With the Blessings of our 10th Mathadhipati Parama Pujya Parijnanshram Swamiji III and to fulfil His Sankalpa of helping the poor and needy in as many ways as possible, the Shree Trust was started on December 2, 1981 (by Shri Nalkur Sripad Rao and a few other like-minded devotees. Shri N.S.Rao supported the financial and managerial resources of the Trust for nearly three decades.)
One of the first major projects of Shree Trust was the establishment of SPEVC – the Swami Parijnanashram Educational and Vocational Centre for the Handicapped at Bolinj, near Virar, Mumbai. Our present Mathadhipati Parama Pujya Sadyojat Shankarashram Swamiji is supporting this institution, plus all the other philanthropic activities initiated by Guru Swami to bring some sunshine into the lives of the less fortunate in and around Karla.
A charitable clinic which dispenses free consultations and medicines at the Karla Math where patients come from all the neighbouring villages.
Frequent medical camps like eye-camps, blood donation and cancer-detection camps are held, wherein a team of qualified doctors and nurses attend to hundreds of villagers and dispense free medicines. At eye camps patients get free spectacles and those requiring cataract removal are taken for free surgery to H.V Desai Eye Hospital, Pune. In 2016-17, 412 patients were examined at 2 eye-camps and 33 were taken to Pune for surgery. H1N1 vaccine has also been given to 1400 children at two camps to ward off the deadly swine flu.
A Shree Trust initiative introduced the children and youth of villages around Karla to different peeps into the wonders of science. A day’s workshop on ‘Wonders from Waste’, an astrodome-show, stargazing through telescopes, a puppet show were some of the have-fun-as–you-learn events organised.
On the Devi Sharada Sthapana Divas of Navaratri books have been distributed to children from nearby schools while children from Anganwadi-s have been given tiffin-boxes and water bottles.
Annatosha Seva - or serving a wholesome meal to hundreds of villagers is conducted twice a year – during Navaratri and on March 1st as part of the Janmadivas commemoration of Parama Pujya Parjnanashram Swamiji III.
The unique 2012 initiative – Vikas Ghar - offered after - school support to local children giving them a decided edge in academics. Through creative teaching aids its dedicated teachers enhanced learning skills of over a hundred children from KG to Standard 4 and also taught them conversational English. It was the foundation for the creation of the Parijnanashram Vidyalaya – the English medium pre-primary and primary school which was established on June 15th 2016 under the newly-formed Karla Education Trust.
On June 15th, 2012 a Goshala was set up on the premises of the Durga Parameshwari Temple and Sanjeevani Samadhi-sthal at Karla with five cows and three calves of the indigenous Gir breed and today, in 2017 the number has gone up to 30! Their milk is consumed in-house while the surplus is converted to ghee and paneer for sale to visitors.
In 2013 organic farming of rice and vegetables began at Karla. This is used for in-house consumption and the surplus is sold to visiting devotees.
It was the wish of our beloved Parama Guru Parijnanashram Swamiji III to help and rehabilitate differently-abled persons. Hence in 1981, the International Year of the Handicapped, Shree Trust was formed with the main object of starting a school for the differently-abled.
Guru Swami's wish culminated into reality in 1985 when, a survey conducted by the District Rehabilitation Centre (DRC) on behalf of the Ministry of Welfare, Govt of India revealed that a large number of children with different kinds of impairment needed help. Most of these children were from economically backward families. The Government requested the Trust to start its project immediately and assured support and financial aid.
Thus SPEVC was started under the stewardship of Dr Mohan S Mankekar with the help of the Regional Rehabilitation Training Centre, and on 31st October 1985, Parama Pujya Parijnanashram Swamiji III inaugurated and blessed the special school.
The main aim, vision and mission of SPEVC is to make every child as independent and self-reliant in life as possible in the given circumstances and to reduce the burden of the parents with children with disabilities. It aims for the all-round development of each and every student by securing their future and leading them towards normalization and inclusion in society.
SPEVC is a unique institution catering to the varied needs of children and adults having all kinds of disabilities under one roof. There are mentally challenged, hearing impaired and visually challenged students, as well as those with multiple disabilities. For instance, a child may be mentally challenged as well as hearing impaired. At present we are have 317 students, out of whom 132 are mentally challenged school students, 111 are doing vocational training and 74 speech and hearing impaired persons undergoing special training. There are 55 trained teaching professionals, therapists and helpers.
