It has now been a few months since my relocation from London to Delhi. I am asked often what prompted this unexpected move and now that I am here, what am I keeping myself busy with. So, I write this first blog to shed some light on just that for friends, old and new.
For those who have known me for some time, you likely know that my brother Vishal is intellectually differently abled. Through my twenties and thirties, as my life has been graced with opportunities and a bouquet of rich and diverse experiences, I have become increasingly conscious of how differently my brother’s life is shaping up despite the best of efforts from our parents, family and extended network. Starting early on, with a serious lack of quality facilities providing access to education, healthcare, therapy, and going into adult life to experiencing a lack of occupational opportunities as well as social engagement opportunities, it is disheartening to see how little potential there is for our differently abled peers to lead a full and fulfilling life.
Early 2018, as I started studying this space to expand my hitherto anecdotal view of this need area in India, I was encouraged to see some great work on the ground, undertaken by fabulous organisations, but an interesting trend emerged.
1. Often these organisations were founded by families of the differently abled in a bid to help their loved ones and those in the same position, ie, driven by a personal experience of inadequate facilities.
2. Also, often these organisations grow to a certain scale and plateau there.
3. Finally, they tend to be concentrated in the tier 1 cities based on my initial desk research.
I got increasingly more curious about why this space is so underserved in India despite there being a huge need and some fabulous effort by so many fantastic individuals, groups and organisations to solve for this need.
Driven by this curiosity to understand this need gap, and explore solutions to bridge this gap, I packed my bags and moved to India! I wanted to learn, and for the last few months, that is exactly what I have been doing – meeting parents, schools, therapists, service providers, other related organisations, employers and meeting the special folk across all sorts of settings.. Each day I hear a story that inspires me, that humbles me, that breaks my heart a bit but in each case, also motivates me to walk this path.. And through these early days, as I learn about this space, I am also seeing Sarvodya, my attempt to bring my passion project into the mainstream, come to life.
Welcome to Sarvodya – join the conversation here!