Get involved in YOUR city and locality - Improve Your World
Get involved in YOUR city and locality - Improve Your World
Get involved in YOUR city and locality 
Improve Your World Home | About Us | Sitemap | Search | Contact Us 

Home >> NPOs >> Helen Keller Institute for Deaf & Deafblind (HKIDB)

Helen Keller Institute for Deaf & Deafblind.
Municipal Secondary School , South Wing,
Ground Floor, N. M. Joshi Marg,
Near 'S' Bridge, Byculla (West),
Mumbai - 400 011.
Tel: 2308 7052 / 2301 9215 
Fax: 2301 8211


It all began in 1977 when three experienced teachers of the Deaf asked themselves a question: "Who is a deaf multiply handicapped / Deafblind child?" This child was already on our doorstep then. The Helen Keller Institute is a school managed by an Executive Committee which is an administrative body titled as, "The Helen Keller Institute for the Deaf and Deafblind." The Institute is registered with the Charity Commissioner under the Societies Registration Act 1860 and the Bombay Public Trust Act of 1950 and with the Commissioner of Income Tax under Section 80-G of the Income Tax Act 1961 under section 35 AC for 100 % exemption under Income Tax Act. Thus we established, "The Helen Keller Institute for Deaf and Deafblind" on July 11, 1977 with 2 Deafblind children, 1 deaf child, 3 teachers, a group of Committee Members and Rs.150/-, in the home of one of the teachers. It is now a pioneering institute in India , in fact in Asia , to start a programme for Deafblind children. Its commitment came from the belief that, "No one is incapable of being taught and no one can do without education. It is the fundamental birthright of every child to be loved and to be educated. It is also the first institute in India to follow the philosophy of "TOTAL COMMUNICATION" in teaching the Deaf, Deaf Multiply Handicapped and Deafblind. Its vision is to create, build and develop services for the Deaf / Deaf Multiply Handicapped / Deafblind children and young adults through Day-Care/Residential Facilities and other ancillary services.                                                                                   

Mission Objectives:

Our thrust is towards the community's acceptance as a joint partnership responsibility with the child's family and educators. This is how we try to achieve it by preparing our own children. As envisaged in the Memorandum of our Institute we offer the following services to provide a Quality of Life to every deaf and Deafblind child:

     Free / subsidized education, transport, nutrition, hearing aids, and medical facilities, uniform.

     Counseling services for children, teachers and parents.

     Pre-vocational training and every effort to rehabilitate him / her in the society.

     Free / subsidized residential facilities for Deafblind children residing outside Mumbai.

The Institute has helped educate and train 32 Deafblind children and 130 deaf children, since its inception in July 1977. At present, the Institute has 25 Deafblind and 64 deaf children on its roll. The institute is now recognized nationally and internationally and is aided by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, New Delhi and Women, Child and Handicapped Development Office, Maharashtra . It has two separate schools - one for deaf, another for Deafblind children, and a special residential unit for Deafblind children residing outside Mumbai. 


President & Trustee:  Mr. Suryakant Dalal
Vice President: Mr. Suresh Ahuja
Chairman, Fund Raising: Mr. Ram Gandhi
Hon. Treasurers & Trustees: Mr. Sudit Parekh, Mr. Purvez Boywala
Hon. Secretary & Trustee: Mr. Arun Mehra
Hon. Jt. Secretary: Mrs. Perviz M. Billimoria
Members: Mr. Eruch S. Hodiwalla, Mr. Ashok Pamani
Hon. Founder Director Consultant: Ms. Beroz N. Vacha
General Manager: Mr. Nagaraj Nayak
Principal - Deafblind Section: Mrs. Reena Bhandari
Principal - Deaf section: Mrs. Shubhangi Bandekar
Vocational Training Center (Deafblind): Sanjay Mungi
Resource Manager: Ajay Shukla  



Early Intervention:

Early interventions can be better understood as a stage where parents of the deaf-blind child are trained to handle the child with his disability and help them to learn to handle the child better. The age group for this stage is 2 to 7 years. The child also learns to understand his environment.  

Regular school :

In this stage the child is in the age group of 7 to 15 yrs. He has to attend school regularly as a part of this learning process. In this stage the child equips himself with varied skills. Tactile, mobility, washing, toileting, and communication skills. The stage is of using his abilities to the best.   

