FOD was founded in 1992, by Rajinder Johar, an occupational therapist. In the year 1986, he became the victim of a gun-shot injury. The bullet hit his spinal cord paralysing his limbs. Doctors declared him 100 per cent disabled and since then he is confined to his bed. A few years later, he formed Family of Disabled and registered it as a public charitable trust with the help of his brother.
FOD started with sensitising people about the disabled and issues related to them, through a newsmagazine ‘The Voice of FOD’.
Family of Disabled is committed to improve the living conditions of people with disabilities by:
Developing appropriate opportunities and means to persons with disabilities, and especially from poor socio-economic background Developing skills and capacities of persons with disabilities and enabling them to realise their potential and latent talents Creating awareness and sensitising the masses about various aspects of disabili.
What the law says?
The Persons with Disabilities Act 1995 (PWD Act-Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) promotes the integration of disabled children into normal schools. The Act envisages a comprehensive scheme with transport facilities, free books, uniforms and other materials, schools without architectural barriers that provide a restructured curriculum, a modified examination system as well as scholarships for the benefit of these children.
But despite government provision to provide free education to disabled children under the age of 18, less than one per cent of disabled children have access to education.
Unfortunately, neither parents nor the society encourages the education of disabled children. The condition is worse if the family is economically weak or if the child is a girl.
Smile Foundation’s association with Gyan Path
FOD is committed to improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities and their families. It is therefore motivated to empower children with disabilities or children of parents with disabilities, especially the girl child, with knowledge and learning through regular and quality school education.
Smile Foundation joined hands with FOD in 2009 to support the Gyan Path programme under the Mission Education programme. The project aims at strengthening the disabled by educating them and making them self sustainable in future.
Through the Gyan Path programme, FOD and Smile Foundation ensure the cost of school education (fees, uniform, books and stationery), which often becomes a hindrance for children with disabilities. The programme also caters to children of parents with disabilities. It identifies the deserving children, sponsors their education and also monitors their performance. FOD identifies schools approachable and accessible to the child, and sensitises its management to enroll the child.
The organisation started the programme in 2007, but due to lack of resources, it was not able to run it effectively. Smile Foundation’s association with FOD aims at educating more number of disabled children and children with disability.