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Dehradun: Two friends Jo chopra and Manju Singhania have set up a school for children with Cerebral Palsy, Autism and Down Syndrome. Their school is responsible for transforming the lives of more than 1500 special children.
It all started with a child who was neither meant to be born nor was she meant to survive. But Moy Moy was born and even survived. In many ways this happy girl is like any other 22 year old, but there is one thing that makes Moy Moy special - she is down with Cerebral Palsy.
"Moy Moy was her mother's 13th baby and she didn't want to be pregnant, she was steralised. When she realsied she was pregnant, she came down to Dehradun for the abortion and the doctor she went to convinced her to have the baby. She went into labour when she was in a bus, 12 weeks premature, and left at the hospital. We adopted her when she was only two weeks old. A few years later we understood that she was the kid with special need," said Jo Chopra.
That's when friends Jo chopra and Manju Singhania decided to set up a school for children needing special care, and Karuna Vihar - a school for the mentally disabled - was born.
Moy Moy's school also serves hundreds of other children from all over the country and in a way it's Moy Moy who is responsible for transforming more than 1500 lives. Since 1995, the gates to Karuna Vihar open at 8 am every day and in come children with Cerebral Palsy, Autism and Down syndrome.
To unlock the young minds, the curriculum at school is modeled in a creative way. So, when it's the maths class, the daily attendance count teaches the children the number game. And when it comes down to Remembering and registering days and dates of the week, some placards help the children to do so.
"Each child is different from peer, and individual education plan is made for each child. And depending on the needs of the child, the people who are involved in it - the doctors, the therapist, the social people, the counselors, the physiotherapist - we involve the parents do it, because the needs, what goes on in school shouldn't be ending here," said Manju Singhania.
Once children graduate from Karuna Vihar, Jo and Manju have plan B waiting for them. In the vocational training institute, the potentially employable are taught to achieve the ultimate goal of "self reliance". And to accomplish this, the dinning table and the kitchen are important classrooms.
"Some of our trainees have become shop keeping assistants, some work in our own projects as helpers, we have got kids working in local grocery stores," said Jo Chopra.
Every time Jo turns to Moy Moy, she knows that a story that started small has woven many little lives into it.
In 2011, Karuna Vihar Director was the Guest of Honour at the Training Workshop at The Doon School.

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