Vibha Krishnamurthy

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2007


This profile was prepared when Vibha Krishnamurthy was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.
The New Idea
There are an estimated 35 million children in India with developmental disabilities, yet with only a handful of developmental pediatricians in the country, and with diagnostic and therapeutic medical services equally rare, few of these children have access to the care and support they deserve. 
To transform the way families and professionals are able to diagnose, and care for developmentally disabled children, Ummeed is a comprehensive, service-provider model that empowers families to, with support and training from professionals, care for their children with fewer resources and a diminished reliance on expensive doctors and therapists.
Ummeed is a first-of-its kind center where early and accurate diagnosis of development disabilities is followed by in-house professional medical and therapeutic care. Training and education programs for parents follow so that families can continue proper care and therapy at home. In a medical system that rarely works in a cooperative and coordinated manner to provide the best care for patients, Ummeed provides medical and therapeutic professionals with the opportunity to work in tandem, as resident physicians, building relationships and empowering parents.
As parents learn from professionals, receive counseling, and learn care and therapies they can provide for their children at home, Ummeed also trains those interested to provide training and support for other families who come to Ummeed. Through this training, Vibha hopes to expand the reach of Ummeed far beyond its physicians and diagnostics to reach children and families across India and the entire disability sector.
To further include underprivileged areas that may not otherwise utilize Ummeed’s services, Vibha is partnering with citizen organizations (CO) that work with disadvantaged children in non-formal schools and nurseries. She is also training teachers to diagnose disorders so that they may modify school curricula to children’s learning pace and capacity, and acquaint parents of children with basic caregiving skills for different disabilities. Through Ummeed’s in-house work with children and families, outreach to schools and COs, and work with the media and academia, it has already benefited 5,000 families in Mumbai.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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