The Ministry of Women and Child Development is organizing a national event to launch Anganwadi Protocol for Divyang Children, an important commitment under Poshan Bhi Padhai Bhi program of Mission Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0. The event which will be chaired by the Union Minister for Women and Child Development (WCD) and Minority Affairs, Smriti Zubin Irani, will be organized at Vigyan Bhawan tomorrow (28th November, 2023).

Union Minister Smriti Zubin Irani will deliver the Keynote Address. Munjpara Mahendrabhai, Minister of State MWCD and Ayush will also address the gathering. Indevar Pandey, Secretary, MoWCD, Sudhansh Pant, Secretary, MoHFW and Rajesh Aggarwal, Secretary, DEPwD will also participate in the programme. A panel discussion will highlight strategies for early identification, screening and inclusion at the Anganwadi Centre.

Senior Officers from MoHFW, DEPwD, and State WCD Secretaries and experts from key organizations such as NIMHANS are expected to attend. CDPOs, Lady Supervisors, Anganwadi Workers and ASHA workers from across the country will also partyicipate. Anganwadi workers with experience in working and caring for Divyang children would be invited to share their experiences and best practices. The main objective of the event is to highlight that overall improvement in children’s well-being through early intervention, specialized support and services for infants and young children at risk or with disability and/or developmental delay, is critical and possible.

Families and communities need to be educated and supported to improve Divyang children’s participation in family and community life. Reaching out to over eight crore children from birth to six years on a daily basis, the Anganwadi eco-system is a critical access point for building the base of the country’s children, in order to secure their future. As per the National Education Policy 2020, integration of Divyang students into mainstream schools should be prioritized, rather than establish segregated educational institutions.

The National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage 2022 further recommends approaches to addressing developmental delays and disability in schools, including advice on signs and symptoms. In pursuance of these approaches, Poshan Bhi Padhai Bhi program has adopted the national ECCE Taskforce recommendation for play-based and activity-based learning pedagogy and strongly advocates special and timely support for Divyang children.

According to the Draft National Policy For Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) (2021), one-third of most disabilities in India are estimated to be preventable, if they are detected early enough and adequately addressed. Through Poshan Bhi Padhai Bhi’s targeted focus on strengthening the foundation for India’s future generations, 13.9 Lakh Anganwadi centers will be up-skilled to adopt a multi-sensory and toy-based approach to address the different needs of children.

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