The most unique feature of the school is that it provides free education, free transportation to students from their residence and a free mid-day meal.
The School presently has 3 buildings: the first building is dedicated to the mentally challenged, the second building has sections for the hearing, speech, and visually impaired. The third houses a library and the Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy sections.
In case of mentally challenged students their mental age differs greatly from their chronological age. So a tailor made curriculum system has been formulated taking this into account. Each student’s curriculum is different, It is based on the student’s IQ level, abilities, likes and dislikes. Considering these factors the special educators give them training through Individual Training Programmes (ITP) aiming to develop the following skills :-
The progress of the students is evaluated by monthly assessments.
There is also music, yoga, art and craft, bhajan – singing, dance, guitar and computer sessions. They are also trained in indoor games like carom, table tennis as well as outdoor games like cricket, basket ball, volley ball, long jump, relay races and so on.
Some of these children have behaviour issues. The teachers with the help of the psychologists apply behaviour modification techniques to gradually reduce the frequency of erratic behaviour.
The students are also given need-based speech and physiotherapy.
The hearing impaired students are given 2 to 3 yrs pre-primary education as orientation, followed by primary and secondary education from 1st to 7th standard. They are taught both sign language and lip language so that they can understand and communicate with even those who do not know sign language. The loophole induction system has been introduced which enables the students to hear the subject matter taught by the teachers directly on their BTE( behind the ear equipments). They are also given audio visual lessons in subjects like geography, astronomy, history. Extracurricular activities include dance, miming, ABACUS training(mental arithmetic) and sports.
Vocational Training is provided for those who are above 18 yrs of age in file and envelope-making, candle and chalk-making, printing, book-binding, screen printing, and weaving.
They are also trained in horticulture(creating a kitchen garden). Here they are trained to plant seeds,water them, spread manure, do weeding . This is to enable them to work on their lands or their neighbor’s land. The profits received are distributed amongst the students.
In addition, family counselling is also given by our therapists to help the family to deal with issues that they may have, along with training sessions to keep the parents informed about the latest research and technology to handle these more efficiently. Students from other regular schools as well as professionals also visit the school for training and sensitization programmes.
A 'Happy home' project has been started to give practical training to all students in home management. A special room has been created consisting of kitchen, living and bedroom and bathroom/toilet area for this purpose. A special curriculum has been developed for this. The students are taught all kinds of skills from how to keep their shoes, how to wash their feet to sweeping, mopping, dusting, making their beds ,folding clothes ,arranging furniture in the living room and clothes in the cupboard, how to keep the toilet clean and much else .They are also taught to prepare simple food items like sandwiches, lemon juice and so on, These skills are taught to students according to their age and IQ. The main aim behind this project is to teach the students the importance of hygiene and cleanliness and to make them self –sufficient.
This project has been started for the students in the vocational section above 18 years of age. It mainly aims at creating job opportunities for young adults with disabilities.
In order to enable some of them to work in food malls ,they are trained to clean cereals and pulses, wash and cut vegetables and then sort, grade, weigh ,seal packets and do billing too. They are also given training in garland- making , handicrafts , embroidery stitching and tailoring. They are taught to make environment- friendly plus durable news paper bags by stitching.
Future job- oriented plans include training them to wash scooters and automobiles so that they can earn in their own neighbourhood with the consent of their parents.
Music room: A special music room with varied musical instruments like the keyboard, harmonium, guitar, tabla has been made available to the students.
A mini -theatre : Here educative videos are shown to students along with moral stories from the Panchatantra and other similar books.
Computer lab: The computer lab has 25 computers. All students are imparted with Computer training in MS Word, MS Paint and games according to their level of understanding.The computers have special software that gives verbal output to aid students with visual impairment.
Multi-purpose playground: A special play area with special artificial flooring which is actually an attractive and anti skid mat offers cushioning and lowers the risk of injuries to children while they are playing.
Children from SPEVC have excelled in sports at State and National levels. The speech and hearing impaired have won 8 gold, 4 silver and 1 bronze medals. Mentally challenged have brought home 40 gold, 28 silver and 8 bronze medals. Four children who played football at the national level have won 2 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze medal.
The dedicated work put in by SPEVC has transformed the lives of so many differently abled children and made them confident that tomorrow will be even better and brighter!