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“One day in the year of 2009 I received a call from a nurse. A 22-year-old person of moderate mental disability had been admitted to the hospital due to high fever. After he had recovered, nobody turned up to take him back home. He didn’t know where he was and he couldn’t speak clearly, but it felt as though he knew that he was not being treated like a human being. I still remember him crying out for his mother, hoping that she would come to take him home. Since we didn’t know who the mother was, we finally brought him to Baby Sarah’s Home, the place I used to work.”

This is not an isolated case. A lot of children and adults with intellectual disabilities are abandoned. This is due to lack of governmental support and lack of awareness. 

Barriers are primarily rooted in wrong beliefs and misinformation. People believe that bad deeds in previous life of parents cause intellectual disabilities among their children. Barriers in society such as wrong attitudes and physical obstructions hinder people with disabilities from being a part of their own community.

According to the Disability Information Resources India (DIRI), an Indian association that collects statistic information regarding disabled persons in India, only 0.66% of the persons with intellectual disabilities are given employment. Often they are not given the opportunity to
become helpful or feel needed. Most don’t learn any useful skills that can help them in getting on with their day-to-day activities, not speaking of any possibilities of generating some income for the family. Families and community members need to understand the importance of preparing for the future by focusing on the strengths and potentials rather than assuming that an intellectual disabled person is good for nothing and cannot contribute meaningfully to society. People have to stop treating intellectually disabled like liability instead of a resource. The intellectual disabled need to experience acceptance.
We need a community that is secure and sustainable for intellectual disabled. A community in which they can learn, work, and generate income, a community in which they are accepted, a community in which everyone is respected and treated as an important member of society.

There are 1.6 million people living in India that suffer from some form of intellectual disability, says the Census 2011. Of these only the smallest part has access to any form of higher education or vocational training. The potential of 1.6 million people is simply wasted, not utilized, ignored. This means not only a loss of workforce but also that a large number of people goes unemployed although they would be able and more than willing to work.
75% of the intellectually disabled people in India live in rural areas where there is limited access to any educational institutions and where the predominant sector is agriculture where it is easy to find simple, repetitive jobs that can easily be performed by intellectually disabled people. Still, intellectually disabled people are seen as burden rather than help and no one would think of hiring them.

The Sristi Foundation is trying to fight all of these problems.