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On World Disability Day, we take a moment to reflect on the special needs community that exists within our larger Mumbai Smiles family. Living with disabilities is often an uphill task in a society that often overlooks the basic needs of its members who have disabilities. This is even more so in communities that live in poverty, often competing for scarce resources. When basic needs like food, water and shelter are hard to come by, families often cannot focus on getting treatment and giving support to their disabled members. Lack of timely treatment and appropriate therapy often makes the situation worse. This is why Mumbai Smiles pays special attention to community members who are living with disabilities.

One of the students at our preschool in Suryanagar, Aradhya Prajapati, suffers from a speech disability. Just five years old, she has already had one surgery which was very expensive. Coming from a family of nine with just one earning member, her father, Aradhya’s speech defect was not treated with due concern as the family assumed it would correct itself over time. It was Ranjit Patil, the field coordinator for our Community Health project, who counselled Aradhya’s parents over the importance of early intervention and treatment. Apart from providing telephonic counselling, he also helped Aradhya’s parents to access affordable specialist consultation and treatment at Andheri’s Holy Spirit Hospital. Today Aradhya’s parents are optimistic that she will have a bright future and her speech defect will be treated properly. We wish her all the best!

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