The Indian American Education Foundation (IAEF), a not-for-profit, tax exempt organization, was created (May 2000 in Seattle, Washington) by a group of concerned individuals dedicated to elevating the quality of life for children with disabilities in India as well as to educating the mainstream Americans about the Indian American community and its heritage. The foundation is committed to providing educational support and resources to children who are visually impaired, hearing impaired, mentally challenged, autistic, physically disabled (with polio and down syndrome), and economically disadvantaged through charitable organizations (NGOs) in India who have a well-established track record in educating children with disabilities. The network of these partners extends from Leh (Ladakh) in the North to Cochin in the South and from Mumbai to Guwahati.
Despite India’s impressive economic growth since the 1990s, disparities between the rich and the poor continue to grow. Millions of Indians live in poverty, without adequate sanitation, healthcare or education. What’s more, an estimated 10% of India’s population suffers from some form of disability. Because disability has been traditionally viewed as a stigma, handicapped people are among the most marginalized members of society. Children with mental and physical handicaps are typically viewed as inferior and thus denied the opportunity to mix with their peers. They are often denied access to the most basic human rights, including healthcare and education, condemning many to a cycle of chronic poverty.
Improve the conditions of children with disabilities by:
Raising awareness about the plight of children with disabilities and the perils of discrimination and segregation of the disabled.
Supporting integrated educational programs that minimize the gap between the disabled and the able-bodied children through skill-based learning and vocational training.
Educating mainstream America about the Indian American community.
To become a central resource for information and support to institutions engaged in educating and training children with disabilities in India.
To fill the critical need for trained special education teachers, expand the Voice and Vision India: National Resource and Training Centre for Children with Vision Impairment and Additional Disabilities (an IAEF joint venture with Perkins School for the Blind (Boston)).
Teacher Training Programs
The Voice and Vision (V&V) program was created to establish in India a community of professionals working with children who are deafblind or visually impaired with additional disabilities. V&V continues to develop materials that will be useful for training staff who work with deafblind or visually impaired children. For instance, in 2013 V&V has trained nearly 900 teachers, therapists and families throughout India.
IAEF also sponsors teachers from India to receive training for autistic/spastic children at the Hope Center of William Beaumont Hospital (Detroit).
India Research & Scholarship Endowments
IAEF endowments established at US universities, in partnership with local communities, offer annual scholarships to support research projects on India. If interested in setting up an endowment at the university of your choice, contact IAEF.
High School Library Project
IAEF donates outstanding books about India to high school libraries throughout the US. Our current selection is the internationally acclaimed India Unveiled by Robert Arnett, winner of three National Book Awards. To date, IAEF has distributed India Unveiled to over 6000 schools in the US.
India Unveiled Photograph Exhibit
IAEF donates sets of India Unveiled Photograph Exhibit to educational institutions and community organizations in the US to use as a tool for learning about India and Indian culture.
IAEF arranges and provides financial support to college students in the US to spend 1—3 months at a non-government (NGO) educational institution in India to participate in the learning programs/activities for children with disabilities – an ideal opportunity for American students to learn about India’s culture and educational system as well as about disabilities.
IAEF works both in India and the US. Accordingly, the organization is run by a Board of Directors (all of our Directors – currently four from India and six from the US – are affiliated with institutions of higher learning), a Board of Trustees, and associates who volunteer their services. IAEF maintains no office or paid employees so 100% of donor contributions are invested in supporting its educational programs.