of the 2013 Himalayan Tsunami. The NGO helped her grandfather take Kalpana to All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi. The doctors in AIIMS also confirmed that Kalpana cannot see ever again. Kalpana had tried attending her village school which she had stopped going to because of her illness. She found it easy to navigate the broken and steep foot trails to reach the school with other children but once in school, she faced many difficulties. Like in most schools in India, the infrastructure to cater to the needs of children with special needs is abysmal in Uttarakhand as well.

In Uttarakhand, this situation is worsened by the difficult terrain as most villages are on mountains and accessible only on foot. When Kalpana had strived to continue studying with her friends despite complete loss of vision she had displayed immense will to study, but within a few months, she herself stopped going to school because the teachers were not trained to help children like her, there was sympathy but no special materials like Braille-aids to help her continue her education.

It is ironic and indescribably sad that Kalpana has been out-of-school despite being a bright kid who craves to go to school and study. The 2012-13 NCERT study on children with disabilities had revealed that while 99 per cent of these children liked attending regular schools but 57 per cent of teachers were not trained to understand their special needs.

Last June’s floods caused extensive damage to houses and washed away many fertile fields leaving the people who live in this valley cut-off from the rest of the world for almost a year. Although indirectly, since Kalpana was already declared permanently blind by doctors, poor access to already abysmal health services, did have an adverse impact on her medical treatment.

Road connectivity to Urgam valley has been restored only two months ago and it remains at the mercy of good weather. Till May this year, the only way to reach Kalpana’s village was to trek for 14 kms on a narrow mud trail. In the last one year the government has managed to build new patches of roads and clear the massive boulders that came tumbling down mountains slopes. But life remains a weary challenge for the people of her village and other communities living in Urgam valley.

For little Kalpana, life has thrown a challenge much bigger than floods. But she tells me as I say goodbye, “I am okay, don’t worry about me”. I shake her hand, mumble something half-funny and leave thinking I can’t even imagine what she goes through and yet shows so much strength and resolve. “I am sure you will be more than okay Kalpana”. (Kalpana means imagination in Hindi).

Kalpana – Child Protection against Diseases | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization

Championing (dis)ability

Photo: Gary S Chapman, Championing (dis)ability | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo: Gary S Chapman

If we have a collective responsibility to protect our children, we have an even bigger responsibility to speak out for our disabled children. People with disabilities remain one of the largest overlooked minorities in the world. According to Unicef approximately 15 percent of the world’s population, live with some form of disability and this includes around 93 million children. Children with disabilities are further marginalized and experience discrimination and widespread violations of their rights on a daily basis; often this is not just a result of their inherent impairments but because of barriers within society. In India this is compounded by poverty, lack of services and support, inadequate policy and legislation and a general hostile and apathetic environment.

It is against this backdrop that Leher profiles 5 organizations that work passionately & creatively to enrich the quality of life for children with disability. Organizations that work to ensure that their abilities are not overlooked and their capacities underestimated; that they get the education, technology support and health care they need and they are not excluded from activities in their community; Organizations that are slowly bringing in the concept of childhood in the children-disability-rights discourse.

#1 Helen Keller Institute of Deaf & Deafblind

Helen Keller Institute’s thrust is towards the community’s acceptance as a joint partnership responsibility with the child’s family and educators. The Institute has helped educate numerous Deaf and Deafblind children, since its inception in July 1977. The institute is now recognized nationally and internationally and is aided by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, New Delhi and Women, Child and Handicapped Development Office, Maharashtra. It has two separate schools – one for deaf, another for Deafblind children, and a special residential unit for Deafblind children residing outside Mumbai.

Sheela Sinha, Director, Education

“The first thing that the government can do to show its seriousness about disabled people is to pass the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill which has been pending for the last two years. Instead of seven disabilities specified in the old outdated Act, the Bill covers 19 conditions. Persons with at least 40% of a disability are entitled to certain benefits such as reservations in education and employment, preference in government schemes, etc. The Bill also confers several rights and entitlements to disabled persons. These include disabled friendly access to all public buildings, hospitals, modes of transport, polling stations, amongst others. The indifference among policy makers is such that the Bill has not even been tabled in the Parliament, then we can advocate for its proper implementation. Helen Keller Institute for the Deaf and Deafblind, is Asia’s first and Mumbai’s only such school. We were the pioneers in the field of multi-disability. We started a unique early intervention system that can identify a disability even in a month-old child. But the situation as it is today is not enabling, often we see children dropping out of our school because parents find it difficult to bring children to school once they become 5-6 years of age and mothers find it difficult to carry them, the public transport is not disabled-friendly and there is no support from the government. Helen Keller Institute will continue to provide care to children with multi-disability and struggle for enactment and implementation of the new Disabilities Bill.”