Vocational Training Unit:

Under vocational training the individual is taught various arts and product making so that he can become a independent person. At Helen Keller the child learn to jewellery making, candle making, domestic science, nursery plantations and many other arts are taught to enhance the earning power of the individual.   

Hostel Facility:

There is a hostel facility, which has been provided to the children of Helen Keller. This facility is for out stationed students. 

Counseling Center :

A counselor has been provided to handle parents to cope better with the children and also children to handle the pressure to daily life and enjoy what they have.   

Diagnostic Center :

The diagnostic center at Helen Keller is one of the premier institutes in India . At the diagnostic center the functional skills of the students are assessed and determined the level of understanding. As per the assessment the individual is trained and then again his learning abilities are tested for improvements and further training requirements are ascertained.  


Day program:

In the day program the individuals attend classes and learning sessions with various teachers.   

Early Intervention:

Early intervention is deaf student case is similar to deaf blind student. At this stage the child is in the age group of 2 to 7. The parents are asked to be a part of the learning of the child.   

Regular school :

In this stage the child is in the age group of 7 to 15 years. The child is taught various kinds of communication skills. Oral, Aural and Manual communication skills are imparted to the child.  

Vocational Training:

Vocational training is given to the child as per his ability to perform. They are taught how to make pillow covers, stitching, stuff toy making, wall hanging and decorative items.  

Counseling center:

A counselor has been provided to handle parents to cope better with the children and also children to handle the pressure to daily life and enjoy what they have.  


We at Helen Keller institute are always looking for young and bright people who would like to join us in our journey to make the world a better and a more worth while place to live in. We conduct a diploma course at Helen Keller for candidates who are interested to become teachers at the deaf blind institute.  


We at Helen Keller institute have also established a computer center in order to impart computer training to our students. Click here to read a report. 



At Helen Keller we also believe that constant research in communication techniques will help to reach newer heights in the lives of the deaf blind. Therefore we conduct research also to develop and use various techniques to communicate with the children.  


One very important part of the education of the child is to come comfortable with his environment and his body. To help there are various exercises that are taught to the child at the center. This keeps his body fits and also develops confidence in him.   


At the institute a state of the art swimming center is made for the children. This swimming pool is used for hydrotherapy in which the students learns to become comfortable with his body and confidence building is done by letting the child learn how to mange himself in water.  


Massages are given to children with stiff body movements and helping them assess their environment. Under occupational therapy the children with dysfunctional body movements are improved.  


July 11, 1977

The modest living room in the home of one of our teachers. Under the auspices of The Society for Special Education for the Deaf the 'Institute for Deaf and the Deaf-Blind' is initiated with just three children (1 deaf and 2 deaf-blind), two teachers and limited funds.

The Institute shifts to new premises in Byculla (West). We celebrate our third anniversary by re-christening our school the 'Helen Keller Institute for the Deaf and Deaf-Blind,' in memory of the renowned lady who overcame her triple handicaps of being deaf, blind and mute.

December 1999
This is to introduce you to our new complex - Helen Keller Institute for Deaf & Deafblind, Aditya Birla Center . MIDC contributed 1 acre of land at a token sum of Rs. 4,000/-. The building is named Aditya Birla Center because Shrimati Rajashreeji Birla donated Rs. 1 Crore for the construction of the building in memory of her late husband Shri Aditya Birla. This magnificent donation donation gave us the thrust to start building construction. 

The building was completed by December 1999 and in the year 2000 it started operating. We were able to operate because of the several donors who saw our vision & donated big sums of money towards different rooms.


Pradip Sinha a Deafblind-Assistant in the Braille Workshop received the all India Cavin Kare Ability Award in Madras in the year March 2003 through the hands of Justice Anand (Ex-Chief Justice of India). This award is for being the first outstanding Deafblind person to master computer education.  

Our Director Beroz Vacha is the recipient of the following National & International awards for pioneerig services for the Deafblind. She acknowledges here the immense involvement & contribution of the staff & the full support & faith which the Executive Committee has reposed in her and which has today put Helen Keller Institute for Deaf & Deafblind as one of the outstanding educational Institutions.  

