Kshitij’s journey began in 1996, when a group of four intellectually challenged children who were studying in a special school, stepped into adolescence. Realising that a sudden change in the environment would be detrimental for the mental well-being of these young adults, the mothers decided to start a sheltered workshop for them where they would receive vocational training and be gainfully occupied.
The initial journey was tough as there was no proper space and infrastructure to cater to needs of special adults. Paucity of funds compounded the challenges; however, a combined support from the extended families, friends and well-wishers aided positive development. The young adults (wards) were trained to do simple tasks like packaging, making special bags, and envelopes; all of which helped in teaching them to work with concentration as well as in inculcating discipline and work skills. They also started to get a stipend which filled them with pride and self-esteem.
Slowly and steadily, the wards were introduced to the skills of art and craft which honed their fine motor skills and improved their hand-eye coordination. Alongside, they were also given life skills training that included money management, shopping and social interaction.
As Kshitij grew in number, donations poured in, to further hone the skills of these wards and start therapeutic interventions. In order to find an outlet for the products, Kshitij started participating in exhibitions to raise funds and use them for bettering the future of these wards.
What started as small group of 4 young adults is now a family of 25 adult wards. Kshitij today has 15 staff members including teachers, parent-teachers, office staff, helpers etc. Kshitij can proudly claim that there is overall development of wards with significant progress in their functional, social and behavioural skills. Wards look forward to going to ‘work’ everyday like their siblings and participate with eagerness in their daily schedule of making products, practising yoga, dance, PE, playing games, learning life-skills, cooking, participating in special celebrations etc. They enjoy the bonding, cooperation and camaraderie which they share with each other to create life-long friendships.