In India, almost 70% of the population resides in rural areas. They are away from the metro cities, living with bare minimum needs and even less provisions.
After successfully initiating SVRR in the urban area, Smt. Nandiniben Divatia hoped to start a similar undertaking in the backward and rural areas.The Managing Committee decided to impart vocational training to all types of handicapped. For this purpose, the foundation approached NABARD. With their assistance, Rural Project was inaugurated on 2nd October 1997 at Sakwar village of Thane District. RAMKRISHNA MISSION MEDICAL CENTRE AT SAKWAR provided all its assistance by way of giving space in their Centre to start a workshop. This workshop was later named to Smt. Nandini P. Divatia Rural Rehabilitation Centre. At Ramkrishna Mission our centre was functioning from 1997 till 2010. These 13 years at Ramkrishana Mission was base centre for our Rural Project.
Due to lack of transportation, many handicapped individuals from the interiors were unable to visit our workshop. So, we organized a mini bus, completely fitted with a small loom and sewing machine, which can go door to door to train the handicapped individuals. The State Bank of India donated this Mini Bus.
SVRR had begun operating a rural center at Durvesh in Taluka Vasai. Here the individuals were trained and provided assisted guidance for 4 years. Then, SVRR shifted to a new center at Maswan in TalukaPalghar, in order to train all types of handicapped persons in the nearby Adivasi areas.
In 2010, a mentally challenged residential institution –“NirdharPratisthan” at Village-Tokare- Kaner in Palghar district, invited SVRR to provide vocational training for their mentally challenged adult individuals. By accepting their invitation, SVRR started a Vocational Training Centre. Currently, there are approximately 30 individuals being trained at this centre.
In 2013, Shri Amar BhaskarPawar of “Baba BhaskarVruddhashram” at Village Sakwar in Taluka Vasai of District Palghar voluntarily came forward and provided space to SVRR to start Vocational Training Centre for all types of Handicapped. Thus so far more than one Vocational Training Centre was started.
At SVRR we impart training to improve the capacity of mentally challenged individuals, they have to be trained and given assisted guidance in a community setting, in order to mark a difference in their behavior and attitude.
The individuals are introduced to concepts of time, and color. They are trained in matters of dressing, personal hygiene, eating, etc.
At SVRR, we accept that each individual has different learning capacity. Therefore, we have built a simple module without using electrical or numerical equipment.
We impart vocational training in 4 sections, namely, Cardboard Section, Weaving Section, Tailoring Section and Handicraft-cum-general assembly Section. We try our best to impart training in all Sections to a trainee. Initially, we find out his liking and place him in the section where he finds himself comfortable. After every 3 to 4 months we change their section.
We have trained, dedicated and experienced teachers for all these activities. They are perfectly capable of handling and providing guidance to mentally challenged trainees.
It is said that all work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy. Similarly, sheerly on the basis of training alone, we cannot hope to achieve results. Social, cultural and sports activities too,are organized, in order to completely develop interpersonal skills and also learn how to be a part of the society.
At SVRR we endeavor to see that the trainees possess good health, hygiene and personality. For good heath we provide them healthy and balanced lunch day every day. We also provide them a set of uniform with shoes and socks.
Our day starts with a prayer followed by Yoga. This freshens their minds and body. We employ a trained ‘yoga’ teacher in our staff.
We take them on excursions and picnics, to provide them opportunities to develop social behavior skills and ways to interact with the outside world. In 2013, we took them for 3 days / 2 night picnic to Mahabaleshwar & Panchgani.
The individuals need to be conversant with culture and etiquette, being the part of our society. We celebrate most of the festivals at the training center. I. E. Raksha Bandhan, Ganesh Festival, Navratri, Diwali, Christmas and also Independence Day & Republic Day.
Some trainees are good at dancing and singing. Hence we have started Music classes, where renowned Musician Shri Hridaynath Merchant gives them lesson on vocal singing and instrumental music. We also participate in various competitions. This brings out amazing results. The public performances helps their behavior in public and boost their confidence.
Each individual has to be physically fit. Our trainees regularly play cricket and carom during lunch hours. They also regularly participate in cricket tournaments. They also participates in various athletic meets organised by Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs etc. one of trainees had represented India in “Shot put” at Special Olympics held in China in the year 2007 and won a bronze medal.
We wish to coach them in various others sports and are planning to arrange a sports teacher.
Most difficult task for SVRR is the rehabilitation of Mentally Challenged people. Still there is not enough awareness in the society that Mentally Challenged person can achieve goal and deliver equal amount of work when compared with normal person. Yes, it is a fact, there are limitations for type of work a Mentally Challenged can handle. But there are several jobs which require minimum skill and a Mentally Challenged can be easily employed for such jobs. They work sincerely to complete the production targets. We hope, a time will come, when society will realize their capacity and good days will come in the life of Mentally Challenged.
Post completing their vocational training, we encourage them to seek employment as telephone operators, gas station attendant, working in libraries, in offices, in shops etc. Some individuals opt for self-employment, wherein we aid the setup of their enterprise and check its feasibility. Also, many individuals who were trained at the Center opt to seek employment at SVRR itself. A classic example is one of our ex trainees Mr. Rajesh Parmar who has been employed by SVRR for last several years. We are very proud to inform that he is recipient of National and State Award.
We give stipend regularly to all trainees on the basis of production and their attendance this gives them incentive and encouragement.
We urge is to grow and reach out to each and every differently abled person, in India as well as globally. We aim to create an interactive real-time communication to link the mentally challenged persons with their parents, mentors, guardians, friends and the society. We aim to prove that to be someone with lesser ability does not make you a lesser human being.
While the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has been kind enough to provide us space from time to time, this space is not enough to carry out all our activities and accommodate all our trainees. We have been provided 6 rooms (area about 2500 Sq. ft. ) at Tardeo Municipal School Building at Bane Compound, Tardeo. This curbs our plans to expand and grow. Our future plans are to have our own premises. However, this requires huge funds, also the day-to-day functioning of our institute cost a lot.