S.P.J. Sadhana School is a special school for mentally challenged individuals – by Sadhana School referred to as the “specially-abled” – situated in Mumbai, India. The school was founded in 1973 by Durga Jain, a mother of a down-syndrome girl with autistic traits who wanted to provide her daughter with the best education possible. This required according to her sadhana, “consistent devoted effort”.
One teacher who fully embodied and further evolved this philosophy is Radhike Khanna, today’s vice-principal and director of curriculum of S.P.J. Sadhana School. Together with her team, she developed the school into one of the most renowned special schools in India with international recognition.
It is particularly the holistic educational approach combined with its deep embeddedness in the Indian culture that makes the school unique. A huge therapy section and activities such as yoga and meditation support rather academic subjects which enable its students to develop as whole human beings. The five-year polytechnic courses that range from the Office Procedure to the Visual Arts & Crafts Department are the flagship of the school. The variety of activities allows students to follow their passion and receive in-depth training that prepares them for the requirement of the job market. However, they not only become financially productive citizens, but they also participate as confident and responsible members of their communities and are able to enrich society with their individual gifts.
The school’s rate of 93% in placing students into employment proves the effectiveness of Sadhana School’s integral educational approach.
In 2015/16, Trans4m’s Junior Fellow Silvan Büchler has spent six months in India, actively working with S.P.J. Sadhana School on developing the V.P. Purnatva Integral Education Model. Building on Silvan’s contribution, Sadhana School is now launching an official book, sharing its unique approach with the world at large.