Our Projects


MUSKAAN TRAINING PROGRAMS

Adulthood is the longest span of life with possibilities of living a fuller life. The complete lack
of services and opportunities prompted Muskaan to work with adults with intellectual
challenge. At Muskaan we believe that each and every person can learn if they are
facilitated with right kind of learning environment and humane approach.


Muskaan started its adult training program in 1989 when even this concept was non-
existent. Our faith in human learning potential prompted us to experiment with various
vocational training programs over the years. We understood their strength in concrete
thinking and chose simple vocational skills.

Our training programs can be divided into five major categories.

Training in each area is extremely important for the holistic development of the person.
Each of these programs contributes to varied aspects of the development of a student. Life
skill program facilitates adaptive functioning, computer technology makes conceptual
learning interesting, art & craft provides for creative self expression & emotional well being,
sports etc. for health & physical fitness and vocational skills enhance their productivity.
These programs play a crucial role in cognitive, social, emotional and skill development. It
also makes a person more adaptable and emotionally stable.
To impart the training there are several kind of vocational training options are available for
the students in different categories.

Food

Bakery skills, food processing and Masala processing

Life Style

Making office & gift Stationary, designer candle making, diya designing

Computer Skills

Data entry, scanning, word processing

Art & Activity

Flower petal processing, stringing, solar drying

Age criterion – 16-35 yrs

Requests for admissions are registered throughout the year. All those parents who
registered with us in the current year are informed through mail about an Orientation
meeting. In this meeting the parents are informed about different programs of Muskaan
and process of admission. All the parents who attend the meeting are given dates for the
assessment for their wards. Admission process involves an interview with the parents/
families/care takers to get the information related to functioning level, needs and strengths
of the person and expectations of parents. A functional assessment in different areas of
development of the candidate is done during an observation period of two weeks. After this
the team of special educators and psychologist decides on the kind of services/ program
that can be offered by Muskaan to the person and his family.

Types of Training programs


1. Home based/ preparatory program - for students who require one on one input
or readiness to attend the adult orientated program

2. Vocational Training – students who are ready to take up the vocational training in
a group and are fairly independent. They can eventually propel to supported open
employment and supported work centre of Muskaan

Senior age program: when students start getting affected by their advancing
age they are placed in senior group program where they are prepared for
more relaxed time table and supported for their emotional well being.

3. Activity centre – for the students who can function in a group but needs greater
support in their day to day functioning. They are offered art & activity centre training
and vocational activity

Criteria of placement in these programs

 


 

Employment services

 

Training in work related vocational skills have to culminate in work/employment
opportunities which are extremely meager for adults with intellectual disability. Muskaan
recognized the critical role that work opportunities can play in enhancing the quality of life,
and with constant efforts, we have been able to find work opportunities for adults with
varied levels of disability ranging from severe to mild.

Our experience has shown possibility of their employment through threefold avenue:

  • Supported employment in mainstream organizations
  • Supported employment within Muskaan
  • Special employment in activity cum art centre of Muskaan

Well defined criteria have been developed by Muskaan for placement into each of the
above options, once the trainee is sufficiently prepared for employment. For majority of
adults with intellectual disability (almost 60%) the Supported Employment Centres are more
viable option due to various reasons e.g. family resources and adaptation skills of the
person.

Adults with high support needs also need placement and Muskaan has evolved an effective
model for their placements also. An Activity cum Art centre, evolved after 8 years of
experimentation at Muskaan, provides a variety of very simple vocational activity, life skill
activities, art & craft and recreational activities enabling them to have a structured learning
and enjoyable routine

Muskaan has the privilege of being chosen as a training partner by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment for skill training and employment generation for young adults with intellectual disability.

Our first ever initiative for Employment was taken in 1995 with creation of a Supported
Employment centre within Muskaan. We started with a batch of 10 persons and today we
have 50 young adults working in this centre and many of them have also moved out for jobs
in mainstream world. For them it is a life-changing experience as earning raises their self-
worth and they enjoy putting their skill to use. For us, who work with them, it is a great
experience in diversity.

