Dr Nilesh Usgaonkar having Paediatric practice at Margao, Goa, runs a Non-Profit Organisation along with other six trustees named “Laxmi Narayan Trust”. He is the President of the same. In conversation with Ila Dhond, Content Editor at GoaChronicle.com.
GoaChronicle.com: What is the objective of the trust?
Nilesh:The main objective is to build a residential centre for intellectually disabled adults who do not have parents and give them a respectful, joyful and secured life. The centre will have fifteen rooms, life skills will be taught to them. There, they will have an opportunity to indulge in vocational activities. Medical facilities will be provided by the trust along with physiotherapy. It is a ground plus two project with therapeutical garden, walk path and a recreational room in Pilgao, Bicholim.
GoaChronicle.com: What role does the trust play currently?
Nilesh: The trust conducts exhibitions during different festivals where we showcase products made by Intellectually disabled students and open it for sale. We visit different Special Schools where we teach them how to make products which later generate an income for these students. The products made by these Special students which are sold during our exhibition are priced by the respective Special schools. The funds collected by sale go to the same schools and the students get the share for their sincere efforts. We hold Health camps, Dental camps, Eye-checkup camps in different schools. We conduct Health talks in various schools as well to bring awareness about health related issues. Every year we organise programs to spread awareness about Intellectual disability by organising and conducting Essay writing, Poster making competitions with ‘Disability theme’ to spread awareness about the same.
GoaChronicle.com: Where did the inspiration come from to start a non-profit organisation?
Nilesh: I myself have a special child. My wife came up with this noble idea of starting something like this. I share blood relation with all the trustees in the committee. I and my wife have lived with and seen the fear in the minds as well as aching heart of parents of special children. The child grows up having medical as well as psychosocial problems. The problems begin when the parents grow old; parents are unable to take care of the child. The Government provides Rs. 2500 every month as financial assistance but that is not the core worry of the parents. When my wife and I surveyed such organisations in India, we found out that there are Special adults from Goa placed in such institutions. In metropolitan cities they charge around Rs. 25 thousand per month and in towns like Belgaum, Dharwad it is Rs.20 thousand per month. That is a huge sum for parents. To overcome this problem, we founded our very own trust with monthly charge of Rs. 16 thousand in case of severe medical health of the special child where the child needs heavy medication and other additional care, in the mild case the charge will go much lower. We will have our own Ambulance service in case of emergency and the funeral of the deceased inmates will be performed by the Trust.
GoaChronicle.com: How “Laxmi Narayan Trust” is different than other non-profit organisations?
Nilesh: Our motive is simple, make lives of Intellectually disabled adults fruitful and easy. We want to give a meaning to their lives, a platform where they’re treated like normal adults and give such Special children a chance to earn their livelihood. Our focus is on people in age range between 18 years to 45 years. We want to appreciate their skills and polish them for a better cause.
GoaChronicle.com: What message do you want to give our readers?
Nilesh: Our ultimate aim is to “Enable the disabled” in other words “Enabling disabled”. These special kids are made to stay at home after school, they have nothing to do there. We teach them routine tasks, something they would look forward to. Since they are intellectually disabled, we are in a way trying to lighten the burden of the family. I want to ask people reading this to come forward and help us with the donations so that we can execute our vision. I pray to the Almighty that our vision shall turn into reality soon.