2011 census shows 13.5 lakhs Indian suffer from mental retardation (MR). The chance of having mental retardation is high in children and youth (age group, 10-19, 0-5 years). Most of these children and youth do not live to see their 40th birthday. Many of them have various additional disabilities like, Down ’s syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, microcephalus, hydrocephalus etc. According to UNICEF 30 % of child and youth in the street are disabled, a significant percentage suffers from mental disabilities. These unfortunate children are soft target for child labour, mental and physical abuse and trafficking.
Apanjan started in 1999 responding to the rehabilitation need of the mentally challenged children all of them with severe learning difficulties. Starting with 3 children, the initiative now aids more than 250 children. The project now is divided in three units: Residential, Day Care and Out Patient facility. At present, we have 8 girls and 48 boys in the residential facility. The children are mostly from semi-urban and rural areas of Kolkata, Howrah, Hooghly, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Burdwan, Bankura, Murshidabad and all other neighboring districts including northern parts of West Bengal.
Through Apanjan, children in all three units get special education, speech therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. Through these facilities, we try to ensure a better quality of life for these kids that can empower them to face practical challenges. Most of the children are been trained to develop personal and social skills they need in their daily life. Adolescent boys and girls go through exhaustive vocational training supported by Japan Government. Some of them are now earning their living.
These are developmentally challenged children with no one to take care of and no place to stay. We go a mile further to provide all of them shelter, nutrition and medical attention.