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Home >> Mumbai Nonprofit Organisations >> Astitva Trust, Dombivali

Astitva Trust, Dombivli


From a small beginning with 22 students and a makeshift classroom ASTITVA has come a long way since its inception in 1981. Over the past two decades it has built a vibrant institution dedicated to education, training and rehabilitation of the mentally retarded and deaf and mute children. Today it has a building of its own with 25500 sq. ft. of built up space equipped with the necessary amenities under one root and a family size of over 400.

The institution is located at Dombivli, on the outskirts of Mumbai in Thane district of Maharashtra. Four core activities form the current focus the institute.

  1. School for the Mentally Retarded with student’s strength of 135.
  2. “Mook Badhir Prabodhini” that runs a school for the deaf and mute with 75 students.
  3. “Sheltered Workshop” to train the adult handicapped in vocational trades. A number of products of household consumption are made in this workshop. Presently 95 handicapped adults are engaged in the workshop.
  4. Hostel to care for the mentally retarded persons. Currently the hostels look after 65 inmates.

Brief History

During the early 1980s, the Thane region of Maharashtra , though industrially advanced, lacked facilities for the training of handicapped children. A group of socially committed individuals came forward to fill this void by starting ASTITVA.

Considering the scale and magnitude of the undertaking, it was decided to execute the task in phases starting with the school for the mentally retarded. ASTITVA in Sanskrit means existence and the name of the institute reflects the belief that the society needs to recognize the existence of the mentally retarded persons and other subnormal.  

¨      A plot of land measuring 2000 sq. metres was bought for Rs. 1.40 lac in April 1982.

¨      In October 1982, the wing for the deaf and mute started functioning.

¨      The first phase of construction was completed in June 1984.

¨      The sheltered workshop was started in June 1989.

¨      A hostel (separately for the boys and girls ) was started in January 1992 with 14 inmates.

¨      Construction of the complex was completed in March 1996 with a floor space of 25500 sq. feet, well furnished and sufficiently equipped with the aids as required for different categories of handicapped.

Schools for the mentally retarded

Education and training of the mentally retarded includes teaching self-dependence, gaining control over natural body rhythms, keeping the body clean, bathing, cleaning teeth and dressing one-self. Their I.Q. being very low, usually between20-70, even this basic training poses special challenge. The education and training of these children differs a lot from that of normal children, often requiring person specific programmes.

Currently, we have 135 mentally retarded children in the age group 4- 18 years. They are grouped in 12 divisions under the charge of 15 teachers assisted by 7 non-teaching staff. Students are classified according to the nature of their mental retardation (mild/moderate/severe) and also on the basis of the progress achieved in attending to daily routine activities.  

Sheltered Workshop

After students attain the age of 18 years, as required under the present regulations. They are transferred to the sheltered workshop. While we try our best to ensure that after attaining the age of 18 the child can understand some gainful activities, it is not the child is then absorbed.

Five mentally retarded students, after leaving the school, were in a position to secure small jobs else here on the recommendation of our school. We are also happy to record that five others have been placed most comfortably and gainfully.

We are conducting continuous research and development in the field of mental retardation with a view to finding newer methods of making these persons contribute positively to the society. Our staff does this with enthusiasm and missionary zeal without the slightest sense of complacency.  

Mook Badhir Prabodhini

We detect the extent of hearing disability of such a child as soon as possible. That helps in determining the power of a hearing aid as also to ascertain the method of training and development. The teachers also advice parents to involve these children in social functions so that they learn how to behave in the society.

We teach these children not only the subjects common to normal students such as languages, mathematics, history, science etc. but also certain skills like dancing, singing, drawing etc. We attach importance to giving them listening practice and speech training. We have a total complement of 75 students in the age group 4- 18 years. We carry on as an ongoing exercise the study of each child with a view to activating his other faculties to enable him to make his living after he leaves the school. Presently 9 teachers and 7 non- teaching staff members work in this faculty.

The divisions for the deaf and mute children are made according to their age they are placed under the charge of trained teachers who continuously monitor their progress with the help of assistant teachers, craft teachers etc. A speech therapist provides assistance to the teachers in deciding the methodology of teaching, the use of modern aids and in periodic assessment of the progress.

With the exception of hearing ability and speech all other facilities being normal, placing a deaf and mute child in some gainful activity is relatively easy. We have so far been able to secure gainful engagement to 53 of our students. Perhaps the number is higher since a number of parents have somehow not maintained contacts with us despite our sincere efforts to do so.  

Hostel for the mentally retarded

The second floor of the institute measuring 8500 square feet is earmarked for the hostel for the mentally retarded. There are two separate wings, one for males and the other for females. The hostel is equipped with all the facilities including a kitchen, recreation room and dining hall. A doctor pays regular visits to the hostel and prompt medical help is provided, including hospitalization. Unlike other facilities, the hostel is an ongoing activity without any holiday. Two rectors and sir caretakers are available on call all the time.

ASTITVA has assumed for itself the “life time” responsibility of its inmates. Although the parents/ guardians are required to pay a certain sum of money in respect of their children/ wards every month some do not follow the discipline. The institute however cannot afford to neglect an inmate on account of non-payment or delayed payments.

All the care is taken to ensure maintenance of cleanliness and hygienic atmosphere. A 4 KVA generator has been installed to ensure uninterrupted working of the washing machines, water purifiers, coolers, refrigerators and other equipment.  

