SNEH : Paradise of IntellectuallyChallenged People
With a population of 1.25 Lacs, Nagda in Madhya Pradesh is not the first place that strikes one as the locale for the world class institution to care for children with Intellectual disabilities. But that’s just what Lion Pankaj Maru wanted to make Special Need Education Home (SNEH) which was founded in July 2009 by him along with co fonder Late Lion Dr. Naina Christian as one of the permanent projects of the Lions of Nagda.
Setting up SNEH in a small two room rented school shed, Lions of Nagda managed to convince the parents of eight children with special need that they could help. “the biggest challenge was to educate the parents that such children are not a burden” says Lion Maru , parent of an ADHD baby girl Sonu who is inspiration in making him a warrior for children with special need after leaving comfortable and luxurious life of Dubai based MNC as COO. The Job of treating children with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, ADHD, Delay Development, and Mental Retardation in a small town was another big challenge. Good intentions always supported by the God and therefore with a team of dedicated staff led by an Occupational Therapist Lion Dr Naina Christian and financial support from LCIF and others, the center now grown up to 159 Children with intellectual disability.
Initially funding SNEH by Lion Maru’s own and then with other Lions of Nagda & district 323-G2. Indonesia based NRI Late Shri Devendra Singhji Choudhary & his wife Mrs Chanda Choudhary donated a very precious piece of land in the prime location for the construction of SNEH’s building after close watch on all of its activity for 6 months in the memory of their beloved mother Late Smt Surajbai Choudhary. PDG Lion Mukesh Mathur initiated the process of first LCIF standard grant. USD 60000 has been sanctioned by the LCIF deputing PDG MJF Lion Atul Shah as Grant Administrator in 2013. German MNC LANXESS India, Dubai based MNC MS Steel International FZCO, and One point Group along with local people and Lions members also contributed a lot to complete the project of USD 100000 . The then LCIF Chairperson Lion Naresh Aggarwal, Cabinet Minister in Govt. of India Hon Lion Thawar Chand Gehlot along with DG Lion Anand Kant Bhatt inaugurated the first phase of world-class building with ultra modern equipment’s & facilities of SNEH on 15th June 2014.
The Early Intervention Unit, Physiotherapy Unit, Occupational Therapy Unit, Special Education Unit & Vocational training Units are taking care of special need children. PID Lion Sanjay Khetan inaugurated Multi Utility room where Computer unit, Grooming Unit, Dressing Unit, Money Concept & Activity of daily living unit is developed. Kids are assessed thoroughly before enrollment in SNEH. IEP (Individual Education Program) is being prepared for each & every kid. The Special education, Therapy and vocational training is making lot of difference in the kids to integrate them with society. SNEH is also ensuring the benefits of all government schemes not only to its enrolled children but the divyangjans of whole country also under Community Based Inclusive Development Programme. The 70% of profit of sales proceeds of vocational items are being distributed among kids to create confidence under them & make them self-sustainable. Many kids started talking and walking after getting therapy in SNEH. They are also getting training of dance, sports and many other extracurricular activities. All festivals are being celebrated in SNEH with full enthusiasm which makes children happy. SNEH kids also performed in presence of Hon. President of India Mr Pranab Mukherji in Delhi and rewarded in a National award function. SNEH got various awards by the leading social organizations & government for its outstanding work for rehabilitation of people with intellectual disabilities including the National Award of Best Organization of the Country from the Hon. Vice President of India, Chief Minister's Best NGO award, International Award from the Society of rehabilitation professionals. Founder Lion Dr. Pankaj Maru was also awarded with The National Award of Best individual working for the Divyangjan by the Hon President of India on 3rd Dec 2016. He was honored with Lions International Presidential Medal for his tireless services to special need people by IIP Lion Dr Naresh Aggarwal. SNEH's student and now its one of the Employees who him self is PwID has also received the National Award of Best Divyangjan on 3rd Dec 2022 from the Hon President Smt Dropdi Murmuji.
SNEH is also engaged in research and development for the rehabilitation of PwIDS. Director Late Lion Dr. Naina developed multipurpose perceptual & speech therapy table, walking frame and many other need based equipments for the therapy of children. The qualified and dedicated team of SNEH comprising of Occupational Therapists, Psychologists, Physiotherapist, Speech Therapist, Special Educators, Social workers are tirelessly engaged for 360 degree empowerment of Special Need people.
Looking to the activities of SNEH the National Trust, the apex body for the welfare of people with intellectual disabilities, Govt. of India has appointed it as a National coordination center for its flagship scheme Niramaya Health Insurance. Lion Maru has been appointed in various policy making committees for disabled people by Govt. of India including the apex policy making Central Advisory Board. The MP Govt. has appointed Lion Maru as member secretary of state level coordination committee to implement various schemes for special needs people. The permanent project of Lions of Nagda SNEH is now become a holy place for each and every Lion Member of the district and developed as a symbol of the key statement of Lions Clubs International WE SERVE in the society.