Shree Navchetan Andhjan Mandal

Serving the disabled in the far-flung villages of Kutch

My visit to the Bhuj-based Shree Navchetan Andhjan Mandal (SNAM) started off with an interaction with the staff at their recording unit cum Braille press. While Saraswati was typing out English textbooks that would be converted into audio books using JAWS software, once done; Komal was converting audio tapes into Braille. The efforts of both girls, over the past 2-3 years, has helped fill SNAM’s library with 600 titles, especially for the visually impaired.

Yes, SNAM has a surprisingly well-stocked library for the blind. There’s about 2,000 books in English, Hindi, Gujarati and Sanskrit for the children to borrow.

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How it all began

The primary force behind Shree Navchetan Andhjan Mandal is Mr. Laljibhai M Prajapati. A native of Bachchau, Mr. Laljibhai lost his eyesight at a young age, soon after he completed his SSC/standard 10 examinations. All he knows is that the loss was due to some sort of a nerve dysfunction, which was hard to detect and correct back in the day. He went on to become a Government-hired music teacher; and it was during this time that he started thinking a lot about visually-impaired people and their career options.

His primary concern arose from the fact that he being musically-inclined.

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A glimpse into the lives changed

“My son has improved alot after being trained here. Earlier, he was not even toilet trained; but he has improved alot since,” says a parent of a special child. Another parents says, “When my son was six months old, I realised that he was deaf; and after four years felt he is dumb as well. He became irritated and even shunted home work, but since I put him with Navchetan, his personality has changed and his behaviour has become normal.”

But it isn’t only children whom Shree Navchetan Andhjan Mandal is helping.

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Volunteering Opportunities

Given that Shree Navchetan Andhjan Mandal (SNAM) is a Gujarati-medium school, the children are most comfortable speaking in Gujarati. So unless you speak Gujarati fluently too, it will be difficult to engage in any kind of activity with the children. If keen, do get in touch with Deepakbhai at:

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Recognition

The organisation has received:

• The National Award – 2003 for the Best Employer to persons with disabilities

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