Mrs Tripti & Mr Kanchan Majumdar
Parents of Krishna Majumdar
Friday, June 17, 2011

Dear Madam,

Mrs Vandana Lulla, the visionary Director / Principal, Podar International School, Santacruz (W), Mumbai, India making a difference by opening the door of "Integrated Education" for children with disabilities in her school for normal children.

Story of how the open-mindedness of Mrs Vandana Lulla, the visionary Director of Podar International School, Santacruz (W), Mumbai, India is making a difference in the lives of many children with disabilities e.g. blindness, autism, physically challenged & learning disability, with her path breaking initiative of giving them admission in her school for normal children & empowering them.

Like the ADA in USA, India passed "The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights & Full Participation) Act, 1995". The law states "endeavour to promote the integration of students with disabilities in the normal schools" under Chapter V on Education Clause 26 (b) . However, after the passage of 11 years it has remained on paper, as barring a very few exceptions almost all the schools for normal children have not opened their doors for children with disabilities citing the reasons of adjustment problem by the school either physical barrier or teachers not trained to handle such children, or on the pretext that normal children & their parents may not like such children in their midst, which may effect the school's reputation adversely.

It only requires the courage & conviction of the Heads/Principals of schools that integrating children with disabilities in their schools for normal children is not that difficult it is only the mindset that comes in the way.

Mrs Vandana Lulla takes the challenge & bold decisions of admitting children with disabilities who are suffering from blindness, autism, polio & learning disability etc. The child with autism is toping in his class. Mrs Lulla has even allowed helpers (kept by two parents) to remain in the class to assist their children. Many other children with learning disability are doing quite well academically.

One such child in the school - Krishna our blind son (12 years) now in Standard 6 was given admission in Std. 3 by Mrs. Vandana Lulla. When it became very difficult for us to arrange volunteer writers for Krishna during his exams, the school went one step ahead providing writers, students from other classes.

Besides getting good education in a mainstream school, most importantly Krishna's personality is also getting fully developed due to his social integration courtesy his acceptance by fellow students as well as their parents. One could clearly observe the humane behaviour of the normal children in Podar International School with their friends having disabilities.

Krishna is doing very well in his studies due to the terrific support of Mrs Lulla, and all the teachers & staff under her able leadership. Krishna & other children with disabilities are also taken in the group dance-&-song show at the annual day programme of the school. They feel highly elated after participating in the annual day programme, giving them the pleasant feeling of achievement. We feel like crying when we see our special children performing on the stage alongside their normal friends. Such a nurturing atmosphere provided in the school has helped Krishna to become very confident & developed a great presence of mind. This has helped him in other areas as well.

He participated in a drawing competition organised by 'Drishti' an endeavour to brighten the lives of the visually challenged – supporting a nationwide cornea-grafting-surgery-drive actively supported by Reliance Industries Ltd. (a fortune 500 company), for the children of employees of Reliance Industries Ltd. throughout India & had his painting selected for a prize, which was used with other selected paintings to make the New Year's greetings card of the company. He can be seen with Mrs Nita Ambani during the award function.

Krishna also participated in Mumbai Marathon in 2006 & 2007 supporting the cause of "Integrated Education" and drive for Cornea Transplantation undertaken under "Drishti" by Reliance Industries Ltd that could give sight to blind (photo attached).

Person like Mrs Vandana Lulla, support of Mrs Nita Ambani for Cornea Transplantation initiative undertaken under "Drishti" by Reliance Industries Ltd are examples of what is required & showing the way to make the world a better place to live in for the disadvantaged children & empowering them with knowledge.

As parents of a blind child we shall always remain deeply indebted to Mrs Vandana Lulla & all the other teachers of Krishna, who have contributed immensely for what Krishna is today.