parent partnership

The Somya Initiative

The Somya Initiative, formerly called the Parent Support Network, was set up in 2004 with a clear direction and well-established plan of action. At the outset it aimed to provide a forum for parents to benefit from each others' experience, be active partners in their child's holistic development, and for the improvement of existing services and facilities to enhance this process.

Efforts in the above is carried out by working with parents and family members understand the ideology and principles of appropriate handling and nurturing of children from a very early age. Training sessions in the do's and don'ts of parenting, workshops and focused discussion attend to the needs of all ages from the dependency of infancy to the emerging maturity of adulthood. Working on hitherto untouched topics like sexuality, marriage and reproduction are some of the specific issues dealt with in the recent past. Recreational activities, visits to historical places and learning the creative arts are some of the outreach events organized by parents themselves.

SFCD assists in the realization of the above by providing support to:
help families to access various resources:
  information regarding community and provincial resources from Ministries and agencies serving the special needs community
  information and best practice strategies for specific disorders
  human resources: in-home workers, mentors, and individuals who may be able to help them in a variety of manners
research, compile, and develop resources with our community partners and other groups
assist families to determine their own short and long term goals.
train, educate, and empower families (ie, by means of their participation in and assistance with the development of training workshops)
follow up our initial contact with families to ensure goals have been met and/or services have been provided
provide emotional support
develop a volunteer base to help link parents to other parents to share ideas and for the purpose of mentoring.

Embedded in the activities of the Parent Support Network are other outreach events that involve the social needs of adolescents and young adults with mental disabilities in the form of regular peer group interactions, field trips to popular places, and creative pursuits.

Eminent pediatricians, gynecologists and psychologists educate the participants about various aspects of sexuality

Focused Discussions (Sexuality and Marriage)

Families share their experiences related to sexuality and marriage on the one hand, and employment, vocational training, micro credit and marketing of products on the other.

Some FDGs held:

  Koshish Special School, East Delhi
  Aanchal Special School, East Delhi
  Tamanna School, South Delhi
  Akshay Prathisthan, South Delhi
  Navjyoti, South Delhi
  Handicapped Children's Parent Association, West Delhi
  Masoom Special School, North Delhi
  St Stephen's hospital, North Delhi
  Max Balaji, East Delhi
  Interact School, Noida

Till date of the 85 schools in Delhi, the Field team along with a psychologist and other relevant professionals has conducted meetings in 60 schools since July 2006.

On the 8th of November 2008, a National Seminar on the Adult needs of persons with mental retardation is scheduled to be held where participants from across the country have already registered.


"An informed parent is a better parent"

The monthly Newsletter is a regular feature which provides crucial information, expert opinion and views of parents. 1500 copies of the Newsletter are widely circulated so that the benefit of the Somya experience could be extended to other disabled children, their parents and stakeholders and other NGOs in the field.