Umed Pariwar of Pune works for the welfare of those affected by disabilities like mental retardation and cerebral palsy
“The year was 1990. A group of parents like us used to go to KEM Hospital for the treatment of our children. Frustrated, helpless, we really wanted a way out for our children and for ourselves. That is when the idea of starting a cooperative centre was born. Our objective was to provide total care to children (like ours) including prevention, early intervention, training, education, re-training, research and total rehabilitation. There was no point in hoping that the government would do something,” recalls Rajendra Nahar, a founder trustee of Umed Pariwar.
What began with just periodic meetings of parents of differently-abled children gradually grew into an active association of parents. It then morphed into Umed Pariwar with the original group of parents as its founder trustees. Initially, it was more of a residential vocational training centre. Over the years, there has been recognition of the NGO’s efforts. Umed Pariwar was awarded ‘The Best Parents Association in India’ in 1996, by Rehabilitation Council of India. Mr Nahar proudly says, “We have rallied support on all-India basis and got ‘Mentally Challenged’ included in Income Tax Act Section 80DD for the benefit of parents of such special children.”
In the past 24 years, Umed Pariwar’s activities for rehabilitation of mentally challenged persons include: holding medical camps, annual drawing competition, conferences related to issues faced by these children and various other events and celebrations.
Umed Pariwar’s vision is to provide world-class infrastructure for total rehabilitation of mentally handicapped and cerebral palsy persons, to give them their rightful status in society and to improve their quality of life through research, training and re-training.
Its most ambitious project is Arvind Saurabh– literally translated, it means to lotus fragrance. It is a residential rehabilitation centre/ facility spread over 10 acres in Pune that will eventually accommodate over 100 differently-abled individuals. The land was donated by Madhuritai Chitale and family. The centre will have facilities like workshops, therapy centres, special area for recreational and sporting activities, hydrotherapy centre and amphitheatre. It will cater to the children through their lives, even after the parents are no more.
The total funds requirement for Arvind Saurabh is Rs9 crore of which Rs2.50 crore is for the first phase. Of this, Umed Pariwar has already completed work costing Rs2 crore.
Donations are being collected for the remaining Rs50 lakh to complete the balance work.
Its website lists the many ways in which you can contribute to this wonderful project, in cash or kind, including help set up rainwater harvesting, a laundry, donate books, games, toys, biogas plant, security systems, DG sets, windmills, inverters, etc. You can also help by campaigning for Umed Pariwar, sponsoring an event and volunteering.
As for the mind-set of the differently-abled individuals and their parents, Mr Nahar explains, “A dream you dream alone is only a dream, a dream you dream together is a reality. We dreamt together 22 years ago and it is slowly taking shape in the form of Umed Pariwar. As the name rightly suggests, we are a pariwar or family—caring, nurturing, supporting and giving umed or hope to people who are differently-abled. Our community comprises individuals, who have limitations in their lives but not in their dreams. Challenges that come, big and small, do not stop them from making the best of life.”
Donors will get tax deduction benefit under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act. You can plant a sapling in the name of a loved one as part of the Chaitraban project. Or you can spread the word!
"Shanti Complex", Flat No.4, 2nd Floor, 428/B,
New Mangalwar Peth, Narpatgiri Chowk, Pune - 411 011
Email: [email protected]