Herald: Ashadeep: Infusing HOPE for a better tomorrow
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Ashadeep: Infusing HOPE for a better tomorrow

19 Nov 2017 04:52am IST

Report by
RAHUL CHANDAWARKAR

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19 Nov 2017 04:52am IST

Report by
RAHUL CHANDAWARKAR

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Delighted at the selection of two students for a nine-week bakery training course at a five-star hotel, the mood at Ashadeep Vocational Centre is upbeat. Teachers are optimistic that more and more organisations will recognise their enthusiasm and provide them opportunities. RAHUL CHANDAWARKAR spends some time at the institute and finds out more

High-fives were exchanged amidst loud cheers in the vocational centre of the New Dawn Ashadeep Special School at Headland Sada, Mormugao as I walked in last week. The news too was certainly worth cheering – in a first for the school, two young persons with disabilities (PWDs) had been selected to undergo a nine-week vocational bakery course in a prominent five-star hotel. 

This recent development comes close on the heels of three, young PWDs from the Gujarati Samaj , a special school in Margao, gaining mainstream employment in offices and factories across South Goa recently ( Herald, October 15).

As special educators from these vocational centres will tell you, the sole objective of such centres is to secure gainful employment for the PWDs under their care and training. Fortunately, corporate and industrial Goa seems to be waking up to the possibilities of employing PWDs in their ranks, a trend which is common place in larger metros like Pune and Mumbai in western India. 

Prakash Kapri, one of the selected youth was naturally elated, when asked for his comments. “I have been at this school for many years and have learnt to make files, festival lanterns and operating a photocopier. I am very happy to get this opportunity to train in a five star hotel. I want to become a chef.”

Similar views were expressed by his batch mate, Gaurish Nakade. “I am very happy to get selected to work in a bakery at this reputed hotel. I hope to get a job in a hotel very soon.” 

Ashadeep Vocational Centre teachers, Amarjit Raut and Harish Chodankar seemed very happy with the latest development. “Our main objective is to seek employment for our PWD youth in the job market. PWDs are extremely good at repetitive jobs like packaging and handling etc. They do not get easily distracted and are very focussed. They are very useful as office assistants in any commercial establishment,” the teachers pointed out.

The Vocational Centre is housed in a spacious hall, with a separate men’s and women’s wing. There a total of 28 young PWDS (18 men and 10  women, aged between the ages of 18-25 being trained here). They are taught packing, bag-making ( from cloth and newspapers), candle-making, manufacturing office files, folders, making greeting cards, raakhis and festive lanterns. The youth travel to the school in the two, school buses and work at their craft between 815am and 1:15pm, six days a week. 

 “A majority of the youth are intellectually disabled, but they are very diligent and hard working,” says special educator Shradha Juvekar. According him, the centre sold a record 6,000 Diwali diyas this season and have regular orders for greetings cards and office files and folders. “All income earned in the centre is equally distributed among the students. This motivates and inspires them,” Juvekar said.

The good news is that Ashadeep youth are actually gaining employment in the local industry. Two youth, namely, Gaurish Kambli and Prajit Halankar have secured jobs as helper in a printing press and as a delivery boy recently. 

According to Ashadeep headmistress Vinny Fernandes, the school has sought the NGO Sangath’s assistance to connect with the industry to gain employment for their youth. 

“It is important that our youth get jobs. It raises their self-esteem and provides them with the much needed income. We are hoping more Goan companies wake up to the possibility of employing our youth,” she emphasised.

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