According to a survey conducted by the local authorities, there are more than 3,500 persons with disabilities in Sindhudurg district without any worthwhile support from the government or social organizations. We were helping persons with disabilities from the district on a needs basis. However, we always wanted to have a physical presence there. Fortunately, Mangaonkar family donated 12 acres of land by a gift deed. The land was barren and uneven. The site was surrounded on three sides by river Karli which made the project site inaccessible during four months of monsoon. However, we had a dream of building a project for comprehensive rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.
We strived with all resources at our command. Several well wishers came forward with financial and help in the form of equipment and sound advice. Gradually the project started taking shape. We experimented with agriculture growing rice, peanuts, vegetables, and fruits. We realized that these projects are not very suitable for employment of the disabled. We had to look for something else.
Cashew is a major cash crop in Sindhudurg. We realized that a lot of cashew is sent to neighboring states for processing, and hence there is a good demand for cashew processing. Moreover, this activity can be done by the disabled even while sitting in their wheel chairs. We visited nearby cashew units and learnt the processes. In the meantime Consulate General of Japan, Mumbai sponsored construction of cashew unit workshop building and dormitory rooms for thirty male vocational trainees. Manos Unidas of Spain had sponsored construction of the hostel building. Public Works department constructed a submersible bridge on the river and now the project is accessible round the year. With help from several donors and well wishers we started in a small way by processing two tons of raw cashew. Gradually the quantum was increased and the rest – as they say – is history. We are now in a position to process up to 275 tons of raw cashew per year.
Swapna Nagari Hostel-cum-Rehabilitation Centre
Established: April 2001
At Village: More, Post: Wados, Tal: Kudal, Dist: Sindhudurg.
Cumulative Capital Cost incurred to date: Rs.299.54 Lakhs
Requirement for recurring expenses for current year: Rs. 31 Lakhs
From 1 April 2016, activities of Swapna Nagari project are being carried out under the auspices of HandiHelp Welfare Foundation, a company formed under Section 8 (Formerly Section 25) of the Companies Act. The Foundation provides comprehensive rehabilitation facilities to persons with disabilities. At Swapna Nagari,we provide vocational training in cashew processing, farming, plantation, etc.
This project spread over (12) acres of donated land has emerged as a major centre for vocational training and employment of persons with disabilities. Currently, there are 99 staff and trainees among them 77 are physically challenged. 44 vocational trainees, staff, and those admitted for rehabilitation reside in the hostel dormitories, 17 stay at staff quarters with their families and 11 commute from nearby places. We provide them comfortable lodging, full boarding, medical aid, appliances, stipends and salaries.