Woman of substance
Ms. Promila Saraf, wife of R. K. Saraf, is a woman of substance. Born with a silver spoon what distinguishes her is not just her fabulous riches, but her humane concern for the less fortunate women and children. Towards this enviable and inspirative service she strode like a colossus. Many institutions stand testimony to her noble mission. To mention a few special schools such as Shabdam, Drushti, Manovikas, Centre for the Computerised Braille Transcrption system with tactile readers, vocational training centres, hostels, home for the aged men and women, computer training, micro credit/ finance projects (Rehaswiss Switzerland), District resource centre, AU Yoga village are a few among others.
The Woman and Child Welfare Centre at Shreeram Nagar near Vizianagaram is dedicated to the cause of the women and the handicapped children, specially blind, the mentally retarded the deaf and mute through special school and vocational training programmes.
There are three schools namely Drushti, Shabdam, Manovikas for visually impaired, hearing and speech impaired and mentally challenged children respectively.
It started in 1980 as the flagship venture of the organization into child welfare and specializes in teaching hearing and speech impaired children.
The deaf and hard of hearing students thrive in a visual world where the staff members not only provide instructions but meaningful interaction helping them to understand and groom as individuals. Our goal is to provide top-quality education to our students.
The centre is equipped with the latest teaching methodology such as group and individual hearing aids and computerized software teaching methods. The children are initially tested through audio-metrically evaluation which determines the amplification needs of hearing aids which is provided by the centre free of charge. They are taught lip reading by speech therapists and sign language in the International Code of Helen Keller Code by trained instructors.
This is a school for visually impaired children. lt started with a small strength of 3 students in 1985 and now grown to an institution with from classes from grade 1 to 10 for blind children.
The children are taught regular school curriculum in Braille script. Teachers are qualified in modern techniques of teaching. The centre provides the children with Braille slates and tape recorders to facilitate their learning. Students not only get an excellent education, but are also exposed Computerised Braille Teaching Software.
This is school for the mentally challenged children and was started in 1988 with 6 children only but has grown to over 30 children. Most of them have multiple disabilities and are not able to benefit from normal school education.
The students are divided into two groups:Trainable and Educable. They are accessed by doctors and special educators, psychologists of the school and then assigned to the suitable group. The children are taught activities for daily living, social competence and life skills to enable them to interact with their peers and the outside world.
Teacher-pupil ratio is being maintained to 2:1 to provide individual attention to each child. They are taught through play-and-learn method. Suitable toys are given to them to develop their learning skills. Physiotherapy and Yoga are also utilized to facilitate the rehabilitation of these children. These children are encouraged to participate in daily activities and in the various cultural activities organized by the centre. The centre feels that these activities help them in interacting with their peers and other adults both within the centre and in the community at large.
The centre is aided by specially trained faculty and other staff members who not only provide instructions but nurture the children with love and care. In 1981 she started “Sagarika” a cultural association, which provides the urban elite an opportunity to appreciate the Indian cultural forms of music, dance and drama.
In recognition of her yeoman service many an award came her way including, The Sulakshana Ram Janam Pande award for the year 1990-91 by National Society for equal opportunities for the handicapped, Bombay, The Bharath Cultural Integration Committee for National Integration honour in 1992, New Delhi, The Ugadi Puraskar Award in 1992 from the Madras Telugu Academy, Madras, The Mahila Ratan Award from the International Friendship Society and The National Award from the Ministry of Welfare on the eve of World Disabled Day Celebrations in 1993.
She is a source of inspiration and a role model worth emulation.