OUR MISSION

The Child Welfare Trust recognises that all children are individuals—regardless of their disability—and respects their individual needs. It fosters a caring environment and encourages children to enhance their potential for holistic development. Our aim is to work towards achieving total inclusion of the children at all levels in society.

OUR VISION

CWT’s general objective is to develop and implement a structured programme for challenged children from their birth till the age of 16 years. This exhaustive program enables us to diagnose the condition and determine two actions: the appropriate treatment, and the individual educational program (IEP) for each child to rehabilitate and mainstream her.

HISTORY

In the late 1970s, Dr. Shantuben Patel left her flourishing career as a neonatologist in Birmingham, England and settled in Kutch, Gujarat. During her stay there, she noticed an unusually high occurrence of physically and mentally challenged children. As she spent time among the people and children, she became aware of how certain social and cultural beliefs and practices had created this atypical situation and were precipitating it further.
She decided to start her own hospital—an inclusive space where any child could receive medical treatments. A free educational and therapeutic camp for the challenged children was organized in 1994 and again in 1995, initiated by Prof. Madhuri Kulkarni and her team from Sion hospital, Mumbai. In 1994, 110 challenged children attended this camp. Next year, this number rose to 450.
At this point, it became clear that none of these children had ever received any schooling. Responding to this urgent need, Dhanvantri School was established in September 1996, to provide education and training to children with hearing impairments, intellectual challenges and Cerebral Palsy.
Dhanvantri School began with 2 hearing impaired children; one of the mothers volunteered to be a teacher. By 2009, the number of children had increased to around 200, looked after by a team of 9 trained teachers and 6 trainee teachers.
To support the school, the Child Welfare Trust (CWT), Bhuj was established in 1998, with a clear agenda of mainstreaming the special children in Kutch. CWT is registered as a public charitable trust under the Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950, and it runs Dhanvantri School.
A multidisciplinary group of professionals specializing in diagnosis, treatment, preventive techniques and training of children with special needs form the core of CWT. It is a joint effort, not only of medical professionals, but also other professionals, parents and sensitive citizens. This versatile collaboration works not only towards treating special children but also on mainstreaming them, by encouraging and facilitating community based rehabilitation (CBR) of the children.
CWT's work should also be seen in the light of the Persons with Disability Act, 1995, which provides a legal framework to attain the entitlements of challenged children.