1. January 1990 - In recognition of the outstanding services to the cause of the Deafblind. The NAB India awarded the prestigious "Rustom Merwanji Alpaiwala Memorial Award"  

2. December 3, 1997 - The National Presidential Award for the welfare of people with disabilities in Public Recognition for her outstanding performance in the field of Welfare of people with Disabilities.  

3. August 1991 - At a ceremony in Sweden the International Award "The Ann Sullivan Medal" was presented for achievements, contribution and efforts in pioneering the work for the Deafblind in India .  


Although we had established all the basic facilities at the grassroots level for the Deafblind children residing out of Mumbai - space was our biggest hurdle in implementing expansion of our programme. Our big boost came when M.I.D.C came forward and gave us one acre of land at Mahape, Vashi in 1993 to build our school building which gave us a thrust in expanding our activities. Smt. Rajashreeji Birla in memory of Shri Aditya Birla donated a sum of almost 1 crore from the G. D. Birla Medical and Educational Research Foundation to start the construction of the building now known as Helen Keller Institute of Deaf & deafblind - Aditya Birla Center Mahape, Navi Mumbai.

Christoffel Blindenmission , Germany gave funds to create classrooms and Audiometry cum Vision Stimulation Room for deafblind. They also funded the development of the Gymnasium cum Physiotherapy Room, Occupational Therapy Room, facilities of Hydrotherapy by construction of 2 swimming pools in collaboration with Diwaliben Mohanlal Mehta Charitable Trust & Castricum Muthutara - Holland .

Rodney Clark, the then Chief Executive of Sense UK , started fund raising and sent us his first contribution from from Sense UK for the construction of the Residential Facilities.  

we have a full-fledged Vocational Training Unit, which caters to Deafblind young adults offering training in making of jewellery, candles, paper bags, liquid soap etc. A plant nursery "Touch and Grow" has been started at the Aditya Birla Center where the plants will grow with the tender loving care of the Deafblind trainees in the vocational center. This is the first unit of its kind in India . The area space for this unit was donated by Rangoonwala Foundation UK in 1999 through Sense International UK.

we have started a Diagnostic Center through funding from Hilton Perkins International in September 2001 which reaches out to Deafblind children from all parts of India . It assess the vision, hearing, communication and physical level of functioning of multi handicapped children and offers remediation strategies for their education.

we have the Teacher Training Programme for the Deafblind - the first of its kind which is sponsored by Sense International ( India ) through funding from Rangoonwala Foundation , UK . This course is recognized by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment and the Rehabilitation Council of India. 

we are constructing an Auditorium and a Mini Conference thanks to ICICI.  

we have received donation of vehicles from Dorabji Tata Trust , Bharat Petroleum and Christoffel Blindenmission.  

Teacher Training Course 

Deafblind education in India took a new turn with the initiation of the first ever Teachers Training Course for Deafblind which started in July 2000. This as the first ever course in India and Asia . This is a Diploma Course of 10 months duration and an internship of 2 months after the course. The course comprises of intensive theoretical input and practical orientation in terms of hands-on experience with Deafblind children. This course is recognized by the Rehabilitation Council of India and is affiliated to the National Institute for the Visually Handicapped, Dehradun.  

The Teacher Training Programme is the single most important component of the system of Deafblind children's education & rehabilitation. Any flaw in this component is directly reflected into the failure of the whole system as it is the teacher himself who is in direct contact with the pupil.  

The faculty consists of a full time Coordinator cum Lecturer, who has been trained in the Perkins school for the Blind, USA in teaching children with vision impairments and additional disabilities, Mr. Mishra and experts from other institutions who regularly conduct lectures in their area of expertise - to name a few - Dr. Barbara Mcletchie, Mrs. Charlotte Cushman and Mr. Darrick Wright who conducted workshops for a week for the trainees about different topics related to Deafblindness.  

The Teacher Learning Process - another key component of the system, is a complex and broad concept. It encompasses all the factors contributory to learning in the environment where learning takes place, the material aids helpful in learning, the methods, models and maims of teaching, the interactions taking place between teacher - learner, learner - learner, & learner - teacher. It is a well-organized process based on sound, philosophical, psychological and sociological principles.  

To develop a pool of trained professionals for providing appropriate services to Deafblind children in different programmes.


To give the trainees many opportunities to learn about skills, methods and theories of therapeutic work with the Deafblind.

To give them opportunities for learning in groups alongside other experienced colleagues.

