OUR CHANGEMAKERS - PULOMA SHAH
It has been more than 20 years since I have been associated with Muskaan and it has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life. Started as a vocational training centre by a small group of parents in a garage, facing many obstacles and hindrances in its path, today it is one of the most sought after institutions for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It is their indomitable spirit and unquenchable urge to do something for mankind that needs to be saluted. Muskaan has amazing people who work with a missionary zeal. The sincerity, compassion, patience and dedication runs deep in every member of the organization. Their nurturing and inspiring role creates a deep impact on the students which make them confident and empowered. Today Muskaan is not only a vocational training centre but it is a movement for advocacy of rights of people with intellectual disabilities. It aims at mainstreaming this marginalized group through social justice, equality, 6 empowerment and dignity. This is a quintessential example of how community organization and social action can overcome the stigma and prejudices of society. Its success model shows that how people with dedication, faith and sincerity, who are fighting for a common cause can create a miracle through collectivism. If Tagore’s Shanti Niketan is the abode of innovative learning, Muskaan is the abode of enabling and empowering environment for the people with intellectual disabilities.