Three West Bengal organizations – Riddhi Society for Remedial Education, Autism Society of West Bengal, and Transcendent Knowledge Society- are organizing partners for this event. 50 emerging leaders from many West Bengal disability-focused organizations are expected to participate, all of whom are established and emerging leaders in the disability movement, coming together to commit to promoting good possibilities for people with disability to have full, rich, meaningful lives,
Social Role Valorization represents a major body of thought and practice around issues of critical importance to disability and society, and is being offered within India for the first time this year, to high acclaim. it offers a perspective and framework which supports the full participation of people with disability in society as included in new Indian disability law and international agreements such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability. Participants will include family members of people with disability, activists, professionals, specialists, advocates, leaders, professionals, those who have lived with disability, and those who have built the support systems that exist for families and people with disability.
The theory of Social Role Valorization serves as a framework for understanding and responding to social devaluation amongst all vulnerable people who experience oppression and marginalization. The program stresses on cross-disability but emphasizes on supporting people with developmental and psychosocial disability. The SRN/ movement assists people who have lived at the veritable bottom of society to have access to what we might call “the good things in life” —freely-given relationships, citizenship and belongingness. Taught for the first time nationally only 4 months ago, faculty include those who have recently completed the inaugural three-day course in Delhi_ These faculty include Mrs. Indrani Basu, Mr. Sumit Aganival, Dr. Swati De, Mrs. Amrita Roy Chowdhury, and Dr. Mitu De.
Ms Elizabeth Neuville, Director of Keystone institute India, said of recent participants, “Many have found this to be an extremely meaningful event with significant and serious implications for their work with vulnerable people. Participants are left with new ideas, shifted mindsets, and a sense of urgency about the important work that remains ahead in creating a community where everyone belongs.”
People with disabilities experience a quality of life much below that of typical citizens. Many have been kept apart from their community, either by discrimination or by complete separation in segregated care facilities and institutions. Very few community-based services exist to support people to stay in their communities, and there are limited opportunities for people with disabilities to have true equal access to society. Keystone Institute India is a newly formed educational institute on disability, community, and innovation, focused on social change for India around disability issues, supported by a grant from The Hans Foundation. Significant international expertise has been directed toward this effort, with a focus on how to design and sustain responsive, individualized services to enable people with disabilities to experience full, rich, meaningful lives resonating with Indian cultural values.
Elizabeth “Betsy.” Neuville serves dual roles as Executive Director of the Keystone Institute, a US-based educational institute, and Director of Keystone Institute India. She has over 30 years of experience as a human service worker, administrator, agency director, evaluator, educator, and personal advocate, as well as extensive experience in designing and developing supports for very vulnerable people, meaningful quality measurements, and extraordinary employee development programs. She has worked for Keystone Human Services for over 28 years. Betsy is an international caliber trainer with a reputation for serious-minded work grounded in respect for people with disability. She has worked extensively with the ideas Social Role Valorization and person centered-planning tools, and provides training and consultation both nationally and internationally. She has taught rigorous “SRV” and “PASSING” courses in Canada, across the United States, Ireland, the UK, Holland, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Romania, India and the Republic of MoIclova. She studied under the mentorship of Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger, the developer and foremost proponent of Social Role Valorization, and has, in turn, mentored and supported a generation of people committed to social change and personal human service to others. She remains closely personally connected to people who are vulnerable, and holds particular interest in the historical treatment of people with disabilities. She began involvement with using the tools and techniques of Person Centered Planning in 1992 as a means to move people towards better lives. She has developed techniques which merge the use of traditional PC planning with Social Role Valorization and Model Coherency, increasing the likelihood that such processes will involve identifying and meeting true needs, as well as incorporating the use of valued social roles. She is highly committed to personal human service, and remains closely connected to people with disabilities and their families. Betsy divides her time equally between India and the US.
Amrita Roy Chowdhury is a vision care consultant and strabismologist who is dedicated to working with a children with special educational needs and disabilities and their families. Her passion is to guide parents and caregivers in developing new strategies on how to focus on the strong points and what the child likes to do. She believes in informal schooling of children where they can explore, enjoy and can learn new things everyday
Sumit Agarwal has an inquisitive mind in managing non-profit organizations. He is equipped with a PGDM and MBA in marketing. He is associated with various organizations at different capacity and has a keen interest in the field of communication and public relations
Indrani Basu completed her graduation in education and trained as a teacher from the department of education London University. She has eleven years of teaching experience at mainstream schools in India. During the time she was teaching both her sons were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. After the diagnosis of her sons she trained as a special educator at Action for Autism (Delhi). She is the founder and director of Autism Society West Bengal in Kolkata. The organization has grown from a 1-room support group to a 4 different units providing services to more than 100 families every year. ASWB strongly believes in parents participation enhances the child’s development and paves the way for a long term and continued improvement. ASWB follows research based intensive intervention methods in all its programs. IncIrani is a resource person for number of organizations in India and Bangladesh, Indrani Basu is one of the 2009 award winners for creativity and innovation in special education form Heart spring (Kansas, U.S.A).