To provide the trainees with the opportunity to work on personal as well as professional development in a mutually supportive setting.

To give the trainees exposure to other units within Mumbai as well as outside Maharashtra such as Delhi, Dehradun, Ahmedabad, Chennai etc. in the form of two weeks educational tour.

The chance to work under guidance on small projects with different topics of importance to them.

To provide practical experience in working with Deafblind children.

To impart training in the areas of Assessment and Programme planning.

To expose and train teacher trainees in the various communication methods used by Deafblind such a sign Language, Braille, Object Communication etc.

To develop leadership qualities through various activities such as presentations, discussions etc.

To acquaint teacher trainees with the nature of the curriculum and the method of teaching children with Deafblindness in various settings like residential schools, day care centers, resource centers and center based programmes.

Vocational Training Unit 

Rehabilitation is a facilitative process which enable a person with a handicap to attain usefulness and satisfaction in life. It includes not only training of a disabled person, but also family and community involvement, adaptation of the environment and protection of human rights. Active participation of the family leads to complete rehabilitation. 

The process of selecting an appropriate Training programme for a Deafblind young adult involves the following:
Vocational Assessment
Vocational Guidance or Counseling
Vocational Training

Transitional or Pre-Vocational training involves teaching students:
Basic self care : dressing, toileting and clean habits.
Social Skills: good manners, interpersonal relationships.
Work Skills & Organization: Concept of time, coming to work on time, working for specified hours, sticking to a job even if he / she is fed up, not getting distracted easily, recognition of signs and letters, knowing the days of the week, ability to ask for assistance, having road sense, concept of money, traveling and so on.
Transitional  or Pre-Vocational Training involves exposing the Deafblind child to a variety of experiences that stimulate work situations and determine his / her preferences for certain jobs or skills. As Deafblind children grow they become ready for more formal and work related vocational training.

A Vocational Curriculum includes all areas of development:
Communication and Language
Self Care
Orientation & Mobility
Concepts of Time & Money
Fine Motor
Social & Emotional
Work related skills 
Recreation & Leisure Skills


The Employment options in both the urban and rural set up are: 

Open Employment: The student must be self-reliant in all areas.

Supported Employment: The student works in a non-segregated competitive work setting and is provided with support. The supporter will assist the student in finding a job and will provide on-site training. As the student learns the required tasks he needs less daily assistance, though the supporter will provide on going support and advocacy. 

Sheltered Employment: Skill levels of the student are assessed and jobs are assigned according to the students skill level.

Self Employment: The student must be  self-reliant, and have the skills to complete a job fully. It is also desirable that the student has money concept and good interpretation skills.  

Mini Braille Press 

The vision of starting the computerized Mini Braille Press as a challenge thrown to us by two of our very high functioning deafblind boys - Zamir and Pradip. 

With modifications of  hardware and software, teachers of children who are Deafblind and also older high functioning Deafblind persons having knowledge of Braille can take advantage of this exciting  technology to enhance communication development, educational activities and leisure time and much more beyond that.  

This unit could be established because of the generous donation from the British High Commission and Christoffel Blindenmission , Germany who bought the basic equipment and the Rangoonwala Foundation UK who have taken up this project since January 2002 for a period of three years.


The main objectives of this unit apart from training personnel and staff on the computers, Brailler printer and use of various equipment, are:
Development of communication at all levels which calls for different modes of communication as ell as sound language foundation.
To bring out a journal "Deafblindness in Asia ". The purpose of this newsletter is to be "a breakthrough in communication for all of us."
To produce materials in Braille which at the moment are non-existent. E.g. booklet containing pictures printed through the use of Braille graphics, different materials in Braille to create interest in reading by the Deafblind and also in large print for others who might be losing their vision gradually etc. These materials will be used not only by our children but we also intend to distribute them in schools for the blind who only have Braille syllabus text books as their full source of information.
The journal also contain a section of brain tickling articles. E.g. "Believe it or not", anecdotes, puzzles etc. and other interesting materials from magazines like Health, Bulletin, My Doctor, Reader's Digest etc.
To create a library of books not available in Braille.
The use of Mountbatten Brailler will allow the blind / Deafblind an instant copy of print into Braille and vice versa.
Down the line in three years we hope to make this an independent Income Generating Unit.

An appeal for hearing conservation & hearing aid program