For ASTITVA the inmates are not a burden. We are in the constant pursuit of achieving their overall development besides making their life comfortable and enjoyable rather than being content in just “maintaining” them. Towards the end, we provide facilities for games like cricket, football and badminton. Twice a year we organize outdoor excursions.  They are also taken to participate in different tournaments organized at the district / state and national levels, be it sports, cultural programmes, drawing competitions, music or group events. In order that they do not nurture the feeling of inferiority, their birthdays are celebrated with a pomp and show. We also invites the parents at such celebrations.

Future Plans

ASTITVA, as it stands today, has been created with a total investment of about Rs. 60 Lacs. With the reputation of the institution and rising pressures of population, the present infrastructure has proved inadequate to meet the increasing demands for its services.

We have decided to undertake an expansion of the existing facilities and also add some new activities. We are happy to report that the plot of land measuring 2600 sq. meters, adjacent to the existing complex, has been allotted free by the MIDC.

It is proposed to construct a complex, similar to the existing one, with a total floor space of about 26000 sq. feet on this newly acquired plot of land. The following is proposed in the new complex.  

¨      Expansion of all the existing facilities.

¨      A compact but well equipped medical center to cater to the needs of the institution inmates. In addition this would also meet the needs of the growing local population.

¨      A workshop to manufacture equipment needed for the physically handicapped. There is considerable local scarcity of such aids and equipment.

¨      A library and resources center on all facilities of the handicapped.

¨      A conference hall to accommodate around 200 delegates.

The total expenditure for the execution of all the above projects is estimated at Rs. 200 lacs. We would be most delighted to provide any information that would enable you to make a decision.

Awards and accolades

The students of ASTITVA regularly receive awards in the annual Special Olympics for mentally retarded and at other cultural events. Two recent awards are noted here. Tushar Ghadigaonkar won the first prize for “Spot Jump” at the state level sports events organized by the Government of Maharashtra. Prajit Patil bagged the first prize in the Camlin Drawing Competition open for all, handicapped and normal children alike.

In Dombivli, ASTITVA has become an icon of social commitment. As a testimony to that status, the institute’s founder president Dr. Suresh Adker was conferred the title of “Dombivli Bhushan” by the people of the town.  

Ms. Seems Gokhale, an alumnus who was later absorbed in the institute, as a craft teacher was the recipient of the President’s Award in 1989 for combating her handicap- deafness.

Distinctive Features

The school largest institution in its category in the sate Maharashtra .

The only institute in the state Maharashtra catering to the needs of different categories of handicaps under one root.

Significant participation from the local community. The first fund raising drive in 1982 was flagged off by Mr. Ashok Gori, himself a handicapped person. Rs. 17000 was collected on the day of the fundraising. A large number of voluntary workers provide regular and valuable support to the institute in its various activities, particularly the workshop.

The sheltered workshop is the first of its kind recognized by the department of social welfare, Government of Maharashtra in the district of Thane.

If the circumstances so demand, once a mentally retarded child enters ASTITVA he remains in the institute forever.  

Present Donors and Patrons

Kagzi family, Kalyan Municipal Corporation, Shri Sai Shirdi Sanstha, Shri Siddivinayak Temple Trust, Shri Mahalakshmi Temple Charities, Mumbai and hundreds of philanthropic individuals and commercial organisation have provided generous support to ASTITVA.

The Maharashtra industrial development corporation (MIDC) has allotted a plot of land adjacent to the present premises free of cost.

Besides, the students of different school in Dombivali and Thane have collected substantial donations from the members of the community.  

Astitva Trust, Dombivali

Name                                             Designation
Dr. Suresh Vadkar                            Founder President
Mr. Manohar P. Sadekar                    President
Mr. Shashikant P Shinde                    Vice President
Mr. Balakrishna G. Karve                    Secretary
Mr. Prabhakar Y. Mungekar                Treasurer
Mr. Surendra N. Bajpai                       Jt. Secretary
Mr. Dilip S. Bhamre                            Trustee  

We Need You

The institution receives grants from the Government of Maharashtra and that takes care of the major portion of the running expenses. The remaining expenditure, mainly pertaining to the hostel is financed partly by the parents/ guardians of the inmates and partly from donor support. We need your support both in the proposed expansion project and also in meeting the funds shortfall in the day-to-day running of the institute.

We sincerely urge you to be part of the mission of ASTITVA. Please make cash donation to ASTITVA. Any amount is most valuable to us. Donations in kind that would help us either in the execution of the new project or in meeting the running expenses of the school are also most welcome.

ASTITVA is registered under the societies registration Act, 1860 and the Bombay public trusts act, 1950. Astitva observes high standards of statutory compliance. The institution is not affiliated to any religious or political organisation.

The donation to ASTITVA are eligible for grant of exemption for the purpose of income tax under section 80G of the income tax Act. The institute also accepts donations in foreign currency under FCRA section 6(1)(a) of the Act, Registration Number: 083990038

Donation may please be made by a crossed cheque or by a demand draft favoring ASTITVA payable at Mumbai.  

Contact Us

Prahladrai Kagzi Institute For Handicapped
Plot No. 8 A, M.I.D.C. Phase 1
Kalyan Road
Dombivli (E)
Thane 421203
Karmayogi:  Mr. Manohar P Sadekar, President
                 Ms. Shobha Gaikwad, Principal
Tel: 0251-2471358, 2421279