Today is World Autism Awareness Day; the occasion to pay closer attention to the poor situation of disabled children in India.
There are 112 primary schools, 34 middle schools and 23 high schools in Nagaland’s Wokha, but none for children with special needs. Thus, children with special needs have no option but stay uneducated as normal schools can not cater to their needs. These schools lack the infrastructure that special children need. They also do not have education materials that can help a special child overcome learning difficulties. this goes against the Right to Education Act voted in 2009, and that gives disabled children statutory right to education.
The boy with Down Syndrome in Renchano’s video is her own brother who has been deprived of his rights to education, as there are no schools where he can learn. Watching a teenager grow up only to have a bleak future is an agony for any family with children like Pilamo. It was this agony and frustration that led Renchano to produce the video, because children with special need had been ignored for a long time and Renchano felt, as a community correspondent, she has a responsibility to highlight their plight.
India has 40 to 80 million disabled persons, among whom an estimated 30 percent are children below 14 years. A tremendous effort has to be produced by the Indian Government, to fight current discrimination against them, and to ensure their full integration, at every level of society. In particular, no child should be denied education, and all the necessary requirements that would make his or her future brighter.