We strongly believe that gainful employment transforms lives. Young men and women work
hard every day, to make an impressive range of products of the highest quality, at our
employment centre. The products are marketed to retail clients and bulk orders are taken
from various organizations. Whenpeoplesee the products created by our production
associates, they recognize the capacities of our people.

Supported Mainstream Employment

Society’s ignorance about persons with intellectual disability created a barrier for open
employment. We have been successful in breaking this barrier as our work associates have
gained employment with corporate in past few years. Some of our higher functioning
trainees have taken up jobs in open market, proving to be diligent, conscientious
employees. Integration with mainstream workplaces enables them to realize their true
potential. Employers who appreciate their skills and bring a humane approach to their
needs, make this dream a reality. Between 10-15% of young adults with ID can be
successfully employed in mainstream world.

Special employment in Activity cum art centre of Muskaan

Approximately 15-20% of young adults with ID have high support needs. They also need
placement and Muskaan has evolved an effective model for their placements also. An
Activity cum Art centre, evolved after 8 years of experimentation at Muskaan, provides a
variety of very simple vocational activity, life skill activities, art & craft and recreational
activities enabling them to have a structured learning and enjoyable routine.

 

Family support services

 

Very early into our existence, we realized that educating the family members is not only our
biggest hurdle but also the biggest step in integrating our associates with the mainstream.
Very often a parent burdened with grief, sadness and guilt, cannot fulfill the need of an
intellectually disabled child. The needs can range from physical assistance to emotional
nurturing.

To begin with, we help the family accept and understand the nature of the disability, its
impact on the person as well on the other family members. Our counselors are available
every Thursday, with prior appointment, to sit with families and address their concerns and
queries. We facilitate the process of obtaining disability certificate, legal guardianship and
other benefits of the government schemes. Our counselors also join the medical staff at
AIIMS to help parents avail disability certificates and provide guidance and counseling.
Another endeavor which helps parents aresupport groups, where they meet other families
and learn that their problems are not unique. We help them to develop anappropriate
social life to fulfill a psychological and emotional need and at the same time make our
studentsaware of their responsibilities and rights, as it is easy for others to take advantage
of them. We work with families to buildcommunication skills,decision making
abilities,emotional well-being andutilizing leisure timeandself-care.

The role of a family is extremely important. A child with intellectual disability will shine if the
family focuses on strengths and successes and effort is made to work on ‘difficulties’. Some
areas like self-care, appropriate social life, decision making, and awareness of their duties,
do need more attention than others but that can be provided over time with love.
An effective partnership between parents and teachers means both have realistic demands
and expectations from each other. It is a must for the parents of our work associates to join
a short training programme. IGNOU had chosen Muskaan as a study centre for this
programme.

When a child is diagnosed with intellectual disability, the entire family feels the stress and
burden, not only because they have to meet special needs of the child, but also because it creates lot of emotional complexes and pessimism. Meeting other parents facing similar
challenges makes them realize that their problems aren’t unique. They learn that together
they can create better opportunities benefitting their children. Under Muskaan’s aegis, some of these parent organizations have become active lobbyists
and are fighting for educational, recreational, and vocational services. Undoubtedly, their
mission was difficult and they faced many challenges but united they have power and hope.
At Muskaan the parents’ organization eases the way to procure various certificates from the
government, for the benefit of people with intellectual disability.

1. Appropriate Social Life

All of us depend on others for our various psychological, emotional and financial needs. A
very important aspect of our adult lives is to be able to build and maintain a relationship.
Our work associates are no different, they have the same needs and demands. So, we help
them develop skills to lead a smooth life. They need to feel a sense of achievement and
competence to relate with people and build friendship. For adults, working out responsible
roles, dealing with sexuality and building relationships becomes more challenging.

2. Awareness of their Duties and Rights

f the family does not make them aware of their rights and duties, no one will. To enforce
and exercise our rights and perform all our duties, we need to be aware of the rights and
duties. It is no different for persons with intellectual disabilities. They have the same rights
and duties as everybody else, but because they need support, other adults often take even
the smallest of decisions for them.

