Prayas-Education and Training Program for Deprived Mentally Challenged Children


Prayas' aim is to enable children whose families are below the poverty line to lead a dignified life by being economically independent. Children from these families do not attend school for various reasons. Prayas raises awareness amongst this community and encourages the children to attend school. They have a team of special educators and trained teachers to impart quality education to children. In the Amargarh school, there are 26 mentally handicapped children and 76 other deprived children. In addition, about 30 poor women are also served by the project.

Organization Profile and Background

Prayas is an Institute working for mentally challenged, physically disabled and socially deprived children. Started in July 1996, approach of Prayas is child centric. Expanding education opportunities for children, creating better environment for them is the central goal of Prayas.

Currently, Prayas is involved in various projects based in Jaipur and its surrounding areas, mainly Jhalana and Amargarh in Rajasthan.

Past Achievements & Fields of Experience:

a. Education, Training and Rehabilitation of Mentally Handicapped Children.
b. Family Counseling.
c. Education of Rural Women, Adolescent Girls & Children.
d. Environment Awareness camps.
e. Vocational Training.
f. Counselling to children and their families.

Project Details

Background: Mentally handicapped children fall into 4 categories: Mild, Moderate, Severe and Profound. Children in the Mild and Moderate categories, with proper help and training, can work quite normally in society and become self-reliant. Children in the Severe category, may not be able to work but can learn to be self-sufficient in their daily activities. Children in the Profound category usually have to be helped.

Objective: Special education, vocational training is imparted to children with special needs. Our aim is to enable these children lead a dignified life by being economically independent. Prayas strives to reach to the poorest of the poor. Prayas provides door step services to the profound category of children who cannot come to school because of their severe condition.

Community Targeted: The program will primarily target children belonging to all economic sections of society in the city of Jaipur. Prayas is the only organization in the city working for their welfare.

The project can be divided up into the following components:

Healthcare and Nutrition

Lack of healthcare, unhygienic living conditions and non-availability of balanced diet all arising form poverty results in high incidence of disability. Lack of resources/money cause the community to do away with a balanced, well nourished diet amongst the children and womenfolk in the community. Since many of the children belong to multiple disability categories, Prayas employs a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, a speech therapist and a child specialist for the children.


Since a majority of the people from these slums come from below the poverty line families (BPL families) having little money or the inclination to provide education, and given the dearth of good and quality schools, children of these slums do not attend schools. The children from these slums including the mentally & physically challenged children need to be imparted quality education and awareness in order to help them lead a meaningful and dignified life. Lack of education and opportunities to attend school hamper them to lead their lives with dignity. Girl children are the most neglected lot in the community. There is a strong need to provide them education so that they can be self reliant and earn respect from their male counterparts in the times to come. There is a need to slowly though steadily work towards creating general awareness amongst the society at large regarding special educational needs of the specially abled children and creating a conducive environment for the mentally and physically challenged children to grow and stand on their own along with the children in normal circumstances. Prayas uses a team of special educators and trained teachers to impart quality education to children.

Vocational Training, Entrepreneurial Skills Development & Unemployment

There is widespread lack of employment and resource-generation avenues for the communities in the slums. The problem increases manifold for the mentally and physically challenged children. In order to help and facilitate these children lead a life of dignity there is a strong need to provide them with vocational training and entrepreneurial skill development so that they can become self reliant, someday.

Gender Bias and Inequality

The status of women in the locality is deplorable. Though the womenfolk of the locality work equally and in many cases more than their male counterparts, their hard work often gets ignored, as they are not the decision makers in the families. The male dominated, patriarchal society makes it even more difficult to break the traditional mould of playing the second fiddle in the family and confronts various problems of the locality which requires their attention apart from their male counterparts. It is the womenfolk who remain in the settlement for the longer span of time hence they are much more aware about the problems confronting the locality Viz. health, hygiene and environmental degradation. Their unequal status leads them to have little concern for their health and diet leading to health problems, which leads to disability amongst the newborns. Also, the gender bias is a major stumbling block as far providing education to the girl children is concerned. Prayas has teachers to train the girls.


Since the project area consists of people from below poverty line, they do not much understand the value of education, need of special training and therapy to special children. Many issues like health, personal, hygienic, small family have to be discussed with them. Prayas employs social workers to discuss, explain and solve the problems of the people in the community.

At the Amargarh Integrated School, there are 26 mentally retarded children and 76 regular children who receive education.