Ummeed means Hope. The name is quite appropriate for a foundation that supports differently abled children, as circumstances often demand infinite hope in moments of perennial despair.
Ummeed foundation is located in the bustling suburb of Mumbra, around 40 kms from Mumbai, India. Mumbra is densely populated with members of the Muslim community, most of whom live in abject poverty. Although the foundation consists of a small appartment with tiny classrooms, it remains the only beacon of hope for hundreds of underprivileged Muslim families, as it serves as a school and sanctuary for their children with special needs.
“Special needs” is an umbrella underneath which a staggering array of diagnoses can be placed. Children with special needs may have mild learning disabilities or profound cognitive impairment; food allergies or terminal illness; developmental delays that catch up quickly or remain entrenched; occasional panic attacks or serious psychiatric problems.
In spite of it’s limited resources and a space crunch, the Ummeed foundation boasts of a team of highly qualified teachers and professionals that are well equipped to impart lessons and cultivate skills that help the children to overcome their challenges. In many instances, the foundation even provides free medical and health care to the children, along with counselling for their parents.
Mr Parvez Farid, founder of Ummeed says,
“When I established the foundation in 2011, the biggest roadblock we faced, were the parents. As the families were already reeling under debt and hardships, the burden of a handicapped child was too much to bear for the agonising parents. The children were often meted out with ill treatment, some were even tied up and locked away.
It took a great deal of convincing on our part and many hours of counselling to make the parents understand that the children needed their constant love, support and encouragement. It is my firm belief that most of these children can become an active part of society and reach their full potential, if given a chance.”
A delegation of the World Memon Organisation from the Far East Chapter, personally visited Ummeed and witnessed the brilliant work being done under its banner. They were saddened by the crammed spaces that packed the children like tin sardines, within the confined walls of the school and pledged one hundred thousand dollars towards the foundation. The contribution will enable them to buy a much larger piece of land in the same neighbourhood, for the purpose of building a bigger premise to create an environment more conducive to the children’s mental, emotional, psychological and physical needs.
The World Memon Organisation stands firm with Ummeed in their resolute efforts to support the children with special needs. If we can bring a smile on the faces of these little angels, if we can play a small role in making their lives a bit better, if we can provide them with a brighter future, if we can care for them, enough to help them learn, grow and live their lives to the fullest.
The Ummeed foundation has given us that hope and hope springs eternal!