Muskaan, therefore raises awareness among people with intellectual disability and among
the public at large regarding the rights and duties of adults with intellectual disability. It is
important that the people around them (family members, legal representatives, friends, co-
workers, etc.) respect their will and take it into account. Crucially, therefore, persons with
intellectual disabilities must have a chance to convey what they want, how they feel and
what they believe to be important.

3. Communication Skills

Major emphasis is laid on this, especially, for persons using non-verbal mode of
communication and people with unclear speech. They have to be given a system of
communication which is easily understood by majority. Simultaneously, future guardians
have to be trained.

4. Decision Making

Whatever may be the form or extent of dependence on others, our work associates are
equipped with the skill to take, at least some, of the decisions themselves. It starts with
small things like asking them their likes and dislikes in food and what clothes they would like
to wear. Then it goes on to more complex decisions – would they like to meet certain
people or take part in some activities.

5. Emotional Support

The family has to work as unit to eliminate certain widespread misconceptions like people
with intellectual disabilities always remain children, they are stubborn, aggressive, cannot
understand what we are telling them, cannot control their impulses or be self-disciplined
and self-regulated.

Like any adult, unconditional love and acceptance, approval and appreciation is critical for
people with intellectual disability. A constant reminder of their failures not only kills their
initiative for learning but also builds resistance towards learning. In some cases where
parents have non-accepting attitudes or there is a lack of positive experiences, the student’s
self-image suffers a severe blow, causing many emotional and behavioral difficulties.
They also have to be taught how to recognize their emotions and mental state and how to
relate good and bad with one’s feelings as well as others’ feelings. When we take the time
to explain, they understand the “why” of expected behaviors and consequence of “bad”
behavior.

6. Leisure Time

If working is an important outlet of self-expression then an opportunity to unwind is equally
important. Active involvement in recreational activities like physical fitness, creative

mediums, and movies etc. enhance their interpersonal skills which leads to a well-rounded
individual. Therefore, appropriate skills need to be imparted for managing free time
otherwise it can lead to disruptive behavior.

7. Self-Care

It is our aim, as far as possible, that our work associates look after their daily needs including
proper hygiene. The starting point is identification of the body and its parts. It progresses to
appropriate and structured training and then looking after their needs without help. They
have to know how to protect themselves not only from physical dangers like fire, electricity,
road traffic etc. but also from abuse by other human beings. This can be encouraged by
developing a sense of privacy once they start identifying family, home, institute, teacher,
room, one’s belongings etc.

Residential Facility

In a unique initiative, Muskaan in partnership with National Trust (a statutory body
constituted by Govt. of India for taking care of the needs of people with Autism, cerebral
palsy, intellectual disability & multiple disabilities) has developed a residential facility for
adults with intellectual disabilities. Located in south Delhi, our model of residential facility
moves away from ‘care model’ to an empowering model of ‘Assisted living’. Muskaan has
endeavoured to create a residential facility that could set an example showing the
possibility and practicality of the model where residents are participants in running the
home. The journey of establishing this facility was arduous but it reconfirmed our faith in
the capabilities and sense of responsibility of adults with ID.
The need for a residential facility for people with disabilities can be hardly overemphasized,
they need support and supervision throughout their lives, particularly when parents are old,
sick or pass away. The challenge is to conceptualize and create good models of assisted
living that recognize not only the basic survival needs but also a whole range of other
personal, social and psychological needs for fulfilled lives.

Photos of various activities
Unique features
The model of residential facility adopts an empowering model of ‘assisted living’ and
moves away from the ‘care model’.
The residential facility is run with active participation of the residents. Opportunities
for Vocational rehabilitation are also provided to all the residents
The Residential complex strives to be eco-friendly and ‘Green’ and is run and
managed in an environmentally sustainable way.
The residential facility model also includes active participation of the local
community of Dera village, and strives to integrate the residential project into the
surrounding communities, thereby creating community acceptance and ownership.