Sonalee Shyamsunder is a Political Science graduate from Ruia College. Her inquisitive nature coupled with a desire to know social realities resulted in her Masters degree from Mumbai University followed by a diploma in human rights. Sonalee then undertook her personal journey of finding solutions to the various existing social challenges by her professional choices. She worked as a reporter with print media and with various non governmental organizations. Sonalee Founded Urmi foundation in 2011 and has not looked back since. Her honest intention to serve the developmentally disabled was seeded in her during a trip to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is the land where the developmentally disabled are viewed as an opportunity to serve the divine. Sonalee came back with high spirits and a firm decision to make a difference to the lives of many affected by the decision to close down BMC schools. Since 2011 Sonalee and her team have reached out to as many people as possible and have left a significant impact on their lives.
Urmi Foundation was founded in 2011 with an aim to work for children with developmental disability. It became a registered NGO in 2012 and in order to start its journey, intense research and analysis was carried out in order to understand the social, economical, and cultural context of children with development disabilities and their families. The research unveiled that more than 60% such special children lacked schooling facilities and their families weren’t aware of the adverse consequences that would follow if these children weren’t provided proper care.
Urmi Foundation's main goal is to aid special needs children ease into the education system, become independent and avoid the risk of physical degeneration and continued social exclusion. Urmi Foundation aims to support every disabled child form the low-income communities of Mumbai. We started our intervention with 1 school and currently Urmi is running 11 community schools, which is supporting 2000+ beneficiaries.
The Urmi School in Kamathipura is the first school in red-light supporting special children with disabilities. In most cases, the educational rights of the child are denied. In 2018, Urmi started its unique project at Kamathipura i.e. red light area of Mumbai to support children with disabilities. The mothers and children living in these communities are extra vulnerable, often facing physical and emotional violence.
The project at Kamathipura implements therapeutic and educational activities to the disabled children. However, these children being extra vulnerable, we need specialized support. We need psychological intervention and legal aid personnel so that we can assure safety and protection of the children and their mothers. Your support will enhance emotional wellbeing of the special children and their mothers and also ensure their safety and legal protection.