Muskaan is an adult training centre for people with intellectual disability. We started our journey three decades ago, as learning centre, for people between 16 to 50 years and gradually evolved into a vocational and employment centre.
It took birth from the pain of disbelief that society could neglect and marginalise people with intellectual disability because they were ‘different’ from the ‘norm’. Society’s narrow belief system could not accept them, let alone make them self-reliant and self-sufficient.
Today, we stand as an organisation that helps people with intellectual disability, realise their full potential. We celebrate the joy of their world, their ego-free existence. We create a productive life and sustainable future for intellectually challenged people.
By building their capacities–cognitive, social, vocational, emotional and physical – we build their self-esteem and dignity. We spread awareness and ensure, to the best of our ability, that they get what is rightfully theirs.
Our centre in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, runs various programmes. The most important is training and employment, which helps people with intellectual disability learn vocational and life skills, enabling them to live a fuller life with dignity.
A visitor to our centre will witness the sheer delight, with which our work associates produce over 200 beautiful products, which are then retailed at various outlets.
We also provide family support services, because family members are often unaware of the needs of their special child. By building the confidence and optimism of the family we try and make the home environment robust and happy for our associates.
For us, Muskaan is a learning. Our work associates, whose human rights are still not recognised by our society, teach us how to live in the present and keep the faith. From them we learn innocence and the art of living an ego-free life.
As pioneers in the field of working with adults with intellectual disability, we are happy to collaborate and share our learnings, so that the wheel is not reinvented.
Muskaan’s holistic approach has delivered results beyond expectation. By nurturing the mind, body, soul – through life skills training, supporting hobbies and interests, exposure to sports and physical fitness and cognitive development – we nurture the widely misunderstood and guileless spirit of our work associates.
Our guiding philosophy is ‘empowerment not charity’. By providing opportunities, to each individual, to find their unique path and identifying the right fit for each one – whether it’s in the work centre or the activity centre – we place the control in their hands.
To do this we understand the abilities and needs of every new entrant – a time and resource intensive task, limiting the annual intake of candidates to 20, despite the rising number of applications.
Sometimes, two years pass by, before a work associate is comfortable enough to attend a full day at Muskaan. But once they establish a comfort level, they are at-ease in a gathering of 200 people too.
With understanding and love, motivation and care, guidance and training, our work associates scale new heights, each success spurring them on. The achievements might be minor in the traditional sense, but are celebrated in Muskaan.