With a dedicated team working tirelessly towards changing mindsets, AMBA challenges preconceived notions about intellectually challenged and guides them towards to a number of possibilities.
The NGO, which is based at Sanjay Nagar in Bengaluru, provides alternative education and employment opportunities to adults with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities. The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) plays a crucial role in eradicating the stigma these beneficiaries live with and equips them to be contributors at their home and society.
Unlike several other counterparts, AMBA has delved deep into the matter. The team has tried to ensure effective welfare to their beneficiaries with experts putting their heads together for over a decade to develop a special curriculum, which is now being spread to other parts of the country. “It took 11 years to fine-tune the curriculum with around 31 pilots at AMBA Certified Partner Centres in nine states. The last three years have especially been more productive as we have collaborated with 475 special schools across 25 states and helped them become hubs for learning,” said Ms Sugandha Sukrutaraj, founder, AMBA.
The team is now working on reaching out to over 8,000 young adults through AMBA partner centres over the next five years. The AMBA Learning Model uses innovative teaching methodologies with Information Technology for training intellectually disabled adults to perform back office data entry tasks for the IT industry.
“The philosophy of education is incomplete without enabling appropriate learning to this community. Our curriculum, which is copyrighted, has achieved this. Difficulties in enabling this community are high, but they deliver excellence to their capacity and deserve a break. We need big support from the community to enable work post-training,” said Ms Sukrutaraj.
To put it in context, the country has over 30 million intellectually challenged adults. With IQs below 80, they live without the hope or capability to develop into earning, professional adults, instead living a life of existential dependence. The Team AMBA believes that the intellectually challenged community is the most marginalised section of society. “Most government schools accept and patronise this community till the age of 14. Later, these individuals are entertained through non-earning vocational practices only till the age of 16. Besides years of ridicule that we had to face, challenges we face lie in assuring society that this community has the ability to independently ensure that their future is secure,” they claim.
An Ashoka Fellow-driven social enterprise, AMBA has designed the ecosystem of learning and earning in an adaptive, visual and functional manner, appropriate to the acumen of the beneficiaries, encouraging them to be contributors to family and society. “Their lack of social skills limits them from working in mainstream companies. AMBA collaborates with special institutions across the country and helps them evolve into hubs of learning and earning. By using their infrastructure, administration and trainers, the overheads are kept to a minimum,” Ms Sukrutaraj explained.
Over the years, AMBA received several awards at the national and international levels. However, the team is keen to highlight the awards won by their beneficiaries: Priya – CII Woman Exemplar Award 2013 for Education, Cegeo Thekkel – 2016 Helen Keller Award, Bharathi Srinivasan - 1st runner-up, CII Woman Exemplar 2017 for Education....