The Story Unfolds…..(a preview to Mangaldeep as
told by a well-wisher)
Many years ago...
Having achieved fame and success in the academic world of the Almora College, Jagdish Chandra Joshi’s life changed for him when he interacted closely with a handicapped child. He saw at close quarters the utter helplessness of a less-abled child in the beautiful but harsh terrain of the Himalayan region.
In cities the world of the handicapped is different – there is awareness, there are institutions, there are funds, skilled teachers, and buses which carry kids back and forth to special schools, trying to bring a semblance of normalcy into an otherwise tough life of a child.
In the mountains it is a different world. A world of poverty, hardship and constraints. Of small farms, with less crops, impoverished households, family heads given to alcohol, mothers struggling to earn a living along with bringing up the kids. Kids who walk 4-10 km daily to be able to attend school. Kids who go without sweaters in the winters because there really isn’t the money. Kids who need to start earning money as fast as possible, because their fathers often do not, and the mothers can do no more.
In this world, life is difficult enough in the mountain villages, for poor families struggling to live a life of dignity and hope.
Now look at the scenario where a child is born mentally retarded. Or deaf and mute. Or blind. Or with combined handicaps.
What does a poor mother do? She neither has the time nor money to take adequate care of the child. Villagers around her pity her since they believe that her child is a “bad” child – naughty, wild, ill-behaved, cursed, etc. The “bad” child can neither speak nor learn – and sometimes is even tied with a rope just as the family goat is.
The child is not treated as a child. There are no schools in the Kumaon mountains for such kids, nor an awareness on how to take care of them. No one cares really.
As a result, such kids are “hidden” away by society. They are either neglected and become what they are thought to be – dumb, or are allowed to vegetate. Many develop psychological problems due to neglect and often, cruel treatment.
Moved by the voices which were yet unheard, the voices of such unhappy kids, fighting to live a life of dignity and opportunity, Mr Joshi and his sister Ms Manorama Joshi decided to start Mangaldeep.
And thus Mangaldeep was born.
Read on to know more about Mangaldeep and how you can make a difference too.