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Times of India
02 December 2010
By Ashish Tripathi
Lucknow, India

Shelter Home for Mentally Retarded Destitute Kids
The city and the state finally has a government supported shelter home exclusively for mentally retarded (MR) and multi–disabled destitute children, the cause TOI has been pursuing for the last one–and–a–half years.

The home will be funded by the state government and services will be provided by the Drishti Samajik Sansthan (DSS), a non–government–organisation (NGO). The home has space for 50 destitute, with separate sections for girls and boys below 18 years.

The home has required expertise and techniques to help MR and multi–disabled acquire survival skills. The government will give Rs 2200 per destitute per month. A sum of Rs 3.6 lakh has been released as the first instalment.

People can contact the home directly if they come across MR or multi–disabled destitute below 18 years. "If successful, the concept can be extended to other districts," said director, disabled welfare, AK Dwivedi.

However, he said, the mandate of the disabled welfare department is only to provide training and education to the disabled and running shelter homes fall in the domain of the women and child welfare department and the social welfare department.

Destitute Rinku with the governor Destitute Rinku with the governor
At present, destitute children with disability are kept in the orphanages for ‘ordinary children’ where there is nothing to help learn survival skills. As a result, they lead a miserable life.

The issue got prominence after Rinku, a 5–year–old multi–disabled boy, who was blind, partially deaf and mentally retarded, was found abandoned at the Charbagh railway station in 2008. He was saved by an NGO but homes run by the government and other NGOs refused to admit him.

The boy initially got shelter in Shishu Grih at Prag Narain Road and later was adopted by the Drishti Samajik Sansthan. Rinku could not even stand and speak but within six months he learnt to communicate and support himself.

On August 15, 2009, he walked into the Raj Bhawan to take part in a function and shook hands with the governor. Rinku’s case shook the conscience of many. The high court took serious view of the lapse and directed the government to arrange shelter homes.

Vinod Chandra, member Child Welfare Committee, Lucknow, said the move of the state government to run a shelter home for MR destitute in partnership with an NGO is a welcome step but the state and the city needs more disability specific shelter homes for visually and physically challenged child destitute, particularly in the light of the fact that abandonment of babies born with disability by parents has increased sharply in last couple of years.

Hope Shines
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