Women Enpowerment: Dr. Radhike Khanna
Dr. Radhike Khanna example of the power of service to transform and uplift special people in our society. Aim of Shraddha Chartable Trust is to inspire these adults inspite of their handicap make them feel useful and confident as regular earning members of society. We are glad to have Dr. Khanna with us on NaariSakhi
1.Tell us something about yourself?
I am a traditional yet open-minded Indian. I enjoy and have an appetite for risks, meticulous in implementation of innovative ideas. Humbly focused in bringing about transformation for life in the multiply disabled. Do believe that one can bring change harmoniously, democratic in nature. I would like to describe myself as an educator and a social entrepreneur as when the model of Shraddha Charitable Trust was innovated it was pioneering solution to a very large problem with children and adults on the ASD Spectrum. I was able to see and design a vision for the future and have very passionately combined it with creative pragmatic skills to bring about existing change. By giving livelihood to people on this spectrum we met an unmet need in our country.
We mobilized unutilized resources in the human potential and have created an impressive system with virtually no monetary resources e.g. grants. But what we have built is goodwill in the city and catalyzed a social change of accepting these students with dignity. As a social entrepreneur, educationist cum artist – I have gone beyond colours and synchronized with white light, which symbolizes ONE with all. The core of social entrepreneurship is the experience that all of us are equal, all of us at the core are the same; the experience of oneness is like the white light when passing through a prism distributes into seven colours. Our mind acts like a prism and creates the differentiation. However, a social entrepreneur goes beyond the colour and reaches his or her vision to the White Light, which symbolizes one. This is the strength of Social entrepreneur
2. Tell us how Shraddha was born?
Shraddha was born out of a need to rehabilitate the students on the ASD Spectrum in their vocations for livelihood. Ankit Shah, who is at the severe end of the spectrum, parents, gave us their garage space to begin Shraddha Charitable Trust. We went through many challenges e.g. the garage had no toilet space. In 9 years, today, we have 8 rooms and 4 toilets.
3. Why did you choose field of education of mentally challenged children and young Adults?
I studied in Sophia Polytechnic and I collected funds for the Special children — and they tugged at my heart and I knew I could make a difference in their lives.
4. Who are the people who are instrumental in your success?
Sr. E. Gaitonde, my parents, Kamal and Raj Krishna Khanna, Mrs. Durga Jain and of course all my students who put forth my challenges.
5. What were the obstacles faced by you in your work?
When faced with difficulties and obstacles, use them as an opportunity to delve deeper into your inner self and unravel strengths you didn’t know you possessed. This is how several obstacles are met.
Several obstacles and challenges came by … right from getting the right space, organizing the facilities, making parents and donors accept the vision that these students would be learning members of society, dealing with local ward officers and corporators to understand the need to support disabilities. There is an incident when we had all our permissions to make a municipal garden in the building. It was interrupted with a summons from court. Only the intervention of the Maharashtra Finance Minister helped to sort out the issue. The neighbors around the building would cut our electricity and telephone lines and make fun of the students till we educated them and made them aware that in spite of disabilities these persons with equal rights who contribute to society effectively.
6. You must be facing emotional moments in your work, do you get overwhelmed by it. Or can you tell us about your memorable experiences.
One does face emotional moments in my work when people do not understand our need to educate these children. I was once told by a railway ticket clerk that I was wasting her time and my time that I was taking these mentally retarded children for an outing and that I should vacate the ticket window and give normal people a chance. When I see my students sharing how they are going to spend their pay cheque like buying a dress for themselves or the latest jewelry they saw Aishwarya Rai wearing in a movie and when parents of these students say that they can now die peacefully that their child is well settled; it makes me very happy
7. What are upcoming events at Shraddha?
The Marathon – one of the most awaited event of the year is the Mumbai Marathon where our special adults walk alongside thousands of people and the cheers and applause of the crowd encourages and motivates them to reach the finish line. Since the past 4 years Shraddha Charitable Trust has been taking part in the Mumbai Marathon and this year too our special adults will walk hand in hand with lots of celebrities and ardent supporters of our cause. This event gives us a platform to spread awareness about AUTISM.
The other event is Stipend day. Every 3 months stipend is given to all the special young adults of our workshop as a reward for the hard work that they put in.
With the help of our generous donors, we celebrate Diwali, Christmas, World Autism Day with the special young adults of our workshop.
8. What advice would you give to the women who are reading this?
You have great gifts and children, young adults out there need you.. don’t hesitate .. take the first step everything will follow, just keep Seva Bhav..
Life is too short to be somebody else and it is too not what you have got, – but what you do with what you have got, that makes all the difference.
When we take a lot of interest in what goes around us I can assure you we will also become more interesting to other people thus we can or you can continue a vibrant life. You must explore your true potential and learning how to achieve it. If you perceive that there has to be more, then has to be more to life than what you presently experiencing if you long to be what, then you need to unravel your life purpose, the mission of your soul and begin to live in the flow of your purpose. Don’t miss out on your true calling. Reclaim your life.. move through the process and discover the difference between just living and loving authentically.
9. How do our readers contribute to Shraddha?
By volunteering and helping us in our various needs.
—————————————————–Interviewd By Laxmi Khalap Bhatt, Editor, www.naarisakhi.com