Her differently-abled students participated in Special Olympics held in China in 2007 and Greece in 2011. She has Changed lives of over 50 children by now.
This strong lady in her 70s is working for differently-abled kids who are discarded from their right to education. Widely known as Meena among people, she is fighting for the cause which is widely covered in taboos of hilly region. In 1998, she has founded Mangaldeep, a teaching institute for differently abled students in Almora, Uttarakhand with her brother Jagdish Chandra Joshi. Mangaldeep Vidhya Mandir was started with six students and now it has more than 50 students.
To start an institute like Mangaldeep was difficult as people in this region are small farmers having small land and are poor. She had to walk door-to-door for one year to bring kids for her NGO—kids who were ignored and forgotten by the society. They faced rejection from many people and wrath also. Kids who were ‘unknown’ to society were living a miserable life.
Some of the kids were locked up in the stable along with the cows, some tied up with a rope in the field, kids locked in dark rooms with just a bowl of water, kids being beaten and punished for misbehaving. They could neither speak nor express what they felt. And because of rejection and aloneness, they develop psychological problems also. These kids are provided education in Mangaldeep and make them self-sufficient so that they can earn a living. Here, students are taught classical music, handicrafts, handlooms and candle making to make them self-sufficient developing their abilities. And their products are offered to shopkeepers of the town to stock and sell the handicrafts made by these Mangaldeep kids.
This single lady from Kumaon and evergreen optimist, says that challenges have been many, but the blessings even more. ‘She faced everything from societal taboo to red-tapism in bureaucracy, but she also had the fortune of encountering some extraordinary people who kept the Mangaldeep banner flying high’. She is thankful to the teachers, organisations and trusts who funds them periodically, to volunteers and individual donors like Regula Rouse who provided them a bus for school, to local banks and businesses who place large orders for greeting card and candle orders.
Mangaldeep has been awarded the Godfrey Social Bravery Award, and Meena Joshi has been honoured by the local media. The children of Mangaldeep participated in many international and national events and came out in flying colours at the Special Olympics held in China in 2007 and Greece in 2011.
To support Mangaldeep, please their website and you can donate also. You can help them by providing tables, chairs, land (they want to separate Mentally Retarded School with Physically Differently-abled school), learning aids, books, musical instruments and so many other things. Her dedication, determination and optimism have saved many innocent lives in regions where still many facilities are not available. And this is why she is an inspiration for us.
Official Website of Mangaldeep institute: http://mangaldeep.org/