The Urmi Foundation works to provide a better education and future to children with developmental disabilities in the slums of Mumbai.
(Programme concluded and no longer supported by the Trafigura Foundation)
All the efforts of the Urmi Foundation (Urmi) are directed toward the mission of uplifting the educational and social conditions of poor children with developmental disabilities in Mumbai.
The extremely low income of families living in slums, coupled with a lack of knowledge about disabilities and means to give appropriate care, results in the inability to provide for the special needs of children with disabilities. This is why Urmi works with community based schools and Brihan Mumbai Corporation (BMC) special schools to create a free education programme tailored to kids with developmental disabilities.
Through a number of initiatives, the NGO is addressing the issue by building the academic and social skills of children with special needs in community schools using a bespoke curriculum. Urmi has designed a special education and therapeutic intervention plan at the grassroots level that is proving highly effective in unlocking the children’s potential.
Besides the offer of special teaching programmes and therapeutic care to special children, Urmi also strives to raise awareness about developmental disabilities in Mumbai through community outreach and information campaigns.
Mentored by the Trafigura office in Mumbai, Urmi has been supported by the Trafigura Foundation on a four-year partnership that helped Urmi strengthen the organisation’s structure, improve its education programme and set the basis to scale up Urmi’s model and reach out to more beneficiaries.
COVID-19 efforts and special initiatives
In 2020, Urmi made exceptional efforts to help its students and its families during the COVID-19 pandemic. It donated food parcels o underprivileged families and helped its students with special needs access to medicines during lockdown.
In 2021, Urmi designed and published a handbook on disability intervention, which is helping organisations develop support models for children and youths from low-income communities. It also set up a small business making and selling soap, crafted by its adult students with disabilities, to raise funds for their families and promote hand washing.
Recognising that children with learning challenges such as hyperactivity and behaviour issues do not learn well through a screen, Urmi worked with parents and teachers during the pandemic, issuing personalised learning kits and guidance to ensure learning and therapy could continue.