• Note from Team Ummeed
  • SELebrating Inclusion Summit
  • Differently Together: Inclusion in Education
  • Meet the Friendships Awareness Campaign
  • World Autism Awareness Day and World Autism Month: April 2021
  • Important Tips on Parenting during the Pandemic
  • Know Your Rights Video
  • Apna Adda
  • Research Articles by Ummeedians
  • Family Resource Centre


Walt Whitman said, “Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you” and that is exactly what we, at Ummeed, have done this year.

We’ve reached the midway mark of yet another challenging year and despite the uncertainties of the pandemic, we have created our very own brand of Ummeed “sunshine”.

We share with you some of our recent events, campaigns and other exciting updates.

In the spotlight are:

SELebrating Inclusion Summit held in April 2021 which focused on socio-emotional learning (SEL) and inclusion, jointly hosted by Ummeed and Apni Shala.

Differently Together: Inclusion in Education -- a document of inclusive practices in education in India, compiled by Ummeed’s School Outreach Team.

#MeetTheFRIENDships awareness campaign in March 2021, a documentation and celebration of the friendships of young people with disabilities and their friends.

World Autism Awareness Day and World Autism Month in April 2021 during which we stressed on the themes of Early Signs and Self-Advocacy. This time, we went beyond the virtual space of social media and shared print ads in regional newspapers as well.

Important Tips on Parenting during the Pandemic, a set of videos which share practical and empathetic tips and suggestions on how parents can take care of their mental health as well as that of their children. 

Know Your Rights video which emphasizes the importance of obtaining a Disability Certificate. It highlights the broadly applicable rights and benefits that families of children with disabilities can avail of through the certificate.

Apna Adda, a support group and safe space for young adults with disabilities facilitated by Ummeed’s Mental Health Team.

Research by Ummeedians: We are thrilled to share three recently published, outstanding research papers which have been co-authored by Ummeedians.

Family Resource Center: Lastly we are excited and happy to share that we have launched the Family Resource Center at Ummeed. This will be a safe and accepting space where families and professionals can work together to help all children with disabilities and their families.

We have created a separate social media handle for Ummeed’s training updates which will share information on all upcoming trainings. Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook on @UmmeedTrainingUpdates

Just like the first half of this year, we hope to continue to spread our brand of sunshine to all our children, our families and the communities that work with us.

Stay safe.

SELebrating Inclusion Summit

Apni Shala and Ummeed believe that change is possible only when all those that are part of the context come together to make systems more inclusive and conducive to social and emotional wellbeing. With this in mind, Apni Shala and Ummeed held the SELebrating Inclusion Summit (SIS) on the 23rd and 24th of April 2021.

Held as an online gathering and hosted on the Zoom platform, SIS focused on socio-emotional learning (SEL) and inclusion. Discussions were broadly divided among three thematic areas: Systems, Stories and Spaces of Wellbeing.

The Summit brought together more than 600 individuals, organisations, policy makers, schools, educational institutions, families, educators, and other individuals working towards making the education system more inclusive, safe and focused on the wellbeing of children with disabilities.

Each day saw multiple panel discussions on a range of topics such as the development of inclusive systems; discussions on SEL in public education systems; impact of including diverse learners' needs on access to SEL; mindsets, resources, and support systems to make inclusion possible; implementing SEL curriculum; and making SEL and inclusion a reality at scale. Each of these sessions had between 150-250 participants in attendance. In addition, there were spaces of well-being in the form of workshops which sought to nurture the well-being of all participants.

The SELebrating Inclusion Summit (SIS) is envisioned to be an annual gathering and we hope to welcome all our participants in 2022!


- It was a great learning experience, panelists were spot on and their experience was very useful in terms of understanding SEL work.

- You were able to bring a human touch to an online conference which was absolutely amazing! It felt so nice to get the feel of an in-person conference online. The "ask me your questions" volunteer who took all participant questions and the facilitated interactive sessions really made this conference very person friendly, easy to navigate and most importantly gave it a human touch.

Differently Together: Inclusion in Education

At Ummeed, we believe that inclusion is much more than the mere enrollment of children with special needs and mental health concerns in regular classrooms. Inclusive schools acknowledge that a child’s academic potential cannot be developed separately from the socio-emotional development of children and that this is intimately connected with all other learning at school.

Ummeed’s School Outreach Team has developed a document of inclusive practices (covering both the academic and social aspects of inclusion) at different levels within school systems across India. The intention of this document is to build awareness about the need to include children with disabilities in mainstream education. This document titled Differently Together: Inclusion in Education aims to inspire and encourage various stakeholders working within the ambit of education to take back ideas to make their own school an inclusive and safe space for all children, especially for children with disabilities. The document was launched at the SELebrating Inclusion Summit on 24th April 2021, with several key members from the education sector.

