After her son was rejected in 42 special schools due to autism, Saswati Singh took matters into her own hand by founding ‘Inspiration’. Inspiration has a Special School, Vocational Centre, as also a fully equipped Occupational Therapy Centre for the cognitively challenged. They also have free training sessions for parents who are also encouraged to join the organization as volunteers. Saswati was a teacher in a school, and had more than 12 years of experience. She was then offered the post of a principal in a residential school in South Delhi. However, the school was not willing to educate her son, which led to her resignation. She says, “It did not take me even a second to put in my resignation. It did not make sense to teach other people’s children when my son did not have a school.” Subsequently, she realized that there were many kids just like her son and contacted several institutes for the mentally disabled and decided to start her own school.
It did not take me even a second to put in my resignation. It did not make sense to teach other people’s children when my son did not have a school.”
Passing on her inspiration
The bold mother started the school with just three students in the 3rd floor of an apartment. She had initially called the school, “Prerana Special School”. But, since no parents supported her, she caught hold of her friends to form ‘Inspiration’. Later in 2010, Saswati registered a trust, ‘Nav Prerna Foundation’; a Non-governmental and Non-profit organization dedicated to working with children and adults with autism and challenging behavior. Inspiration formed their first group home for autism in India and Saswati says, “For the last 11 years, our journey through uncharted territories gave the incentive to other individuals to open such centers.”
It was a big challenge as I also had to look after my mother who was a psychologically ravaged person, after my father was murdered, when I was 17. As she was staying with me after my marriage, she would look after my daughter when she was an infant.”
Sacrifices for the greater good
It wasn’t an easy task for the mother of two to bring up their children while running the school simultaneously. She says, “It was a big challenge as I also had to look after my mother who was a psychologically ravaged person, after my father was murdered, when I was 17. As she was staying with me after my marriage, she would look after my daughter when she was an infant.” Saswati had to send her daughter off to boarding school and her mother to an old age home later on as her son was getting more aggressive and difficult to handle. She had done various courses in the meantime to equip herself to handle these situations in future.
A Mother’s love
The mother has unconditionally taken care of her autistic son and is an inspiration to many who face any sort of challenges in their lives. We look up to Saswati Singh for the bold woman she is and fighting herself out of pity and sorrow to make things work for her and her family.