Empowering through training and employment
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
- 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.
- Home based/ preparatory program – for students who require one on one input or readiness to attend the adult orientated program
- 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.
- Activity centre –for the students who can function in a group but need greater support in their day to day functioning. 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.
Criteria of placement in these programs
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
Supported Employment within Muskaan
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. The products are marketed to retail clients and bulk orders are taken from various organizations.
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.