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Literacy Combats Disability

Sampa in her mid-twenties was suffering from peculiar medical condition with disorganized thoughts, preoccupation, aggressive behaviour, shattered sense of self etc when she was brought to Sarbari (a rehabilitation centre) in Kolkata. She was living a life with no purpose at all.  

Iswara Sankalpa, an NGO in Kolkata, West Bengal took good care of Sampa. She started to respond to treatment. Sankalpa also wanted to try out making her literate as a healing balm. They, thus, approached TCS to provide Adult Literacy Program solution for Sampa. 

Unlike usual audience, it was not an easy task for the facilitators to make her sit in one place and get her concentration on learning. Thankfully, half of the job was done by ALP solution itself as out of curiosity, she would be glued to the computer to comprehend the letters and words. The rest was facilitated with teaching-learning tools like alphabet charts, colourful books, handmade clocks, sticks, alphabet strings to keep her interest alive and make learning easy. 

She sat through the program and achieved functional literacy. She took everyone by surprise when the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) results were declared, and she obtained A grade. 

Talking about the literacy rate of Indians with disabilities, 45% of them are illiterate signifying nearly half of India's disabled population is illiterate. Realizing this need, Sankalpa, took upon themselves the task to support the illiterate homeless persons with psychosocial disabilities in learning pre-vocational skills needed for day-to-day living - the 3 Rs (Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic), money management, communication etc and to reintegrate them in mainstream society. 

Functional literacy prompted Sampa to learn soft skills and successfully go through a skill-based bakery training which led her to work her in a café run by Sankalpa. In five years, Sampa became self-sufficient. 

Sankalpa inspired by their experience with Sampa extended the TCS ALP program to 69 such illiterate homeless persons and sustained the program with 100% success rate. National Institute of Open Schooling under the aegis of Ministry of Human Resources assessed these participants as literate. 

Ultimately, Sampa who led an example of being a Mind Champion to her colleagues had proved that mental and physical challenges were negotiable. She jumped the hurdles through sheer grit and self-determination. Her ability to learn neutralised her disability. Her example will not be forgotten as a story of inspiration anytime soon.

Contact us at corporate.cbfl@tcs.com to know more about the initiative.

Read more ALP impact stories