#2 Ummeed Child Development Center

To transform the way families and professionals are able to diagnose, and care for developmentally disabled children, Ummeed is a comprehensive, service-provider model that empowers families to care for their children with fewer resources and a diminished reliance on expensive doctors and therapists.

Ummeed is a landmark center where early and accurate diagnosis of development disabilities is followed by in-house professional medical and therapeutic care. Training and education programs for parents help continue proper care and therapy at home. In a medical system that rarely works in a cooperative and coordinated manner to provide the best care for patients, Ummeed provides medical and therapeutic professionals with the opportunity to work in tandem, as resident physicians, building relationships and empowering parents of children with disabilities. Ummeed’s flagship program, the Child Development Aide imparts skills to community workers that help them promote good child development practices, identify children with disabilities and teach their families simple interventions.

Dr Anjali Joshi, Director, Training

“India has 35 million estimated number of differently abled children and a very few trained therapists to provide services to them. Moreover, treatment or therapy for such children is often not covered by any insurance company. This is a big deterrent for parents who cannot afford privately owned therapy services. Therefore, we at Ummeed child development center, which is a not for profit organization are working at addressing these challenges at multiple levels.

1. To build a cadre of community workers who can offer some support to those who have access to none.

2. To train parents of children with special needs get better equipped to handle their child.

3. To support therapists across India and developing nations through advanced training programs.

The first two levels of trainings are carried out so that families of children with special needs have an access to pool of para-professionals and caregivers for early detection and intervention.”

#3 Barrier Break

Barrier Break is working with Microsoft to create a curriculum for the print-impaired to learn Windows operational system and train the staff who work with print-impaired children. They work with libraries, such as the Central Public Library in Mumbai, to make them accessible. Assistive technology like magnifiers and adapting search systems help make the process compatible with screen reading software. This helps ensure the tools for education are inclusive. Barrier Break also creates models for accessibility for people with different disabilities across sectors. For example, inclusiveness into e-space is a big endeavor that helps convert websites of organizations like All India Confederation of the Blind into accessible formats. Similarly, they have launched an online service for the visually and hearing impaired people called “Sign & Talk,” where a person can sign their message to a professional sign language translator through a webcam who will then call the required number and facilitate communication. This service provides impaired people with opportunities such as ordering food and participating in business discussions. Barrier Break is also converting animation films into disabled-friendly formats with voiceovers and translation so all children can view these and partake in their peer group’s pop culture.

Shilpi Kapoor, Founder

“Today, we are accessing more services digitally than we are in person. The push for the Digital India Campaign actually supports that stance.Even the Accessible India campaign talk of Accessible ICT & transportation, but we are missing these areas in the Accessibility Index. We need to look at Inclusion holistically. As a corporate, I might hire 10 or 1000 or even 10,000 disabled people, but your own website, mobile app, customer service is not accessible, would that be a fair look at the organization. If the disabled customer is struggling to make a payment using your website or mobile app, is that acceptable?

Let’s together build an Accessible India and include technology which can be an enabler and can empower people with disabilities to be independent in this journey.”

#4 Able Disable All People Together (ADAPT)

Able Disabled All People Together (ADAPT) – ADAPT (formerly The Spastics Society of India), was founded by Dr. Mithu Alur in 1972. It was the first special school in India for children with cerebral palsy.At a time when little was known about developmental implications, Dr. Alur set up the first model to offer treatment and education under one roof. Their services include assessment, infant stimulation, therapy, counseling, inclusive education, skills training and job placement, continuum of support services and home management programmes for children and young adults with disability. An open and vigorous society inspired by the idea that equal opportunity should translate into reality for all its citizens.ADAPT works to ensure that children have equal access to education, whether they are disadvantaged through disability, poverty or gender. ADAPT also interacts with national and international organizations in the public and private sectors along with government agencies to influence policy changes that impact marginalized groups across the country.

Mithu Alur, Founder Chairperson

“We are proud to say that we have been successful in creating a civil society movement for the disability rights in India. We were the first ones to professionalise care for disabled people in the country which till that point was understood as voluntary and not very well-planned. Nearly 60-70 million people living with disabilities are out of any kind of social security net, what I call being in the wilderness. The government needs to do a lot and fast. For us, one the main goals is to ensure that disability is included in the corporate social responsibility framework, which is not the case yet and it is an acceptable situation for us. Our model of professional care and education is scalable, I hope the government will take the necessary steps to ensure that disabled people are also seen to be having equal rights to access, life, education, health and employment.”

