works towards educational equity in India by building inclusive learning content accessible to children with learning disabilities and special needs. GMSP recognises the importance not only of increasing the education and skill levels of those with special needs, but also changing the perception of society towards them. Thus, GMSP supports the development of a special needs curriculum with the aim of bringing special needs children into mainstream society. In addition, GMSP supports their vocational programme that works to help teenagers and young adults secure a job.
children reached in
two Indian states by 2018
Early life experiences cast a long shadow. Poverty, disability and poor education play a huge role in determining a child’s life chances. In India, those with special needs face a particularly difficult challenge in accessing quality education because mainstream schools do not have a standardised learning curriculum to address individual educational needs.
At least 50 per cent of India’s children have learning lags. They include those with developmental disabilities, but also children from disadvantaged backgrounds and from marginalised communities.
Experts agree that children who struggle with learning at the early stages rarely catch up on their own. Special education interventions in India are expensive and difficult to access.
In some parts of India, particularly in rural areas, girls’ education is low on a family’s list of priorities due to economic circumstances or cultural norms. Girls with disabilities face double the disadvantage.
In Mumbai, Sol’s ARC runs a school that delivers standardised learning material and a structured life skills programme for children with special educational needs. The adjoining Therapy Centre creates customised therapy programmes to support children’s physical, cognitive and social development.
Through its partnership initiative, Special Edge, Sol’s ARC trains teachers to identify learning lags, understand their reasons through a manual and app-based screening tool, and apply learning methodology in the classroom. Sol’s ARC has partnered with government, schools and other NGOs to scale the programme.
Sol’s ARC’s Pathways programme is a three-year vocational degree for young adults with special needs, providing work experience and employment opportunities in the food, information technology, education and retail industries.