Way back in 1981, Shri Narayan Athawale initiated the movement of caring and teaching the differently abled by writing an article on the plight of blind people in Goa in the daily ‘Gomantak’ of which he was the Editor.. Once this article was published, Goans started discussing about the difficulties faced by handicapped persons. A meeting was arranged in the office of Gomantak , and which was attended by parents of handicapped children. In this meeting, it was decided that a leading newspaper, Gomantak should take a lead in collecting the funds for this good social cause. This led to the foundation of ‘Lokvishwas Pratishthan’.
Lokvishwas Pratishthan was formed by fully depending on the people of Goa. Late Shri Vaman Radhakrishna, Late Dr. Salvo Keni and Smt. Usha Kelkar were appointed the trustees of the Pratishthan and Shri Narayan Athawale was elected as the Executive Trustee.
An amount of Rs. 33,000/- was contributed by Goans when an appeal was published in Gomantak. The need to work towards the cause was paramount and hence it was decided to start the school for hearing impaired children. The trust was founded on 17th July 1981 and the first residential school for the hearing impaired was inaugurated on 16th August 1981. The school was initially started in a small rental premises. Mrs Veena Sohani , who had completed teacher’s course for Hearing Impaired, expressed her willingness to teach in the school. The first batch was of 18 students. For the ten years period, 1981 to1991, the school was managed through financial contributions from the public and philanthropists.
After ten years of dedicated service, the Ministry of Social Justiceof the Central Govt. gave grants to the institute. The Education Department of Govt. of Goa also recognised the School in the same year, and the Govt. Of Goa recognised the classes from Class I to Class IV.
There was tremendous response and support from people for this noble cause. Every year, the number of students was increasing. The space was not sufficient to accommodate the increasing number of students.
After completing the first phase, the institute was looking forward to having its own premises. This was possible due to the blessings of Devi Shree Shantadurga. The Managing Committee of Shree Shantadurga Devasthan offered a piece of land admeasuring 2583 sq. m. to the Pratisthan on a 99 years lease. During this time, Shri Athwale had retired and had settled in Mumbai. He had continued his good work in Mumbai and he managed to get a donation of Rs. 4 lakh from Shri. Sharad Pawar, the then Hon’ble. Chief Minister of Maharashtra. After receiving this donation, the foundation stone of was laid for 360 sq mtrs. Building.
The foundation stone was laid by Shri Vishwas Joshi – the student of the school in the first year – on 18th January 1991. Shri Joshi is now a self reliant person. H. H. Sacchitananda Maharaj, The Mathadish of Kaivailya, Kavale, blessed the building on the same day by unveiling the Namafalak. The Mathadish helped the institute to a large extent. The building was inaugurated by Shri Pramod Navalkar, Hon Minister of Maharashtra on 24th may 1995. Shri Manohar Joshi, the than Hon Chief Minister of Maharashtra donated a sum of Rs. 11 lakh as a blessing from the people of Maharashtra.
Std. I to std IV classing were running smoothly and then efforts were made to start classes for secondary section. Permission was granted to start class V in June 1996. Every subsequent year, new classes were added on and in June 2001 permission was granted to start class X. As there was need to have more teachers, more teachers were recruited. The school was recognised by the Goa Secondary and Higher Secondary Board. Lokvishwas Pratishthan was the first institute in Goa to start these facilities for handicapped students in Goa. Goa Board also prepared special syllabus for these students.
HIGHER SECONDARY SCHOOL FOR HI :
The Education Department of Govt. of Goa has now given permission to start std XI (Vocational) in 2011. XII std classes started from June 2012.
Late Shri. Balasaheb Thackeray took note of the good work done by the organisation and donated Rs. 10 lakh. In recognition of this generous donation, the Trustees decided to name the residential school after Late Smt. Meenatai Thackeray. The naming ceremony was held along with the foundation laying ceremony of the expansion of the building on 26th October 1997. The ceremony was blessed by Shri Narayan Rane, the then Revenue Minister of Maharashtra and Adv Ramakant Khalap, the then Union Law Minister. The expansion work was completed in 1997. The work could be completed fast due to the donation of Rs. 5.50 lakh through the efforts of the then Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Gopinath Munde and donation of Rs. 10 lakh from Dayanand Charitable Trust, due to efforts of Smt. Shashikala Kakodkar, former Chief Minister of Goa and generous donations from other people.
The trustees started getting requests from the parents of the handicapped children to commence vocational courses so that the children become self reliant. For this endeavour, the institute got a helping hand from Atmonnati Charitable Trust of Mumbai and a decision was taken to build a separate building for the Vocational school…
The first phase of this structure was inaugurated by Shri J. H. Baria, Vice President of Zuari Industries Ltd. on 25th October 1999. Computer training is being given to the students at this Vocational Training Centre. Along with the handicapped students, other normal students are also trained here. The students are taught different computer courses and the examinations are conducted by HRDF of Goa Government.
This training gives confidence to the handicapped children and they have knowledge and are mentally prepared to face the world. There are plans to start screen printing and other employment oriented courses in near future.
