Aarti works with children with disabilities in our Navchetan center, in a slum in Jaipur, in India. She chose this job because, as she said, it allows her to be at the service of the neediest people. We report here her interview as she explains all miracles she was witness to.
Aarti is one of our Community Based Rehabilitators, she works in Jawahar Nagar slum, where she lives, at the service of families with a child with disability. She started working in Navchetan in 2019 and since then she helped more than 50 families to fight for their rights, getting certificates and obtaining pensions and other aids. She also leads a class of special education for children in primary age who attend our center. She still was a teenager when she started to work with us, 19 years old, and now she is a determined woman who also entered the school for special education that she will attend thanks to her own salary. She decided to study more in order to make her job more effective.
Here her witnessing:
“My name is Aarti, I am 23 years old and I met Navchetan when I was only 19, in June 2019. My sister told me about a new job opportunity and I registered for an interview. When sr Divya told me about the center and the kind of work they were proposing I immediately thought that it was not only a job opportunity but a real chance to serve the most fragile people: children with disability.
Before my arrival other 2 people got recruited, but they left in less than a month because they couldn’t handle this kind of children. I immediately asked why and so sisters answered me that I would be needed to do anything: cleaning them, bringing them and to meet any need they have. Therefore they asked me if I was feeling to start this job or not, I accepted the job saying that I was ready for everything.
I got immediately inspired by the work and commitment of sisters towards children. During these years I really saw concrete miracles. For example Sachin and Naman at the beginning couldn’t even grab food, now they eat autonomously and eat with a spoon or drink with a glass, Sachin even started to walk recently!
When I go to visit families at home I always tell them about all children achievements and progress in order to make them motivated and get their interest in involving children in our program, helping them make improvements in their life.
I regularly visit all children families and they are all enthusiastic of progresses their children have achieved during these years. I support families in order to get disability’s certificate and obtain in this way public aids, I am really proud of my work because now all people in the slum respect me.
At the beginning I was a bit afraid but sisters helped me and slowly showed me how to do everything, in few months I became autonomous in my work. Now almost all children got a certificate, some of them were not even registered at birth! It was as if they didn’t even exist for the government, now they are receiving a pension!
We meet some difficulties, of course, especially for the distance from the slum to the center, so some parents get worried sending their children, but most of them send them anyway because they can see how it is acting good on them.
Most troubled situations are when in one family there is one or both parents with some disability, often mental, and so it becomes hard to work effectively with their children.
I am very happy about this job because I was witness of real miracles and see children’s progresses thorough the years. Before working for Navchetan I never went out from the slum, I was always at home being afraid of going out, now I go everywhere in the city and I am confident in my work and support families going in hospitals, public offices and so on.
Coming to the center I also discovered what is special education and I got admitted to the school of special education in Jaipur. So I will become more competent and more effective in doing my work helping those children more and more.”
We only can thank Aarti and consider that we are very lucky for having found such a precious resource inside the slum, a person ready to be at the service of most fragile people.