Fellow Since 1994
This profile was prepared when Purobie Bose was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1994.
The New Idea
Many of the disabled children in India, as elsewhere in the world, cope not only with their major diagnosis but also with other related impairments and psychological and social pressures. If they are to be integrated into any society beyond the family or receive any support beyond its resources, their parents must seek out and coordinate impersonal and fragmented rehabilitation services: a task few have the resources to do. This insight caused Purobie Bose to develop and institutionalize an alternative system of integrated services and the management training to deliver them in big cities, villages and homes. She has described her work as steering kids, parents and services on a journey through a maze. Purobie's model helps disabled children to enter society and strengthens their parents. Her work reflects her respect for the indigenous ethos as she searches for solutions to the intertwined problems of disability, poverty and low state budgets for assistance. In particular Purobie leverages the spirit of volunteerism that is part of Indian society generally and found perhaps most profoundly within the family. Purobie discovered very early on that she could help children most by working with their parents: "Parents and the family seemed to be the most important logical point of strengthening; after all, social collaborations were the mainstays of all our lives here in India. During the course of my work, I had wonderful experiences with parents and was motivated by the things that they did for their children, including them naturally into their lives, trying to remember all those details that we had advised them to take care of. Kids with disabilities just blossomed where parents, family, householders took the leading teacher role."