Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

No Higher Cause

Saima introduces us to one of the brightest "stars of hope" for mentally and physically challenged children in Kashmir - the Chotay Taray Foundation (CTF)

(Ms. Saima Qayoom, 24, was born in Srinagar. She passed her 10+2 grade from Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (CBSE). She completed her Diploma in Rehabilitation Therapy under the Ministry of Social Justice And Empowerment in 2008 and then completed the Bachelor’s in Arts from Women’s Degree College M.A. Road Srinagar in 2011 In the same year she was appointed as an Special Educator in a Special School cum Rehabilitation centre namely Chotay Taray Foundation and completed B.ED From Kashmir University through Distance mode. Presently she is pursuing post graduate degree in Psychology from Indra Gandhi National Open University. Still she is involved in the Rehabilitation of the special children and was promoted as Administrative Officer from Senior Special Educator.)

Mental Retardation in Kashmir

 hen a petal of the rose falls down, we still call it a rose. Though many leaves fall from the tree, we still go to the tree and enjoy its shade. When this is the case, why should we isolate a human being when he loses a faculty of his body or is challenged congenitally. The society should learn a lesson from the nature and try to understand that a person with disability is a human being too. The famous Helen Keller states that the most unfortunate person in the society is one who has sight but no vision. For understanding the abilities of the persons with disabilities one should have a broad vision of humanistic values.

Disability is a universal cause. However, if we focus on the persons with disability in the state of Jammu & Kashmir we will understand it is one of the most neglected groups due to lack of facilities and Rehabilitation programs for them, and from last 20 years the ratio of Disability is at the alarming rate because of the undue circumstances in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In this regard Chotay Taray Foundation (CTF) is an organization working for Mentally and Physically Challenged Children in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. We are working since 5th May 2003 and in November, 2006 our organization was registered under the Societies Registration Act, VI of 1998. It aims for the Rehabilitation of children with Multiple Disabilities including those having Mental Retardation, Cerebral Palsy, and Autism etc. These children are provided with special education, health facilities and vocational training as per their requirements. Currently CTF is catering to the needs of 60 children belonging to various communities. In addition to this we also work on 9 field areas in which 8 areas are in district Srinagar and 1 area is in district Budgam, where we work for overall development of children both differently able and normal children.

Our Vision:

We want to assist and develop differently able children in such a way that the roots of their dependency are uprooted so that they can live like other normal children independent of others. We also want to make people realize that such children are not an encumbrance on the society instead they can contribute equally towards the society. We also want to see our society develop in such a way that they perceive no discrimination between two children on the basis of their mental and physical attributes. We want that these children should be loved and respected in the society.

We strive for the:

• Right to development
• Right to education
• Right to participation
• Right to protection

We not only Rehabilitate the Special Children but also strive to prevent the Disabilities at very early stages by orienting the pregnant mothers, nursing mothers and the ICDS workers that how they can identify the signs of Disability at very beginning so, that their Rehabilitation may commence at that very stage which will prevent further deterioration. In addition, parent workshops, parent-Teacher meetings community meetings are held once in every month for involving the parents in the Rehabilitation regime of their wards. Teacher Training Programmes are conducted in association with Sarva Sikhsha Abhivan for training the Teachers of Government and Private schools, how to deal with the special children if enrolled within the school. Consultation meetings are held with different Stake holders in order to address the issue of Disability at the higher levels because Disability is the only issue that is being denied in the state and this very section is being considered as the weaker section of our society.

The rate of Disability is terrifyingly increasing day by day and no such steps are being taken to curb this burning issue. No doubt, Chotay Taray is delivering its services to the needful but to the limited areas because of the limited funds and resources as it is an organization which runs on the local donations, Sadqa Zakat what about other/far flung areas where Chotay Taray cannot reach out. So, let’s join hands to curb this menace by making the people aware about the different issues of Disability as the only thing that the people suffers from is “The lack of Awareness”.


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