Our young adults
are ready to find their place in the sun
The Karuna Vihar Centre for Vocational training (KVCVT)
At KVCVT our young adults build confidence in themselves and hope in the future.
The only special need I have is to be loved and accepted just the way I am!
Raju joined Karuna Vihar School at the age of eight. He was a shy, quiet child who had repeatedly failed in mainstream school and whose parents finally brought him to us in despair. His father was a bit of a tyrant, with little understanding about learning difficulties. To him, Raju was simply a boy who wasn’t trying hard enough.
We worked with Raju on basic skills like comprehension, following instructions, simple arithmetic, reading and writing. Though he was a slow learner, he was diligent and determined and over the years he grew more and more confident about his own abilities.
At the age of 14, he graduated to the transition class of the College for Livelihoods Training and by 15, he began to express a clear preference for working. He was not interested in many of the activities we offered at the centre. Candle-making, bag-making, masala-packing, household skills – they all bored him. He wanted, as he put it, “a real job.”
Raju wanted to work in a shop.
Our Vocational Coordinator worked with his class teacher to develop the skills he would need to be successful in his chosen career. At the same time, she found a shop in the local market which was willing to take Raju on as an unpaid intern.
For six months, Raju continued coming to the College for Livelihoods Training in the morning, but spent the evenings working in the store. Our Vocational Coordinator visited him there regularly and was able to assess areas where he needed additional skills. She was also able to help sort out personal communication problems between Raju and others working in the shop.
At the end of the internship, Raju was overwhelmed to learn that the shopkeeper wanted to give him a full-time, paid position.
Not only that. The shopkeeper has become a spokesperson for our campaign to employ people with disabilities in Dehradun. At a recent workshop we held for other potential employers, he spoke about his experience with Raju as a turning point in his understanding of what people with disability are capable of. “Raju is my most reliable staff member,” he said. “I know I can trust him completely with money and with my stock. He’s punctual and he works hard. What more can a boss ask for?”
Raju is still working full-time in Murari’s Grocery Store at Lovely Market in Dehradun. He earns a decent salary and is a contributing member of his family. His job is a simple one and it’s perfect for him. We see him occasionally on his bicycle, making a home delivery; or in the shop itself, busy arranging products on the shelves, serving a customer or keeping the place tidy. He nods and smiles, but he doesn’t stop to chat.
Raju is busy. He’s got a job.
Admission is open throughout the year for young people between 14 to 21years of age. Seats are limited and fees for the services at the centre are charged on a sliding scale, based on family income.