The document may be accessed and downloaded through a specially-created microsite housed on Ummeed’s website. Please share this document widely so that we can bring about a change in the education system that we all hope for. If you know a principal or educator who wants to learn more contact schooloutreachteam@ummeed.org

In March 2021, Ummeed launched the #MeetTheFRIENDships campaign which was a celebration of the friendships of young people with disabilities through videos and picture blogs. This initiative provided a platform for young persons with disabilities to share their stories of friendship breaking stereotypes through the seemingly ‘everyday-type’ video stories. The bilingual (English and Hindi) selfies, videos, and photo blogs were shared on Ummeed's social media accounts all through the month with a reach of over 125,000 people and engagement (likes, shares and comments) of 2,000+.

This campaign provided unique insights into friendships of young people with disabilities, reflecting the core values of all friendships – trust, honesty, loyalty, and great camaraderie.

FriendSHIPS Illustration

World Autism AWARENESS DAY AND WORLD AUTISM Month: April 2021

Given the continuing restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) campaign focused on two themes:

  1. Early Identification
  2. Empowerment and Self-Advocacy

The campaign primarily leveraged the strength of social media and online platforms and garnered a reach of over 140,000 people and engagement (like, shares and comments) of 1,600+.

A mix of bilingual videos highlighted what families and therapists want the general public to know about autism. The videos shared a positive and empowered approach to parenting, reflecting Ummeed’s family-centered approach to care and therapy.

An exciting live Instagram session was aired with Dr. Koyeli Sengupta, developmental paediatrician and director of Autism Services at Ummeed.

On 29th April 2021, Ummeed placed a print advertisement in Mumbai in three regional languages (Marathi, Hindi and Gujarati) highlighting the need to ‘learn the signs and act early’.

Important Tips on Parenting during the Pandemic

At the peak of the second wave of the pandemic, Ummeed created two videos on ‘Parenting’. The videos were in response to the heightened anxiety due to the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases and related deaths across the country. The English and Hindi videos titled, “Important Tips on Parenting during these Challenging Times” and कोविड लॉकडाउन के दौरन पालको के लिए जरूरी सुझाव respectively featured Ummeed’s developmental pediatricians sharing practical and empathetic tips and suggestions on how parents can take care of their mental health as well as that of their children.

The response was overwhelming, leading to efforts by the Ummeed staff to help and support individual families. We were also approached to collaborate with the Practo organisation, resulting in another first for Ummeed — a live YouTube Q and A session with Dr. Vibha Krishnamurthy and Dr. Roopa Srinivasan on Parenting.

Watch the videos here 👇


“Know Your Rights” (KYR) is a popular workshop conducted by Ummeed for families of children with disabilities on information around accessing their rights. It provides knowledge on how to acquire a disability certificate and the concessions available through the right to education, health and travel.

This video emphasizes the importance of obtaining a disability certificate by highlighting some of the most important and widely used rights and benefits that families of children with disabilities can avail of through the certificate.

For more information, contact Ummeed's Social Work Team on 9321466754 or email: socialworkteam@ummeed.org

Apna Adda

Apna Adda is a support group and community for young adults with disabilities who meet once every two weeks online and play games, listen to music and talk about things related to mental health. This includes their concerns and difficulties as well as the ways in which they resist and respond to their problems. Together -- stories are explored about young people's hopes, values and skills.

If you are a young adult or know a young adult who would like to be a part of Apna Adda, please do contact Ummeed’s Mental Health Team on +91 724-9560363 or email: yashna.iyer@ummeed.org/farah.maneckshaw@ummeed.org

Research at Ummeed

Ummeedians continue to publish research that brings scientific evidence to the work that we do. We are proud to be published in international peer reviewed journals, at a robust rate and this time around we are excited to share findings in the field of narrative therapy; online parent-mediated early intervention for children with autism in a low resource setting and telehealth in developmental pediatrics.

we invite you to read:

Family Resource Centre

We are excited to announce Ummeed’s Family Resource Center (FRC), which has been set up in partnership with Credit Suisse. The FRC will be a safe and accepting space where professionals and families can work together to help all children with disabilities and their families in their journey of acceptance and empowerment.

This will be a place where families can not only access information and resources, but also get together for a support group meeting, watch a movie, plan a picnic, or simply be who they are, together. It will be a space for families to connect with and offer support to each other. The professionals at Ummeed will also be available to support them at any time.

The center is headed by two parents - Smita Pathak and Rashmi Jha,, and over the next few months, additional PwDs/parents will be added to the team. The long-term goal is to empower families to advocate for themselves, and support others when they can.

To know more and to volunteer at the FRC please contact smita.pathak@ummeed.org or rashmi.jha@ummeed.org

Thank you for your love and support!

We would love to hear from you and welcome feedback on communications@ummeed.org