Self-esteem and Dignity for the Disabled
N Madhavan 02 April 2015
MBA Foundation tries to ensure that differently-abled individuals too achieve as normal a life as possible; meeting that objective is a huge challenge
Meenakshi Balasubramanian, mother of a dyslexic and slightly spastic son, was troubled by the nagging question that haunts parents with differently-abled children, “after us what?” The answer is to try and create a world that allows them access to the required facilities for rehabilitation, to help them live with dignity and self-esteem. She set up MBA (Mutually Beneficial Activities) Foundation to work with the sole aim of encouraging and empowering such individuals to become confident and self-sufficient. 
After long discussions with her husband, CR Balasubramanian, she worked out a plan, in her own mind to find ways of ensuring a worthy life for those who cannot take up mainstream employment because of their disabilities. Thus was born the MBA Foundation in 2001, in Mumbai. 
Ms Balasubramaniam’s background helped. She is an MCom and BEd and had been working for rehabilitating the disabled. She was the executive director for training with the Spastics Society of India from 1992 to 2004. She won the National Helen Keller award by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment of Disabled Persons in 2000.
MBA Foundation established its first centre at Chembur in 2002 to offer day-care and life-care support. Since then, the Foundation has expanded its reach to more people with disabilities through three more centres in Powai, Gorai and Thane (all Mumbai suburbs). The staff ensures quality service to the beneficiaries and their parents/guardians.
Special educators train the beneficiaries in different areas according to their age and capabilities. After the initial assessment, children up to the age of 11 years undergo early childhood intervention; children between 12-17 years of age undergo pre-vocational training; individuals above 18 years receive training in different vocational skills. After training, they make a variety of products in MBA’s sheltered work centres. These are sold at exhibitions and events held in different places. These activities make them self-employed and confident. Some of the beneficiaries, who are capable of working outside are placed in mainstream employment too by MBA staff. One such case is that of Sneha Achrekar, for whom a 9 to 5 job would change her life. She is employed with Aurionpro in Powai, Mumbai and is also happily married.
MBA Foundation also tries to integrate itself with the neighbourhood it works in. The schools, colleges, hospitals, social organisations and companies in the surrounding areas of its centres are sensitised through regular programmes, events, assessment camps, health check-ups, workshops and seminars, which are organised by the Foundation. Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital supports them with respect to the medical needs for all beneficiaries with annual check-up and follow-up treatment.
Many housewives and retired people volunteer their time with the beneficiaries to teach them, helping in one-to-one needs, enjoying a day with them, sponsoring an underprivileged child, taking them for a movie/ to the garden, etc. Students from management colleges in Mumbai, mass media studies and social work approach MBA Foundation regularly for social projects.
MBA Foundation has made significant progress in more than a decade and proudly says, “We have planned a totally disabled-friendly integrated care services centre at Airoli, Navi Mumbai,” to accommodate more children. The project cost, on completion, will be around Rs5.5 crore. 
MBA Foundation welcomes volunteers and donations. Donations are eligible for tax benefit under Section 80-G of the Income Tax Act 1961. 
MBA Foundation
Gods Heavens, Crystal Palace Complex, 
Rambaug, Powai, Mumbai - 400 072.
Tel: 022-28576972 / 28574456 / 25234752 / 69901462
Email: [email protected]     


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