SECTION FOR MENTALLY CHALLENGED STUDENTS
The section for mentally challenged children was started on 15th July 1999. Initially there were 16 students, now the number has gone up to 128. The children are divided into two groups depending on their mental and physical capabilities. These groups are given different types of training. They are trained in such a manner that they will not be dependent on others for their routine work. They are trained to be self dependent. Personal attention is given to each student. There are trained teachers and other staff. Students in the age group of 15 and above are given vocational training of their choice like making paper bags, rachis, greeting cards, etc. They are taught to be self reliant.
Day care centre for Mentally Challenged Persons was inaugurated in the hands of Shri . Sudin Dhavalikar, Minister for PWD & Transport on 16th August 2012. On the same day, 1st Late Narayan Athawalye Smruti Puraskar was handed over to Shri Paresh Prabhu, Editor of Navprabha.
ADDITIONAL SCHOOLS :
On 16th August 2009, Special School for MR Children branch at Mokard, Cancona was inaugurated at the hands of Shri. Sudin Dhavalikar Minister for Social Welfare in the presence of Shri. Vijay Pai Khot, M.L.A. – Canacona, Shri. Narayan Athwaley – Founder Trustee of LVP & other distinguish personalities.
On 7th June 2011, Special School for MR Children was inaugurated at Quepem by Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri. Digambar Kamat in the presence of Shri. Sudin Dhavalikar – Minister for Social Welfare Depatmnet & Shri. Chandrakant (Babu ) Kavlekar – M.L.A. Quepem.
On 14th November 2011, Shri. Sudin Dhavalikar inaugurated Special School for MR Children – Valpoi in the presence of Smt. Vijayadevi Rane, President – Bal Bhavan & Sanjay School.
Shri. Prakash Bhaskar Mhatre, Ex. Director of Jaslok & Lilavati Hospital – Mumbai & Mrs. Anagha Prakash Mhatre – Councilor Mumbai Maha Nagar Palika, Mumbai did ‘Bhumi Poojan’ for New School building at Quepem on 11th May 2013. On the same day, Shri. Mahadev Naik, Minister for Social Welfare, laid the installation stone of Special School build in the presence of Shri. Babu Kavalekar, M.L.A. Quepem & Shri. Subhash Phaldessai, M.L.A. – Sanguem.
SECTION FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED
The next stage was the section for the visually impaired. This was inaugurated on 16th August 2001 by Shri Chawdhary, Director of National Association for Blinds. Lokvishwas Pratishthan is the only institute in Goa to make such training available for the visually impaired. The classes started on 3rd September 2001. Two girls were deputed to complete a Diploma in Special Education (Visual Impairment).
In the beginning, there were only three students in this section. Now, the number has increased to twenty eight. Free training and hostel facilities are offered to the students. They are taught as general students. Special training is imparted in orientation and mobility so that they are able to move freely. Braille script is taught to them. Braille slate is used by them and they use Tayloor frame for learning maths. We also have a library wherein books in brail script are available. They are taught to write in braille script when they study up to class VIII. They are taught everything by the sense of touch.
On 9th April 2011, First Braille Library in Goa was inauguration in our school and chief guest was Hon.ble Chief Minister of Goa Shri. Digambar Kamat. Social Welfare and transport Minister Shri. Sudin Dhavalikar, was also present.
Lokvishwas works for all round development of handicapped children. There are about 20 equipments in the physiotherapy centre. Training is given by the experts. Detailed records are maintained of the treatment given and the changes observed in students.
Our work is not limited to educate the handicapped. Our endeavour is to rehabilitate them. We have short term and long term plans for them so that they can overcome their deficiencies.
In December 2000, a two day camp was organised to check, treat and guide handicapped people. It was jointly organised by Aliyavar Jung Institute for hearing handicapped (Bandra, Mumbai), Social Welfare Department (Govt. Of Goa) and Lokvishwas Pratishthan.
The parents as well as teachers of handicapped students need special training. The facilities to train handicapped people were also not available in Goa. To overcome this, we organised external foundation course on Education of Children with Disabilities (FCSE-DE) in the year 2002. This course of Bhoj University (MP) is recognised by Rehabilitation Council of India. 24 persons working for the people with disabilities took part in this programme along with teachers, non teaching staff and parents.
D.Ed. (MR) COURSE
Sufficient trained teachers to train handicapped people are not available, as the facility was not available in Goa. Trained staff is needed to impart good training to students and hence Lokvishwas Pratishthan started this facility, thus becoming the first institute in Goa to do so. The DSE (MR) course was started in June 2003, which is recognised by RCI. Now, the RCI has given the nomenclature of D.Ed (MR) for this course.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE D.Ed (MR) COURSE :
Two years course
Includes theory and practical.
The candidate should be Std. XII passed with min 50% marks
The exams are conducted by NIMH, Secunderabad and is recognised by RCI, New Delhi
Youth should join this course and try to help people who need special training.