#5 Kilikili

Kili-Kili is an organization that is creating disabled-friendly parks across the country by strategically utilizing existing allocated funds in the government to create ingenious and cost-effective equipment which enables children of all abilities to socially interact, explore the world and reap developmental benefits such as gross and fine motor skills through play. Creating inclusive play spaces for children of all abilities, Kilikili’s purpose is an instrumental step in creating an inclusive society that does not discriminate or exclude on the basis of ability. Kilkili uses innovative approaches such as auditory equipment for blind children to play with; the Elephant Slide with bells alongside the steps that indicate each step being climbed; and wall murals, made of alphabets and numbers in English and Braille to inculcate language development alongside inclusive play. Killkili has made three public spaces in Bangalore, one in Mangalore and one in Mumbai completely inclusive for children of all abilities. Highlights include a specially-designed swing that is safe to ride for children with developmental delay.

Kavita Krishnamoorthy, Founder

“The idea behind modifying public parks to make them friendly towards children with disabilities is very simple. When you modify play equipment, not only do you create a safe space for children with disabilities you also enhance the fun element for non-disabled children. So, in a sense it is a win-win situation for everybody. The most important thing to remember is that these are the few places where disabled and non-disabled children can mingle, interact with each other. It gives children with disabilities an opportunity to make friends. How many friends do we have who are disabled? Very few in my experience. So, we want the government, municipal corporations, builder associations and resident associations to make their parks and public spaces disabled friendly, this enhances the quality of life for everybody, ramps for wheelchairs can be used for prams also. We want everybody to become sensitive about it and start implementing this in their neighbourhoods and parks.”

Teacher speak: Could your child have a disability?

Teacher Speak: Could Your Child Have A Disability? | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization

Present day medical advancements make it possible to save a large number of babies who earlier would not have survived, as a result of complications at birth. Still, many children continue to be born with various medical conditions and special needs. “At 5 months I realised that ‘something’ seemed wrong with my daughter’s eyes,” said a mother who had little knowledge on her daughter’s condition. “My child was rejecting me and always looked away when I approached. It was much later that I realised that my child was able to see only from her corner of his eye and was in fact turning his head to be able to look at me better,” said a mother who was anxious with her child’s conduct towards her. Many mothers are unaware of potential medical conditions of their children, which can be handled with expert knowledge, early intervention and support from special educators. Early intervention in particular can go a long way in ensuring that the special development needs of the child are met, emotional support is provided to the family, making social integration simpler. Children can, irrespective of their abilities and disabilities, be great contributors to society, in their own unique way. It’s how we nurture them at the start of their life that determines their outlook to their disability. It is with this intention that a team of special educators from the Helen Kellar Institute of Deaf and Deafblind based on years of experience have put together some guidance, which would help indicate if a child is at risk of having a disability. A high risk baby is one who has greater chances of being developmentally delayed or having vision, hearing, loco motor related and/or other neuromuscular challenges.

  • Was your baby prematurely born? i.e. born before completing 37 weeks of gestational period. These risks are greater in case the baby is born earlier, e.g at 32 weeks, 28 weeks and so on.
  • Did your baby have low birth weight? The average weight of an Indian baby at the time of birth should be somewhere around 2.5 kg to 2.9 kg. Babies weighing less than 2.5 kg may also face developmental, vision, hearing, loco motor challenges.
  • Did your baby have a delayed cry? i.e. did not cry immediately after birth
  • Did your baby have to be given oxygen or be kept in an incubator after birth?
  • Did your baby have an epileptic seizure or severe jaundice during the first few weeks after birth?
  • Did your baby feed normally after birth (either mother’s milk or outside milk)?
  • If a child does not accept milk for a long time and appropriate measure is not taken then the child might develop Hypoglycaemia (lack of glucose in blood) leading to a seizure and brain damage. This in turn will lead to serious developmental issues.
  • Hypoglycaemia can also occur after birth in case of babies born to diabetic mothers.
  • As your baby grows do you find that he/she:
    • Does not smile back or have eye contact when you talk to her
    • Does not look in your direction or follow you when you move around her without making any noise
    • Does not make an effort to reach out to colourful/shiny things hung or kept in front
    • Lowers, squints or closes her eyes when in direct sunlight or in a brightly lit space
    • Gets eye infection or reddening of eyes frequently
    • Bangs into/tumbles over things often while walking or crawling
    • Refuses to go to dimly lit areas in the house alone
    • Has a squint
    • Does not startle, quietens or looks in the direction of loud sounds like banging of the door, mixer grinder, cooker whistle, sound of a vehicle etc.
    • Does not respond to name calling in any way ( smiling or turning towards you)
    • Takes toys or colourful things very close to their eyes or keeps bending low over them

If any of the above is true then consult your DOCTOR or take your child to a paediatric hospital as soon as possible.

Teacher Speak: Could Your Child Have A Disability? | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization